Today I visited the Maryborough Flour Mill Gallery in the small country town of the same name. This museum/gallery includes an antique shop, a local art gallery, a vast sewing machine museum, and apparently, a resident ghost.
The Sewing Museum: “Sew What” has a very impressive collection of sewing machines, over 300, from almost 100 different manufacturers, covering over a century of sewing history. Most of the machines are in working condition and visitors can try their hand at some of them.
What I was really struck by when I visit this museum was the power of personal passions. Sew What is run by a local couple, simply passionate about sewing machines and local history. For the short time they have been open (under two years) they have begun an impressive venture which has been achieved by their drive to share their passion and support their community.
This museum does not come with bells and whistles. There are no fancy promotional materials, labels or cases, no strict conservation protocols, none of the latest technology. But, for two people making the best out of what they know and love, it is pretty remarkable and I commend Wayne and Judi for their achievements.
I love clean, slick and clever museums. But I also love passion. My visit to Sew What highlighted to me the important role small museums can play in local communities. They preserve history, the can become a community hub and they share passion. I hope we don’t loose them.