There are many museums for many reasons around the world from the torture museums in Bratislava and Sigisoara to the Hat Museum in Kumasi, Ghana (sadly one I haven’t got to yet). Then there are the occasional sport museum, and Melbourne has its very own, at the largest and most famous sporting ground in the country, the MCG.
If you’re there and fancy it, a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground is a good idea too, although I confess I’ve never tried one. The museum itself is interesting if you’re a sports’ fan, and probably it helps to be an Australian and like cricket, Australian Rules Football and Horse Racing.
These are the main three sports represented. There is also an entire room devoted to the Olympics and principally Australia’s exploits, with particular focus as one might expect on the 1956 Melbourne games and the 2000 Sydney Games.
The Australian Rules Football section well, that will probably leave the foreign visitors scratching their heads and wondering what it’s all about. You’ll see some highlights and stories, you’ll see TV shows devoted to Aussie Rules, and if you want to hear the team songs, well, there’s a little section for that. There’s also a sort of 3D projection thing where one of the AFL greats James Hird comes out and talks to you. Do keep in mind that these days he’s a far less savoury reputation and left the game and the team he was coaching in disgrace. BUT this is sort of the biggest issue with the museum – I saw all these exhibits 10 years ago and although they’ve been maintained it’s fair to say it wouldn’t hurt to replace one or two of them!
In the cricket section there’s another 3-D projection of a sports’ star – this time it’s the slight more well-known as long you’re from a cricketing nation Shane Warne, Australian’s greatest ever bowler. The racing section focuses on ‘The Race that Stops a Nation’ – November’s Melbourne Cup, the biggest horse race in Australia.
For the kids, the best part is the interactive section where you can try your hand (or foot!) at several sports from Aussie Rules to Soccer, Netball and more. Lots of fun to be had there. Test your reflexes and response times or why not see if you can achieve a run out?
For me, and Australian, I got a bit out of this museum. It’s not a bad choice if you’re visiting with children as the interactive section could keep them interested for quite a while! Otherwise it’s probably a strange curiosity for the foreign visitor. Unless, of course, you’re from a cricketing nation!
Take care, and May the Journey Never End!