I was five years old, very fair skinned with a tendency to freckles. Our family was holidaying at Redcliffe and, despite my mother’s care, I got very sunburned one day on the beach. My father decided to go to Brisbane the next day for various reasons and, as I was not allowed to go out in the sun that day, he took me with him. One of the places we went to that day was the Queensland Museum. As I entered the imposing doorway, all thoughts of my painful red shoulders vanished, my eyes widened and I was transported into a world of wonder.

Glass cases filled with fascinating beetles and butterflies, shells and crustacea, Egyptian mummies, suspended aeroplanes, oh, there was so much for my little self to absorb. I never lost the wonder of that museum. Every holiday after that, when we went to Brisbane, I made it compulsory to visit the museum.

Many years later, I found myself working on the museum’s crustacea collections, deep in the offices below the galleries. Again several years after that, I undertook a placement in the Anthropology Department of the museum, researching the Aboriginal rainforest shield collection, while studying for a career in museums.

The sunburned five year old lived the dream born of that long ago wondrous visit to a treasure house.

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