The internationally acclaimed Relics of the Australian Outback tour will be making a stop at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Although technically not “art,” the collection of relics will be on display at the art museum for the next three months. Amber Perkins, KMA spokesperson, explained that the museum is open to cultural attractions of all kinds. “If we just limited our special events to proper NEA-endorsed traveling art shows, it might get really boring around here,” she told us.
The tour consists of artifacts discovered by explorer Johnny Didgeridoo during his visit to the Australian Outback in late 1999. Although he is no longer with us, his collection is making its way around the world to share the mystical Outback with those of us who can not go there ourselves. Mr. Didgeridoo passed on last year in a strange wheat-thresher accident while collecting artifacts in Nebraska.
Among the more fascinating aspects of the collection is the cane toad exhibit. He collected some five complete and three flat specimen and had them preserved, stuffed, and mounted. Cane toads are a known pest around Australia, and are poisonous, especially when hit with a pickaxe. A favorite among the younger visitors is the toad nicknamed “Pollyanna.” She is wearing an old-timey little dress and hat.
Other items on the tour include a dingo skull, a boomerang collection, several bullroarers (individually painted by Aboriginal tribesmen), and a postcard showing Ayers rock. The postcard is autographed by none other than Steve and Terri Irwin, who Mr. Didgeridoo stumbled across while lifting rocks looking for big snakes.
Relics of the Outback will remain at the KMA for two months before moving on to Biloxi. Tickets are being sold in advance, or they may be purchased at the door.