The Museum comprises of three permanent gallery spaces, a temporary exhibition space and the historic house museum, Alma Cottage.
Gallery 1 – The Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods Gallery
This gallery covers the period 1840 – 1860. The gallery has four sections:
- Path to Sainthood Exhibition exploring the process of the Roman Catholic Cause of Canonisation and official Papal visits to Mary Mackillop Place.
- The Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods Gallery exploring key events in the life of the founders of the congregation.
- The Educational Breakout Room for school interaction
Key themes include:
- MacKillop family history of settlement in Australia and the early years of the family’s life in South Australia.
- Early inception of the formation of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart in the context of early Australian Catholic Church history.
- The life and service of Fr Julian Edmund Tenison Woods, the eminent geologist, paleontologist, explorer, and Catholic priest serving in South Australia. Collection objects on view span the early ministry years and also bring into context later travels and scientific studies in Australia and Southeast Asia.
- The life and mission work of Fr Donald MacKillop is represented in his service to indigenous peoples in remote regions of the Northern Territory from 1886-1896.
Path to Sainthood Exhibition
The theme is the exhibition looks at the official Papal visits made over the last 30 years to the tomb of Mary MacKillop. The museum exhibition is aimed to promote a greater understanding of the Roman Catholic Church’s process for canonisation.
The exhibition is a direct response to the public’s interest in the story of Mary MacKillop’s path to sainthood.
The Delezio family highlight the spirit of Mary alive today. The family have been supported by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and attribute Sophie’s wellbeing though the intercession of Mary MacKillop.
Video clips and objects on display relive the key events within the history of the course for canonisation.
Key themes include:
- The official Papal visits made over the last 30 years to the tomb of Mary MacKillop in the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel. The exhibition is aimed to promote a greater understanding of the Roman Catholic Church’s process for canonisation.
- The Delezio family highlight the spirit of Mary so relevant and alive in people’s minds today. The family have been supported by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and attribute Sophie’s wellbeing though the intercession of Mary MacKillop.
Gallery 2 – Sisters of Saint Joseph Contribution to Education
The Education Learning Space and recreated Penola School house theatrette is dedicated to the history of the Josephite’s contribution to Australian education.
A century before the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child was ratified, Mary MacKillop, Fr Julian Tenison Woods and the early sisters were forging the way on behalf of children, insisting that they had the right to a happy childhood, to laughter, to play, to creativity, to spirituality and to learning. A recreated school building transport you to the mid-1800s. The school interior is a theatrette and presents a short documentary film revealing the story of Mary and Julian’s vision and contribution to an equitable education as told by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and Fr Paul Gardiner SJ – Postulator of the Cause of Mary MacKillop.
Interactive Learning Space is equipped with integrated communication technology for use in school group sessions. Explore through the use of immersive technology the story of Mary MacKillop and the early pioneering Sisters of Saint Joseph in establishing an equitable education system for all Australians.
The school group learning experience creates opportunities which invite historical investigation by navigating thematic material and building a contextual framework for personal interest.
Gallery 3 – The Establishment of the Constitution of the Sisters of Saint Joseph
This gallery covers the events with the life of the order from 1870 – 1880.
Key themes include:
- The 1870s European context for the Papal approval of the Constitution of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
- Irish postulates arriving to Australia.
- Sisters stories of the establishment of foundations and schools around Australia and New Zealand.
Objects directly relating to the itinerant life of the Sisters, including Maori artefacts gifted to the Sisters who lived and ministered in New Zealand.