Thursday 29 November 2007 by Mal Booth. 3 comments
Exhibitions, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse, Our exhibition

With only a week to go before we open, much progress is being made. Recently a number of us have been heavily engaged in the following list (not exhaustive) of activities:

  • The final stages of the design process to do with balancing and sequencing objects, art works and images as we finalise the plans for the exhibition space.
  • Re-drafting, proofing and printing all exhibition text including wall panels and captions.
  • Drafting and proofing magazine articles and our four catalogue essays.
  • Arranging press and other media coverage. (This includes the production of more text and the provision of more images including moving images and sound files and arranging all relevant rights and permissions. Today alone I did three interviews and so far I have two lined up for Friday 30 November.)
  • Marketing the exhibition.
  • Arranging public talks, tours and other public programs for the life of the exhibition.
  • Arranging the exhibition launch on 6 December and all that this entails.
  • And demounting the previous exhibition, To Flanders fields, 1917, and preparing the space, including the installation of our new display cases for our exhibition.

In this post I'd like to highlight the work that goes on largely behind the scenes as far as most people are concerned. A lot of essential work is done by our excellent Workshop team who have built us new showcases and already installed many in the space. When filled with exhibition objects these showcases obviously are not the focus of the exhibition, but without them we'd have very poor exhibitions and no protection for the precious objects. So have a look through some recent snaps of the large showcases being built in the Workshop, transported down to the gallery space and installed ready for the objects. (I'll try again to load these on 30 November as we are having a few image upload problems with this new version of WordPress. In the meantime see the first image below.)

On 27 November, as foreshadowed in an earlier post, James Barr came to talk to us about his research and the writing of his book on Lawrence Setting the Desert on Fire. We recorded his fascinating talk and he has given us permission to provide a podcast of it along with some of the images he used while delivering it. I am just getting that all arranged now, so it should be available here soon.

One last thing. Well, two really . . . our UK loans arrived safely at midnight on Wednesday 29 November. They are sitting securely in our exhibition store awaiting a quarantine inspection on Friday morning. I'll go and have a look as the crates are opened for Memorial staff later on and take some shots for this blog. One of our conservators, Sarah Clayton, has already given me some shots of their preparatory work on our own collections, so as soon as we get the image upload issue fixed I'm sure you'll have some very interesting behind-the-scenes images to view. See below for some previews until then. All the images in this post will open larger in a new window when selected.


Jolyon Sykes

I hope to get down to Canberra to have a look at this exhibition. I have long been interested in the work of Lowell Thomas and Harry Chase and their role in initiating the "Lawrence of Arabia" popular culture legend - but not the actual phrase. I think that was first used by an unknown journalist reviewing LT's book on Lawrence in about 1925. I suppose you've seen Jeremy Wilson's demolition of the movie at Worth a look if you haven't!


Hi Mal, Have enjoyed your blog, and look forward to seeing the podcast. I'm in Melbourne but hope to get up for the exhibition. I'm particularly interested as my great grandfather was J P Campbell, who was an official photographer in palestine. I suspect he produced many of the images that will be used (certainly the one on the exhibition home page is one of his). Not certain if he ever photographed Lawrence, he certainly took some of Feisal. Keep up the good work! Don Ross

Mal Booth

Hi Don, I hope you can come and see the exhibition as there are several photos by J P Campbell featured in it. On the home page of this blog, you've correctly identified the photo of the dust surrounding the Light Horse as being by your great grandfather. The ID number is B00256 on our collection search. It is one of the key banner photos we are using along with a cropped picture of Lawrence from an original by Harry Chase. I don't think we have any photos of Lawrence by J P Campbell. Certainly we would have used them if we did! Mal