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2017 Australasian Botanic Gardens Volunteer Guides Conference - Informed Guiding: Discovering the mystery and magic of our Gardens

Visits to Cultural Institutions

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During the conference we are going to examine some of the issues that arise in guiding in different contexts. Many of the national cultural institutions in Canberra have guided tours led by volunteers. Some of the issues they face are peculiar to their particular institution but many are readily transferable to the botanic gardens context.

We are going to hear about some of the issues and possible solutions from staff of those institutions on Tuesday morning of the conference. Then in the afternoon we will each be able to experience guided tours in two of the institutions. These tours will not only allow us to see some of their collections but we will also be able to observe guiding in these different settings.

The institutions have been paired and you can choose one pair. Those pairs are:

Pair 1: National Gallery of Australia (Sculpture Garden) + Australian War Memorial

Pair 2: National Gallery of Australia (Landscape and botanical art) + Australian War Memorial

Pair 3: Questacon + National Library of Australia

Pair 4: Museum of Australian Democracy + National Museum of Australia

National Gallery of Australia

NGAFogSculpture 003

Sculpture Garden tour

Discover the Australian and international works of art sheltered in the native plantings of the NGA’s Sculpture Gardens. A guide will introduce you to the works including James Turrell’s sky space, Within Without, Fiona Hall’s Fern Garden and a range of works on the picturesque edge of Lake Burley Griffin.

Landscape and botanical connections in art

Artists have long been concerned with landscape, botanical themes and taken inspiration from plants. Take a tour to discover how the representation of the Australian landscape in art has shifted over time, informing perceptions of the early colony and growing sense of national identity around Federation. A Gallery guide will introduce you to works in the NGA’s permanent collection including still lifes with plants and flowers, works concerned with the seasons and other botanical delights!

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial combines a shrine, a world-class museum, and an extensive archive. The Memorial's purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society. Experience an hour-long tour of AWM highlights, including World War I and II Galleries, the Hall of Valour, and Anzac Hall.


At Questacon, we strive to promote greater understanding and awareness of science and technology within the community. We're committed to making that experience fun, interactive, and relevant. Questacon will offer conference delegates guided tours engaging with science in extraordinary ways with over 200 hands-on exhibits in eight interactive galleries, science shows as well as foyer and outdoor Science Garden experiences.

The National Library

The Treasures Gallery and Peter Dombrovskis

Treasures Gallery at the National Library

Discover the treasures of the National Library of Australia - from John Hunter’s (1737 – 1821) sketchbook of 100 watercolours of Australian natural history subjects, including Box-leaf waxflower, Eriostemon buxifolius and Button everlasting daisy, Helichrysum scorpioides, to the wilderness photography that shaped our views of conservation. This tour comprises a visit to the National Library of Australia’s Treasures Gallery; and a tour of Peter Dombrovskis, a major retrospective exhibition of one of Australia’s most significant landscape photographers. 

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House from above

Feel the power and history of Old Parliament House on the Highlights Tour. This tour provides amazing access to some of the most significant spaces in Australian political history, visiting the former House of Representatives and Senate chambers, Cabinet Room and Prime Minister’s Office. You will complete the experience with a range of information, stories and anecdotes about the people, places and events in the very places where they occurred.  You may even find yourself playing a part in recreating history!  

National Museum of Australia

The Garden of Australian Dreams (464972537)

Discover the highlights of the National Museum of Australia on our volunteer facilitated tour. Explore how the Museum shares stories of the land, nation and people of Australia through the permanent galleries. Encounter some of the most iconic objects in the National Historical Collection and uncover some hidden gems as well.

View of the Parliamentary Triangle from Mt. Ainslie [(c) David More 2012]



View of the Parliamentary Triangle from Mt. Ainslie, showing the National Gallery of Australia, High Court, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House, Parliament House, National War Memorial (at bottom), Questacon Science Centre, and the National Library of Australia.


Picture credits, in order:

  • Treasures Gallery at the National Library: Canberra Convention Bureau
  • Old Parliament House: Malcolm Tredinnick [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
  • National Museum of Australia, Garden of Australian Dreams: Louise Docker [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
  • National Gallery of Australia, Fog Sculpture: Black Squirrel [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons
  • Australian War Memorial: Skyring [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
  • Parliamentary Triangle from Mt. Ainslie: (c) David More 2012


Last updated on 15 March 2017

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