Review: Where’s the love? Cupid’s arrow just misses the mark at the Australian Museum

When I heard that the Australian Museum was hosting a special anti-Valentine’s Day event as part of their Culture Up Late series, I was more than just intrigued – I was excited. I’ve never been someone who buys into the whole commercialisation of Valentine’s Day, having always felt it was an expensive, over the top Americanised tradition. The idea of an evening with other like-minded souls, wandering the halls of the Australian Museum, drink in hand, while I partook in some “speed hating” sounded perfect.

However, at the last minute the entire schedule of events for the evening changed. Speed hating became speed dating – and then speed “chatting” – where funnily enough the main topic of conversation was why the event had changed. Most people I spoke with during the speed chatting event were disappointed, although to their credit the Australian Museum had offered to give people their money back if they no longer wished to attend. There were many rumours as to why it changed, which I won’t go into as it’s all unfounded, but it did definitely lesson the evenings appeal for me. Not that speed chatting wasn’t fun – it was – I met several lovely new people (who’s names I can’t remember – sorry!) and we all shared some laughs and slightly awkward chit-chat. So pretty much like every first date I’ve ever had.

Despite the changes, I did enjoy the live acappela music – love themed of course – and the Conservatorium Compositions were amazing. Numerous saxophone players circulated the space on all levels, eventually joining together at the end. The sound echoed amongst the halls and exhibits and it created a truly mesmerising performance. There is something slightly naughty about watching musicians wander through a museum while you sip wine and eat ice blocks.

I saw some frogs and was tempted to see if kissing one would actually produce a prince – however this type of behaviour is not recommended. There were participatory weaving and yarning and Indigenous jewellery making, as well as “Making Love in the Wild” tours of the permanent collections.

I’ve been to numerous late night events at the Australian Museum but I have to say this one was a little lack-lustre. It felt as if it was thrown together, rather last minute, with very few of the activities actually relating to a Valentine’s Day theme. I’m sure the Museum had very good reasons for changing the schedule – and even the event title – but I left feeling a little disappointed, which ensured it felt like every other Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had.

THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Culture Up Late is on at the Australian Museum every Wednesday night until March 14, 2018.