THREE years ago, Irish-born Eithne Owens knew only fragments of the Eureka story.
Today, she is an expert, having spent since July 2010 turning the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka into a story relevant to all ages.
But, in just a few weeks, with the museum’s May opening date imminent, the MADE curator will hand over her $11 million baby and return to Dublin.
“I had been to Sovereign Hill and my dad is really interested in the goldfields history,” Ms Owens said.
“I knew what Eureka was, but didn’t know a lot about it.
“I saw the job and thought it seemed interesting, but thought it would go to an Australian, but they told me they wanted a fresh set of eyes.”
Ms Owens has spent nearly three years re-creating not only the Eureka story in words, pictures and state-of-the-art multimedia, but also the issue of democracy on a global level.
The museum features speeches from Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, side by side with a video of a Holocaust survivor and historical goldfield artefacts.
“I was tasked with the curatorial framework of how to make the Eureka story relevant to young people.
“I had to turn it into a museum.
“I’ve always had a love of history and I’ve focused on turning it into something that works for people.
“MADE doesn’t have a traditional feel. It’s different and interesting.”
Ms Owens said the collection was inherited from the former Eureka Centre, other items had been borrowed from places like the Public Records Office and the Melbourne Museum, some items such as the Eureka flag had been lent to MADE and other artefacts had been bought.
Ms Owens also collaborated with a range of Australian experts, including historians, political scientists and cultural experts.
“I’m really passionate about this.
“I hope MADE is taken by the people here and made their own.”