The diverse culture of Maitland is set to be shown in an upcoming exhibition at Brough House.
Maitland Regional Museum’s Journeys: Maitland is my Home opens at the historic Church Street building on September 8 and will run on Saturdays and Sundays through to October 28.
The idea behind the exhibition is to showcase the diverse groups of people who call Maitland home.
Exhibition writer and producer Helen Hopcroft said the idea came about during a recent museum committee meeting, when the topic of Maitland’s rapidly growing population came up.
“When you have an increased population, you have increased cultural diversity,” Ms Hopcroft said.
Ms Hopcroft saw an exhibition as an opportunity to showcase the depth of that diversity and what makes a city feel like home.
“What triggers that sense of belonging,” she said. “How do people feel about living here?”
So the committee called for public nominations for people with both Australian and foreign backgrounds who have been actively involved in the community.
The results were a vast cross-section of residents – people who have lived here their whole lives, people who have immigrated here, but all with a “real connection” to Maitland.
Along with showcasing diversity and people, Ms Hopcroft said the exhibition was important for Maitland itself.
“Maitland is in a point where it is growing so rapidly, its identity can go into a state of flux,” she said. “It’s important to reflect on who we were, who we are and who we could be.”
Participants were all interviewed by Karen Nobes, who has directed numerous TV documentaries and interviewed veterans for the Australian War Memorial Archive.
Ms Hopcroft said while some interviewees mentioned racism and other negative experiences, the overwhelming theme was a sense of optimism and inclusiveness.
She said she hoped to turn the concept into a book once the exhibition ends.
Journeys: Maitland is my Home is part of Maitland 200 events. The Mercury will feature historical stories over the next week in the lead up to a Maitland 200 community day on September 16.