January 4, 2014 /
June 24, 2013 /
September 10, 2009 /

The ever-informative Twitter alerted me recently to the History Trust of South Australia’s object of the month. It made me think that it would be nice if there was some way of bringing together all those objects, photos and documents featured by our cultural institutions. Some sort of combined RSS feed perhaps?

Something like this…

Well, yes… I couldn’t resist having a go. My tool of choice for this was Yahoo Pipes which has various modules for manipulating and creating RSS feeds. Check out my script on the Yahoo Pipes site to create a badge like this, play some more or inspect its innards. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even clone the script and tinker away yourself – it’s the best way to learn. Read MorePlaying with pipes

June 29, 2005 /

Tim Sherratt, review of Treasures of the Museum, Victoria, Australia and Land Nation People: Stories from the National Museum of Australia, in Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 16, no. 1, 2005, pp. 122-125.

Australia is blessed, it seems, with a frightening abundance of treasures. A quick survey of our cultural institutions reveals an escalating ‘treasures race’, as libraries, museums, and archives bombard the public with accounts of their rarest, most beautiful, and most interesting items. The State Library of Victoria, for example, has published a lavish description of its ‘treasures’, and features them prominently on its redesigned website. The National Library of Australia also has an online display of its most treasured holdings, hoping to bring in sponsorship for a permanent ‘treasures gallery’. Meanwhile, the ‘Treasures Gallery’ at the National Archives of Australia is already up and running, while the South Australian Museum guides visitors around a ‘treasures trail’. The Australian Museum recently presented their ‘treasures’ in a special exhibition, and even the University of Melbourne has catalogued the highlights of its collections in a glossy book of ‘treasures’. Celebrating its 150th birthday, the Museum of Victoria has made an impressive entry into the fray, with a well-designed treasures website, a treasures trail for visitors, and a beautiful volume simply entitled Treasures of the Museum. Read MoreTreasures

December 1, 1993 /
Tim Sherratt, review of Scienceworks, in Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 9, no. 4, December 1993, pp. 387-388 .


As a suburban teenager, one of the highlights of my school holidays was a trip into ‘town’. This expedition into the wilds of central Melbourne always included a wander around the Science Museum, then housed snugly with the National Museum and the State Library behind the imposing columns of 328 Swanston Street.

Naturally I pressed all the buttons I could, making all the engines start and the models come to life. I played noughts and crosses against a ‘computer’ that regularly cheated. But most of all I just stood in front of the glass-fronted cases and marvelled at the collections — the rows and rows of swords, the wax apples, the radioactive sample with its chattering geiger counter. Between visits I embroidered complex daydreams where the deserted building was mine and all its treasures lay waiting. Read MoreScienceworks