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We’re surrounded by objects, but have you thought about how important these things are in your life? Do you have a few favourite things you absolutely can’t live without? What about others in your family?

Are objects important for what they do, or what they represent?

This exhibition at the Old Treasury Building looks at the stories behind some of the objects that have shaped the family in Australia over the decades. From the smartphone to a wedding dress; the indoor toilet to the home itself. The exhibition considers how families make and preserve cultural traditions through craft, food, and belief.

Learn more about this exhibition on the Old Treasury Building website.



Old Treasury Building
Spring Street, Melbourne


Image Gallery


1950s advertising a woman cooking
The Australian Women’s Weekly, 14 November 1951. Courtesy National Library of Australia. Until the late-nineteenth century it was impossible to keep food fresh. Some households used a Coolgardie safe, a metal box cooled by evaporation from wet hessian bags, but fresh food was needed daily, or even twice daily in the summer months. Other inventions included an insulated ‘icebox’, made of wood and lined with tin or zinc. Ice for the icebox was delivered to householders twice per week. Small domestic refrigerators became available in the early-twentieth century, but they were very expensive. Mass production and increased competition after the Second World War reduced costs and, by 1955, almost 75 per cent of metropolitan households owned a ‘fridge’. The new appliance was often a point of pride in the modern household.


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