Do you love to dress up?

Calling all costume enthusiasts and cosplayers!

The Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts is putting together an exhibition called Fancy dress: from tutus to cosplay at Libraries Tasmania next year… and we’d love to include YOUR costume experiences.

If you would like to be considered for inclusion in our exhibition, we invite you to submit a photo of yourself in your most amusing, creative or awkward costume. We welcome current images or classics from the past!

Send your image to AllportCurator@libraries.tas.gov.au – with your name, the year the photo was taken, and title of the costume. Please submit good-quality images suitable for showing on a large digital screen.

The deadline to submit your costume image is 31 January 2023.

Behind the scenes with our conservation team

Our highly skilled team of conservation experts always have fascinating projects on the go.

An acquisition of a group of cased images and miniatures by English-Australian artist, photographer and engraver, Thomas Bock (1790–1855), was recently checked, treated and rehoused by the Libraries Tasmania conservation team and is now housed in the Allport collection.

We thought you may like a peek into the delicate work that keeps these treasures in good condition…

Miniature portrait of Isabella Lewis (nee Mackellar)

This item was loose in its frame, had no protection on the back, and the glass cover was dirty.

Conservator Stephanie McDonald carefully removed the locket from the frame by bending the metal tabs with padded tweezers.

She then cleaned the glass with cloth, fabricated a shaped piece of museum board, and a dust cover from black cotton paper (which was sanded and adhered with an archival EVA and starch paste mix). The additional backing meant that the locket was no longer loose.

Reference: FA1346 Miniature portrait of Isabella Lewis (nee Mackellar) in Japanned frame. Location: https://stors.tas.gov.au/ILS/SD_ILS-1247558

Daguerreotype portrait of David Lewis

This item’s embossed leather case was broken at the hinge, so Stephanie McDonald, our conservator, repaired it with Japanese paper inserted under the leather of the spine and adhered with starch paste. The Japanese paper was retouched with watercolour.

photo of portrait box side on

The daguerreotype glass cover was also cleaned, and the package reassembled.

Reference: FA1347 Daguerreotype portrait of David Lewis in an embossed leather case. Location: https://stors.tas.gov.au/ILS/SD_ILS-1248364 

Collection storage

Finally, to house the entire collection safely, conservation officer Gaynor Tollard made small storage boxes with Ethafoam padding for each cased image, and a larger storage box to keep all the items together.

Every week our conservation team are working with some of Tasmania’s most rare and historic items to make sure they are stored safety for future generations.

Libraries Tasmania opens its doors for Open House Hobart

Are you a fan of late twentieth century architecture?

Have you always wondered about the origins and secrets of the Libraries Tasmania State Library and Archives building in Murray Street, Hobart?

Well, you’re in luck, because Libraries Tasmania is once again participating in the Open House Hobart program on Saturday, 12 November 2022.

Visitors can book a tour of our heritage-listed building (architect: Public Works Department / John F. D. Scarborough and Associates (1960, 1972)) – and can expect truly fascinating insights into this ground-breaking piece of architecture!

The State Library and Archives building was the first major concrete frame building in Hobart, and its façade is the earliest example in Hobart of a Modernist glass ‘curtain wall’.

Sleek mid-century details can be found throughout, while the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts features nationally significant Tasmanian colonial art, books, objects and furniture. Next door, the striking ‘Brutalist Stack’ building houses the Tasmanian Archives and provides access to one of the highest vantage points in the city.

Tours are available at available at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm. Tours will fill up fast so book now to ensure you don’t miss out!

Tours are 45 minutes long, wheelchair friendly and suitable for children.

Friends of the Allport seasonal talks: Gardeners, plant collectors, friends – Hobart Town and beyond

Ann Cripps, a garden lover and historian who has lectured and written for many years on all aspects of Tasmanian garden history, has published a book, Gardeners, plant collectors, friends: Hobart Town and beyond.

The book is the result of many years of research in libraries and other institutions in Australia and the United Kingdom.

In her talk on Tuesday 18 October from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Ann will focus on the fascinating network of gardeners and plant collectors with links to the Allport collection who have contributed to the horticultural history of Van Diemen’s Land.

Book a seat on Eventbrite. Can’t make it? Register online for the webinar.

Image: Allport, Mary Morton, Evett & Grouse / M.M.A., drawing Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania. https://stors.tas.gov.au/AUTAS001124060526w800

Ann Larkins and the Spaces of the King’s Female Orphan School – PHA (Vic &Tas) talk at the Allport

Do you have an interest in Tasmanian history and want to hear from researchers about their discoveries?

The next Professional Historians Association (Vic & Tas) talk at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts is on Thursday 6 October from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

Listen to Ann-Marie Ezzy explore the spaces of an orphanage, the King’s Female Orphan School, which opened in Hobart Town in 1828, and discover how its operation incarcerated the children of convicts like Ann Larkins.

Book a seat on Eventbrite. Can’t make it? Register online for the webinar.

Image: Digitised item from: Tasmanian Archives: Public Works Department – Plans – Male and Female Orphan Schools – former to be built at New Town, latter at Hobart Town and Plan of the Orphan Schools. https://stors.tas.gov.au/AI/PWD266-1-1458

National Family History Month

Records and indexes and archives, oh my!

Have you ever wondered what history your home holds? Is there talk about a long-lost family farm? Do you have a family tree that spans the world?

August is National Family History Month (NFHM), and our State Library, Tasmanian Archives and Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts at Libraries Tasmania are hosting talks that will spark your interest. Hosted by historians and family history experts, the talks will take you on a journey as you discover how to use convict records, the Names Index, TROVE, our Tasmanian Archives, and more.

Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the webinars and enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Whether you’re new to family history research or a seasoned expert, why not try one of our many fascinating Family History Month talks – here is just a selection from Eventbrite:

Keep up with the current conversation on Libraries Tasmania SoundCloud. Download the Family History Month talks program here (PDF, 2.5MB)


Professional Historians Association Victoria and Tasmania Talks

Get curious! Visit the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts for the monthly historical talk series, Professional Historians Association Victoria and Tasmania Talks.


Professional Historians Association Victoria and Tasmania Talks, are a series of monthly public lectures held at the State Library of Tasmania, and are jointly sponsored by the State Library and Archive Service and the Professional Historians Association Victoria and Tasmania (PHA (Vic & Tas)).

Each month you can expect to hear from a professional historian, academic or researcher on the interpretation, documentation and communication of history and the present day.

The talks are presented by professional historians or experts in their field on the first Thursday of each month at 1:00 pm, and are aimed at a diverse audience of researchers, the public and people who like to expand their knowledge of Tasmania’s history and heritage.


Upcoming talk 2 June: Unfortunately due to illness June’s talk is cancelled

Catch up with past talks on the Libraries Tasmania SoundCloud and YouTube


Upcoming talk 7 July: ‘Conflicting view of the palawa people in early vandemonian newspapers‘ with Leon Atkinson-MacEwan

Details and registration to be open in the coming weeks. See Eventbrite for updates.


To find out more about our past and future events, see the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Art’s Eventbrite page.

Get Curious

This year, Libraries Tasmania will be celebrating the key cultural collections of the State Library of Tasmania, Tasmanian Archives and the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts.

We will be inviting you once again to discover more about Tasmania’s past, and how you can play a role in telling Tasmania’s stories. 

So, get ready to… Get Curious!

Many Tasmanians sent us their favourite object, image or manuscript from the collections of the State Library of Tasmania, Tasmanian Archives and the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts to create the beautiful 91 Stories Exhibition in 2021.

This year we will delve deeper into just a few of the 91 Stories. Stay tuned for information about upcoming events and to hear from our archivists and people in our community with connections to these stories, who will help bring them to life.

Rediscover our 91 STORIES online exhibition.

National Family History Month

August is National Family History Month (NFHM), and Libraries Tasmania is once again holding its series of popular expert talks that will inspire and assist you to connect the dots of your family history.

The Libraries Tasmania NFHM expert talk series, at the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Download your copy of the National Family History Month expert talks program (PDF). Can’t make it to an Allport talk? Keep an eye on our SoundCloud channel for the recordings.

Attend one of these family history events at a local library

Please note: Bookings, via Eventbrite or phone, are essential for all our NFHM events, as numbers are limited. 

Banks’ Florilegium – Society Islands, 1769

25 March – 31 July 2021

Ease your travel itch…

With international travel restrictions still in place, the Allport takes you to Tahiti, albeit in 1769, showing you for the first time a selection of stunning Society Islands botanicals from Banks’ Florilegium.

The intricate botanical prints and rare journals on display are an enduring record of human survival, courage, curiosity, obsession and creativity.

Banks’ Florilegium – Society Islands, 1769 comprises framed botanical prints individually colour-printed in the 1980s, from the 18th century copperplate engravings of Sydney Parkinson’s drawings. Parkinson was the artist who drew the fresh plants collected in the Society Islands by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, as part of Captain James Cook’s first voyage round the world.

Spend some time taking in the edible, the intoxicating and the medicinal details of the plants; well-known to the island people, but many of them entirely new to European botany at the time.

A beautiful colour catalogue and poster are available for sale.

Visit the exhibition in the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts:

Ground Floor, 91 Murray Street, Hobart, Tasmania
Open weekdays 9:30am – 5:00pm. Saturdays 9:30am – 2:00pm. Closed Sundays and public holidays. Wheelchair accessible. Free entry. Wi-Fi access

Contact the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

Email: allport@education.tas.gov.au
Phone: (03) 6165 5584
Website: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts