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Spirited: new exhibition celebrates Australia’s Horse Story

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Brumby runners, a historic horse-drawn milk cart and the two oldest intact Melbourne Cups, feature in a unique exhibition on the horse, now open at the National Museum of Australia.

Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story examines the special bond Australians have with horses and celebrates how these animals have enriched our lives, built our society and shaped our environment. 

“Australians have lived with, loved and depended on horses, almost since Europeans first settled on the continent,” said National Museum senior curator, Martha Sear.

“This important exhibition showcases how these extraordinary animals have been our companions in work, play and battle,” said Dr Sear.

The exhibition tracks the arrival of horses in Australia with the early Europeans; examines their critical role in early exploration; and celebrates horses on pastoral stations, in towns, on the track, as transport, in pony clubs, in sport and in war.

The exhibition of over 500 objects includes a massive wool wagon; the Junius Cup (the oldest known Australian-made racing trophy); the 1866 and 1867 Melbourne Cups; the typewriter used by Elyne Mitchell to write the iconic Australian horse tale, The Silver Brumby; and the equipment used by Emilie Roach in 1929, when she and ‘Dungog’ set the Australian ladies high-jump record, by clearing 2.16 metres.

The exhibition also includes intriguing specimens of portions of heart wall, aorta and pericardium, believed to be from legendary Australian horse Phar Lap.

A section of the exhibition also explores the role of the High Country stock-workers in the national imagination, and the history of the over 300,000 brumbies who now roam the country. The role of Indigenous stock-workers are also an exhibition feature.

The multimedia exhibition includes a family trail and hands-on interactive experiences for children.

Book in for the exclusive Spirited dinner

Join the National Museum of Australia for a special after-hours viewing of the Spirited exhibition, curator-led talks with Dr Martha Sear and Dr Nicole McLennan, shopping in the exhibition shop PLUS a three-course dinner and glass of wine in the waterfront cafe. Details on how to book below:

What: Three-course Spirited dinner

When: 6pm to 9pm, Thursday 13 November 2014

Where: National Museum of Australia

How much: $75 each plus fees and charges. Includes dinner, glass of wine, exhibition entry and curator-led talks.

Tickets: Book your ticket and pre-order your meal online through the NMA website.

Web: Visit the NMA website to find out more about this evening’s program (including the menu!)

the essentials

What: Spirited – Australia’s Horse Story
When: Until 9 March 2015 – open 9am to 5pm daily, except Christmas Day.
Where: National Museum of Australia
How much: Adults $15. Concession $12. Museum Friends $7.50 (Full Membership holders only). Children under 16 free if with an adult.
Tickets: At the Museum or online through the Eventbrite website.

Feature image of  mustering, Kimberley, Western Australia from shutterstock.com

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