Museum of Ancient Cultures Exhibitions

Museum of Ancient Cultures Exhibitions

Exhibitions at the Museum of Ancient Cultures

In addition to our permanent displays, the Museum of Ancient Cultures has a lively schedule of temporary exhibitions hosted both at the museum, and across campus in conjunction with other Macquarie University collections.

Exhibitions are developed by teams of students and staff and integrated into the teaching and research activities of the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University.

Animals in Ancient Cultures

When: 25 May 2018 - 24 August 2018
Where: Gallery Space, Museum of Ancient Cultures
Who: Curated by Rebecca Kuper and Isaac Roberts with Dr Linda Evans, Dr Louise Pryke and Lydia Bashford.

The exhibition Animals in Ancient Cultures is a student-led project in conjunction with Macquarie University’s Professional and Community Engagement Program (PACE). The exhibition explores animals’ key roles in the domestic, decorative, and divine spheres of the ancient world through the collections of the Museum of Ancient Cultures and the Australian History Museum at Macquarie University.

The exhibition showcases the crucial role that animals played in the lives of past societies. A range of Egyptian tomb paintings and animal-themed artefacts, such as coins, lamps, amulets and figurines derived from the ancient Mediterranean region and Near East as well as Indigenous Australia, shows how our relationship with animals has enabled human cultures to survive and develop – providing us with everything from food and transport to artistic and religious inspiration. Lovers of archaeology or animals – or both - will find plenty in the exhibition to fascinate and intrigue!

Follow the conversation on Twitter at: #MQAnimals


Ben Hur to Brian

An exhibition of Australian Daybill posters depicting Jesus

When: 8 November 2017 - indefinitely
Where: The Museum of Ancient Cultures, entry hall
Who: Curated by Liam D. Jensen, historical archivist

Ben Hur to Brian features the museum's collection of 12 Australian Daybill cinema posters from films that depict Jesus and early Christianity. The posters were kindly donated by archivist Liam D. Jensen, and were printed in Australia between the years 1953 - 1988. They portray Jesus and his times in a variety of ways and represent a range of film genres from documentary, to Hollywood epic, to animation. The posters are genuine Daybill posters, produced for advertising in cinemas throughout Australia. They have been sourced from dealers and private collectors across Australia.

Film reflects culture and these posters collected together provide a strong visual and written reference for the way we see and respond to the subject of Early Christianity. They are therefore powerful historical records that provide documentary and visual evidence about the reception of Jesus and Early Christianity. Because the medium of film itself is transitory, film posters provide a useful material way of considering film and what we can learn from it, as well as considering the posters themselves. Through viewing the posters, especially as a group, much can also be read visually about the nature of the culture and times that produced them, through the use of colour, style of artwork, subject matter chosen, and the thematic ideas that lie behind them.

So, from Ben Hur to Brian and everything in-between, we might agree or disagree with a singular film’s interpretation of Jesus, but together these posters show us how we see Jesus in film.

Time-Lapse of the installation for the exhibition Ben-Hur to Brian from LDJ Historical Archivist on Vimeo.

Past exhibitions

The City of Rome

When: 23 February 2018 - 11 May 2018
Where: Gallery Space, Museum of Ancient Cultures
Who: Curated by Professor Ray Laurence and Charlotte Mann (PhD candidate)

The City of Rome explores some of the most significant monuments of the Eternal City through coins, prints, photographs and other objects.

The exhibition showcases a selection of 15 prints from the museum's Roman Forum Collection, which was kindly donated in 2015 by Lynette Jensen and consists of original engravings and photographs created between the 1400s and the 1970s. These prints provide vivid insight into how the experience of seeing Rome changed during the centuries of the modern age, as well as a sense of how the Forum played its part in the development of evocative depictions of Roman ruins in the midst of encroaching nature.

The exhibition also features a selection of ancient coins minted with images of the most famous buildings and monuments of Rome. Looking carefully at the coins, we begin to realise that the buildings depicted are almost cartoon-like miniatures – stylised to convey additional meaning, while retaining a sense of familiarity with the actual building.

The City of Rome exhibition has been developed to support the teaching of a new unit of the same name within the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University. Students will explore the question of how we gather information about the appearance of ancient Rome, the challenges we face when casting our gaze back in time, and how to contribute to knowledge of ancient Rome through the development of digital content. This student learning will be enhanced by the experience of members of the Department of Ancient History who have visited Rome – often holding Macquarie Gale Fellowships at the British School at Rome – to research and create new knowledge of Europe’s first metropolis.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at: #MQRome

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