Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Local Places of Learning

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
 I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch and tea
For they are hungry men.

But different folk have different views.
I know a person small –
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends ‘em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes –
One million Hows, two million Wheres
And seven million Whys!


We called in on the National Library of Australia (NLA) on the weekend to see the new exhibition, Handwritten Ten centuries of Manuscript Treasures from Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the permanent exhibition featuring Treasures from the library's own collection.  Both were excellent, but a bit of trial to enjoy thoroughly with three children in tow who were more eager to get to Questacon next door.  Congrats to the NLA for the online booking system too.  It worked a treat.

When finally we made it to Questacon, we marvelled at the new exhibition space called QLab.  It features a laboratory with microscopes and other hands-on activities which really get to the pointy end of science.  Very exciting.  But the good old sideshow exhibition with its simulated roller-coaster ride is still hard to beat for my superficial lot.

Both these national cultural institutions have significantly improved their interface with the public over the past year or so, and we are very grateful beneficiaries.   The landscaping around these national institutions has also undergone a transformation, so if you need a place to gather for a BBQ / picnic / rest on a lake walk, we heartily recommend the space between the NLA and Questacon.  With bonus grassy knolls for rolling down.

Poem: from The Elephant’s Child, Rudyard Kipling (1902)


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