Update: The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and Museums Discovery Centre are now open. Read more
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of material which may be culturally sensitive including records of people who may have passed away.
Poetry Object is Australia’s largest free poetry writing competition for schools. The competition invites us to think about how the objects in our lives can hold special personal meanings, and to explore capturing these stories in our own words by writing a poem about a chosen talismanic object.
Our Museum collects objects, but we also collect the stories that go with them. This year we hope to inspire audiences to reflect on their own treasured objects through the story of Wilhelmina Jurd and her model cows.
The model cows on display here were made by Wilhelmina with the help of her sisters on an Australian outback station in the late 1800s. Wilhelmina was inspired by her surroundings, using things she could find on her property to construct miniature figures. She sculpted the shapes of the bodies using river clay and covered them with papier-mâché and then beeswax from wild hives. Tiny strands of calf hair were implanted into the softened wax in layers. They were shown in international exhibitions from 1879 to 1893.
Wilhelmina’s miniature wax cows are currently on display on Level 1 at the Powerhouse Museum. Read more about Wilhelmina and her work here, and about our partnership with Red Room Poetry here.
Poetry Object 2019 runs from 18 April, with submissions closing on Friday 27 September. Shortlists and winners will be announced in Term 4.