The National Museum celebrated Australia’s horse story with the official launch of its new exhibition Spirited last week. The opening event mustered together horse enthusiasts from across the country, many of them having contributed their stories to the exhibition. Animal trainer Zelie Bullen opened the exhibiton by sharing her own horse stories, including those from the set of War Horse. Many more stories were shared as guests mingled and looked through the exhibition for the first time.
The exhibition, Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story, features 500 objects showing how horses have helped to enrich our lives, built our society and shaped our environment. Items from the National Museum’s extensive collections of Australian horse history are on display with loans from other museums, families and individuals, including stories of thoroughbred racing history, horsedrawn vehicles and riding equipment, and trophies won by leading equestrians and rodeo stars.
Ngunnawal elder, Agnes O’Shea, gave a Welcome to Country and shared her horse stories with the guests. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
National Museum Director, Mathew Trinca speaks about the development of the Spirited exhibition. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Animal trainer Zelie Bullen gave a moving speech. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Some of animal trainer Zelie Bullen’s work with horses was shown as part of the exhibition launch. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Head Curator, Kirsten Wehner, with Quilty Gold Cup volunteers – Shanna Antrim, Vern and Dee Berry, and Silvia Ahamer. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Guests enter the Spirited exibition at the official launch. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Conway Tighe and Ian Buckles, former owner/operator and collector of the Lincoln Park Dairy horse-drawn milk delivery wagon. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Brothers Bev and Des Wykes with the horse feed trough used on their family property, Norwood. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Barry Cranston with two hay bailing hooks he used while working in the hay-baling and cartage industry during the 1950s until the 1970s. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Neale Lavis with his individual silver and team gold medal won at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Ben Tapp and Kylie Barnett with Tapp’s ‘lucky saddle’ from his win at the 2012 Warwick Gold Cup Campdraft. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Guests with the Quail’s Saddlery display at the Spirited exhibition launch. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
John Palmer, member of the Royal New South Wales Lancers’ Association, with the Calvary Waltz sheet music on loan from the NSW Lancers Memorial Museum Inc. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
Members of Greg Hickson’s family with his Polocrosse memorabilia on display -Bob, David, Pam and Judith. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
The entrance to the National Museum during the Spirited exhibition launch. Photo by Jason McCarthy.
During the first week, over 3000 people visited the exhibition, which is open at the National Museum until 9 March 2015. For a preview of the exhibition and the opportunity to share your own horse stories, visit the website: www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/spirited
Feature image: A ‘spirited’ horse at the Museum’s entrance on opening night. Photo by Jason McCarthy.