Black and white image of Hope Macpherson sitting at a work bench looking at a slide through a microscope. Hope Macpherson was the first female curator at National Museum of Victoria (now Museum Victoria).
Hope along with Isobel Bennett, Susan Ingham and Mary Gillham were the first women to visit the Antarctic in their December 1959 expedition.
Description of Content
Black and white image of Hope Macpherson sitting at a workbench, wearing glasses and white coverall, looking through a microscope at a slide, lamp nearby, other shells and boxes on workbench.
Black and white image.
The Hope (Macpherson) Black Collection is a significant addition to Museum Victoria's working lives collection, it reveals the journey of a woman from depression era Melbourne and illustrates the power of education. It also reveals the often discriminatory policies in place in Victoria before the equal opportunity developments of the late 20th century. In balance though it also exposes the somewhat free expression possible for empowered women in this period. Hope Macpherson clearly states that in her day to day work she never felt discrimination and believes she was given great opportunity to pursue her career and aspirations. However, on analysis her role was often shaped by her gender and its perceived strengths and weaknesses; she was dissuaded from applying to become a taxidermist as it was 'an unsuitable job for a woman', although part of the first group of female scientists allowed to travel to Macquarie Island they were not permitted to camp on land with the male crew for fear of inciting passions. And finally after a distinguished career she was forced to resign her tenure as Australia's first female Curator when she married late in life, as a consequence of the Marriage bar.
Donation from Hope Black (nee Macpherson), April 2011
Photograph, Black & White
Australian Official Photograph Dept. of Information (stamped in purple ink). Hope Macpherson identifying small shells under low powered microscope (hand written in black ink). L2312 (hand written in pencil).
Type of item
208 mm (Length), 158 mm (Width)