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Sunday, November 12, 2006

The national wool museum

Even after spending all of my youth in Geelong, I had only been to the National wool museum once, to see a 'Treasures of Egypt" exhibit that had nothing to do with sheep...(I think I learnt that the Egyptian clothed themselves in linen because animals were "unclean"???) But given my ever expanding love of textiles, I dragged Tuffers along to learn a thing or two about the boom and bust wool industry (to settle his manly pride about going to a girly textiles museum, I promised Tuffers we could go to the Ford Discovery centre as well, but when we got there we discovered only two things, neither to do with cars;
1. it was a tuesday,
2. the Ford discovery centre is closed on tuesdays...)
This automated rug loom is focal point of the wool museum - the ramps to the galleries circle around it, and you can purchase carpets made on it. (Aparently the punch-card system used for the automation was then adapted to be used by those pianos that make themselves, and even that cool street organ we saw at floriade - yes, the loom came before all of that)
Fleece anyone??

Yes, that is real wool just sitting there - I should have included something in the photo for scale. In fact, there are mountains of fleece just sitting around (with various signs saying please touch but do not take) the first gallery of the museum, which is all about the farming of sheep. You learn about breeds, breeding and black sheep (aka genetics). Animal husbandry, drought shearing, woolclassing and auctions. The million dollar bale, and the thousands of bales of wool going to be destroyed when there were no buyers.

Tea break anyone?

On the way to the second gallery (wool processing, which will be the next post) There is this delightful display of knitted fancies, kindly made by the local guild :) Posted by Picasa