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Kew Historical Society Inc Kew, Victoria

Founded in 1958, the Kew Historical Society is one of the oldest suburban historical societies in Melbourne. The Society was formed to assist in the preparations for Kew’s 100th Anniversary in 1960. Today, the Society continues to work with local government and other organisations within Kew to stimulate interest in our history and heritage. It publishes, in print and online, information and resources about Kew’s history, as well as organising events relevant to our heritage. The Society cooperates with other historical societies and groups across the City of Boroondara through the Boroondara Historical Societies Association.

Links

Contact Information

location
PO Box 175 Kew Victoria 3101

Contact

Opening Hours

Fridays & Saturdays 11.00am to 1.00pm.

Entry Fee

Free entry

Location

Level 1, Kew Court House 188 High Street Kew Victoria

The Kew Historical Society was founded in 1958, and the collection predates and postdates that year. The collection has sometimes grown gradually, or significantly, the latter through key donations (eg The Rogers Collection), or due to events such as the amalgamation of the former City of Kew into the new City of Boroondara in 1994. Many ‘civic’ items were donated before, during or after the amalgamation. These records are digitised by the Kew Historical Society on Victorian Collections for the purposes of education and preservation. If you believe that we have infringed your copyright please contact us and we will remove the material from the site.

Significance

The collection as a whole fulfills the criteria for very strong historical, aesthetic and research significance at a local level. It also has many outstanding associations with state themes, figures and events and quite a few that resonate at a national level. The costume and textiles, map and picture collections each have very strong historical, research and aesthetic significance of their own accord. The degree of their significance is greatly enhanced by all of the comparative criteria: interpretive value, provenance, condition, integrity, rarity and representativeness.

The costume collection has a very high degree of aesthetic significance for its beauty, quality and workmanship. There are some items that are associated with nationally significant designers, or with Kew donors who have made an impact on society at a local and a state level (ie Prue Acton, Jinoel of Melbourne, Oggi Fashion House). The strong degree of provenance and high quality of the design and dressmaking that went into the production of these clothes strengthens the research significance of this sub-collection for those interested in fashion, textiles and dressmaking. This costume collection includes items that date back to the 1850s (patchwork Denbigh quilt) through to the 1980s, and that reflect changing styles, technologies, textiles and production methods.

The picture collection has some items that have high local significance such as the Josiah Barnes photograph ‘Kew proclaimed a city’, which was taken on that day – 10 March 1921, and the ‘Unveiling of the Kew War Memorial’ on August 30 1925 in front of an audience of over 5,000 people and presided over by the Kew Mayor and the Governor of Victoria. Both of these important images also have significance to state and national processes of municipal development and memorializing war. The mayoral portraits (part of the picture collection) have a very high degree of historical and research significance for their associations, enhanced by strong provenance and technical qualities. Eminent photographers took many of the portraits and the subjects are people who have made a significant contribution to the welfare and development of Kew and, in the case of some of the Mayors in this collection, of the state or even the nation. This includes people such as Stanley Argyle (Premier of Victoria 1932-35) and William Kerr (influential businessman and federal government advisor in the early decades of the 20th century). The significance threshold of this sub-collection is therefore likely to be of state significance at the least.

The maps and plans number some 300 or more and include some fascinating and important maps beyond the MMBW sub-collection that, itself, holds some unique items and has been discussed at length in this report. Other much earlier and hand drawn maps such as ‘Back to Kew’ (c.1875) and ‘Site of the first house in Kew Central’ (undated) are historically fascinating. In the case of ‘Back to Kew’ it is the detail of the built, natural and social landscape of Kew, which was also annotated and added to several times in subsequent decades to show the development of the area. In the case of ‘Site of the first house in Kew Central’ it is the careful recording of the garden layout and the nature of domesticity in these early days of European settlement that is both fascinating and rare to find in any local history collection. While not all the items are original the map and plan collection has a very high degree of historical and research significance.

Provenance for much of the collection is strong, and therefore supportive of its historical, research and interpretive value. Certainly the interpretive capacity for understanding a detailed and nuanced history of Kew on many levels, as well as touching or reflecting on wider stories on a state or national stage is very high.

Russell, Emma, 'Kew Historical Society Significance Assessment | Collection', History@Work, 2018

Cameron Auty 26 April 2016 9:48 AM

Amazing hat collection, these are a great addition to the site - Site admin.

Leave a comment

2343 items

Costume - Evening Dress, Brown & Gold Acetate, 1980

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Brown acetate evening gown, and floor-length evening coat retailed by Bianca, Sydney, and manufactured under licence to Henry Chavan, Lyon & Paris. The sheer fabric of the coat is decorated by the use of pile weave, forming a floral pattern of velvet outlined in gold thread.

Historical information

This example of evening wear from 1980 is one of two pieces in the collection owned and worn by Kaye Cole.This dress was bought for and worn by Cr Kaye Cole, Mayor of Kew 1979/80, to a Mayoral Dinner on Friday 25 July 1980. An accompanying seating plan lists the attendees including the Governor of Victoria, the Victorian Premier, State and Federal parliamentary representatives and distinguished guests from neighbouring municipalities. The evening dress was donated to the Society by Kaye Cole on the occasion of an interview on 6 August 2018 relating to the period on which she served on Kew Council as a representative of North Ward (1973-6) and Prospect Ward (1978-85) and her achievements as mayor.

Significance

The dress is extremely well provenance and can be linked to an important event in Kew's history.

Costume - Cocktail Dress & Coat: Satin & Organza, 1960s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Gold embroidered dress and organza coat, the latter held by a large button at the neck. The outfit is part of the Sartori collection donated in 2006.

Costume - Evening Dress, Floral Crepe, 1930s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Full length floral crepe evening dress with squared neck and short puffed sleeves.

Costume - Dress: Blue Rayon with Full Pleated Skirt, 1950s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Sky blue ballerina length dress

Costume - Outerwear, Sanfor, 1930s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

White cotton apron dress with blue trim, with a label on the inside collar "Sanfor". Sanfor refers to Sanforization which was a process used to treat cotton fabrics, patented by Sanford Lockwood Cluett (1874–1968) in 1930. It is a method of stretching, shrinking and fixing the woven cloth in both length and width before cutting and producing, to reduce the shrinkage which would otherwise occur after washing. The items was donated by Teresa Mayer.

Costume - Red Lace Evening Dress, & Matching Red Velvet Jacket, 1930s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Long burgundy machine-made lace evening dress with a separate red underslip. The dress is currently paired with a red velvet jacket and belt which it is believed was part of the original donation by Teresa Mayer.

Costume - Dress: Pink Floral Voile / attrib., Miss Moonies Shop, 1930s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Pink floral voile day dress, beloved to have been bought from the Miss Moonies Shop in Melbourne. The dress has a tie at the waist in the same fabric ending in small wooden clogs. Th dress was donated by Elaine Chenoweth.

Costume - Dress - Purple Rayon / by Scotchco of Melbourne, 1950s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Plum coloured single piece dress, belted at the waist, with a belt covered with the same fabric. It has pearl buttons. The dress was retailed by Scotchco of Melbourne

Costume - Cocktail Dress: Beige Crepe / by Deja Petite, 1960s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Beige tricel and viscose knee-length cocktail dress with pleating and an abstract fabric flower of the same material on the right front. The dress was reatiled by Deja Petite of Melbourne.

Costume - Cocktail Dress: Grey Silk & Lace, Margeaux of Melbourne, 1950s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Knee length short sleeved grey silk and grey tulle cocktail dress with an attached outer covering of patterned lace of a lighter grey colour. The garment has the label of ‘Margeaux Regd. Imported fabric’. There is a zip at the back. There is some discoloration (due to sun damage?) to the lace at the shoulders. Margeaux specialised in the production of "high-class cocktail and evening wear" (The Age, 17 March 1956).

Costume - Evening Dress: Green Crepe

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Long lime green crepe evening dress with a silk lining of the same colour. At the neckline is a narrow band of pale brown/pink commercial lace. The very narrow shoulder straps are a similar shade of brown/pink. The dress features a closure at the back that is fastened with press-studs.

Tableware - Coffee Set: French Porcelain, 19th Century

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Continental porcelain coffee set of 5 cups, 6 saucers, a coffee pot, sugar bowl & lid and matching tray, once owned by the Dods family and donated in 2006.

Significance

An item of historical interest donated by members of the Dods family in 2006. The Dods-Ferguson Collection includes a number of items once in the possession of the families related to or descended from two mayors of Kew: Cr. Hugh Ferguson and Cr. Frederick Dods.

Ephemera - Red Leather Bookmark, United Sunday Schools' Demonstration, Melbourne, 6 May 1901

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Embossed red leather bookmark commemorating the 'United Sunday Schools Demonstration' in St Kilda Road in 1901 to welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales to open the first Commonwealth Parliament in the Royal Exhibition Building.

Historical information

SUNDAY SCHOOL DEMONSTRATION. With three times three we coo-ee, The Prince we meet again; Our Princess May we welcome, With heart and voice amain. This was the welcome of the children of the Melbourne Sunday schools. The greeting came from over 30,000 youthful voices to the accompaniment of as many waving flags of diminutive size, held by the children. Probably not one of those who sang so lustily had witnessed the previous visit of his Royal Highness; or knew anything of it except as a traditional event, but the sentiment was a good and proper one all the same. The children were massed on the rising ground in the Domain, and apparently the long wait was not at all wearying. It was to most of them a huge picnic. They lunched on the grass, and filled in the intervening lime with games such as the juvenile heart delights in. At intervals something approaching order, was observed, and then songs, which have been in rehearsal for some weeks past, were sung under the baton of Mr. D. R. Davies, musical director, and to the lead of a united brass band of over a hundred instrumentalists under Bandmaster E; T. Code. A solo was also sung by Mr. H. J. Floyd. At all times the scene was an exceedingly animated one. Most of the children were attired in light costumes, and those in whose dress there was some color provided the necessary variety to make up a most picturesque scene. Probably there were nearly 35,000 adults and children at this spot. They occupied the frontage to St. Kilda-road, from Government House gates to the intersecting thoroughfare beyond. As the children were confined to the high ground, there was a green strip in front of them, and the dark green of the fir trees at the top of the slope made a most suitable background. Between these two lines of even coloring the children, with the easy freedom of youth, made perhaps as pretty a feature of the pageant as could be found anywhere in the whole route of the procession." (The Age, Tues 7 May 1901, p.6)

Significance

This tiny battered piece of ephemera recording the United Sunday School Demonstration of 1901 must once have been exceedingly common, however in the context of the growing collection that the Society has relating to the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne it has historic and social significance.

Inscriptions & Markings

"United Sunday Schools Demonstration, Melbourne Australia, Melbourne May 6 1901"

Glasses - Decimal Currency Conversion Glasses, circa 1966

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Pair of transfer printed glasses with decimal currency converters printed on them.

Historical information

Presumably made around the time that Australia switched from Imperial to Decimal Currency in 1966 to aid the householder make quick conversions.

Inscriptions & Markings

See image

Bookends - Pair of Bookends, Wood, 1930s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Pair of matching wooden bookends featuring a yacht against clouds and an orange sky.

Weighing Instrument - Pocket Balance: MR Product [Made in Australia}

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Small hanging scales at the top of which there is a metallic ring to fasten the object. This is attached to the main body which on one side has measurements inscribed into the metal surface. Inside the body is a spring loaded mechanism which moves along the scales when weight is added to a hook at the bottom of the shaft. [Ed. The maker's initials have not to date been identified.]

Inscriptions & Markings

"Pocket Balance / MR Product / Made in Australia"

Photograph - No.2 [Steam] Roller, Kew City Council

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Small black and white photograph of a steamroller used by the City of Kew in road construction from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Inscriptions & Markings

Reverse of photo: "KCC No 2 Roller 607S". Accompanying note: "20/3/84 Gift to the Society from Mr [?] who was K.C.C. [Kew City Council] driver of this "monster". Kew City Council No.2 Roller. Used in street construction 1950. Roller probably 1930 era."

Footwear Accessory - Boot hook: Bone, Chrome & Steel

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Small chrome plated steel hook with bone panels riveted to either side of the handle.

Scrapbook - Scrapbook: Newspaper Articles / compiled by Dorothy Rogers, 1934

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Leather bound scrapbook, part of the Dorthy Rogers Collection, embossed in gilt with the initials "G.S. Melbourne" on the cover. The folding of the pages allows for reading from the font or back. The scrapbook includes early newspaper cuttings dating from the 1930s.

Historical information

Following the death of the Dorothy Rogers, a donation of material relating to the historian and her family was made to the Historical Society by her sons. The minutes of the Society record that they were originally placed with the City of Kew for safekeeping. The Society's minutes record gradual discoveries of items from the collection, including this scrapbook, by later researchers.

Significance

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Photographic Negative - Lithograph: John Hodgson / by Ludwig Becker (1808-?61)

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photographic negative of a lithograph of the Melbourne and Studley Park pioneer John Hodgson, accompanied by a letter from the donor, Jean Uhl.

Historical information

Donation includes a letter, dated 12 June 1983 from June Uhl to Mrs [Thea] Sartori referring to research about John Hodgson and the naming of Studley Park.

Inscriptions & Markings

Envelope: "John Hodgson painted* by Ludwig Becker 1855. Photographed by State Library of Victoria from original held by Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Kew Historical Society from Jean Uhl." Editor note: Incorrect attribution. The Becker oil painting is held in the City Collection, City of Melbourne. This negative is of a lithograph based on a drawing of Hodgson, made by L. Becker circa 1855.

Architectural Fragments - Chips From Old Law Courts, Russell Street (Melb)

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Matchbox containing architectural fragments from the old law courts [Supreme Court] in Russell Street. The matchbox has a label on the front and more detailed information included in a note inside the box. The item is believed to have belonged to the historian Dorothy Rogers.

Historical information

The law court buildings on the corner of Russell and La Trobe Streets (Melbourne) were later to house the Supreme Court of Victoria. The law courts were built in 1842. The inscription by Dorothy Rogers [sic] incorrectly describes the builders as Swanson Bros., who instead were the builders of the later Magistrates Court on the same site.

Inscriptions & Markings

Exterior "Chips from the old law courts Russell St." Inside: "Court House built by Swanson Bros in 1842 of Moorabool Stone & opened 1st time [sic] in 1843. Stone composed of tiny shells".

Medallion - Vice President, Kew Heights Bowling Club

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Pendant medallion hanging from a blue enamel bar with the title 'Vice President'. The green red and gold medallion of the Kew Heights Bowling Club includes a centrally positioned representation of an eagle holding a bowling ball.

Historical information

Vice President medallion belonging to Saul Spielmann donated to the Society by his wife Shirley.

Medallion - Secretary, Kew Bowling Club

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Pendant medallion hanging from a blue enamel bar with the title 'SECRETARY' The medallion is in green, red, black and gold enamel, the colours of the Kew Bowling Club..

Historical information

Secretary's medallion belonging to Saul Spielmann donated to the Society's by his wife Shirley.

Medallions - Life Member, Kew & Kew Heights Bowling Clubs

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Black enamel bar with the words 'LIFE MEMBER' highlighted in gold. From the bar hang two multicoloured enamel medallions, the earlier for the Kew Bowling Club and the latter for the Kew Heights Bowling Club.

Historical information

Life membership medallions belonging to Saul Spielmann, donated to the Society by his wife Shirley in 2016.

Trophies - Embossed Glass Trophies, Kew Bowling Club

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

2 glasses awarded as trophies to Saul Spielmann

Bell - Hand Bell, Brass & Wood, Lioness Club of Kew

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Brass hand bell used as a gong by the Lioness Club of Kew (1979-1988), engraved with the names of their past presidents. The wooden striker was made by Ray Boothroyd at a later date.

Historical information

Following the dissolution of the Club in 1988, the bell was donated to the Kew Historical Society by Prue Molnar.

Dinnerware - Cups & Saucers, City of Kew

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

A large collection of cups and saucers, each bearing a transfer pattern of the City of Kew logo. There are 31 cups and 44 saucers.

Historical information

Cups and saucers used at functions by the former City of Kew, before 1994.

Dinnerware - Tea Cup, Saucer & Plate, Ridgways, circa 1880

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Glazed earthenware tea cup, saucer and plate with transfer printed decoration, using the 'Hawthornden' pattern by Ridgways. The underneath of each item bears the maker's mark and a pattern registration date for April 1880.

Photograph - Framed Print: His Majesty King George V / after John Berrie

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Large official framed colour print of King George V in military uniform. The linked article by Laura Cook, published by the AWM in 2017 gives a history of the original Berrie portrait and reproductions.

Historical information

The original oil portrait is held by the Australian War Memorial.

Inscriptions & Markings

"His Majesty King George V"

Cerificate - Award of Appreciation: Kew Historical Society, 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Framed certificate awarded to the Society by the RHSV recognising 59 years of organisational membership.

Toy - Kiddicraft: Billie and His Seven Barrels, 1950

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Boxed children's toy, suitable for children 2-2.5 years, donated by Miss Jean Woollard circa 1997.

Puzzle - Children's Puzzle, Wood & Paint, circa 1950s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

One of a pair of wooden puzzles used in the Denmark Street Baby Health Centre in Kew.

Historical information

In August, 1920, The Kew Town Council decided to establish a Baby Health Centre in Kew. The first Centre was opened in a room in the Town Hall in Walpole Street on 5 November 1920. In May 1939, the Railway Commissioners agreed to lease a site at the Kew Railway Station for a Baby Health Centre for a term of 21 years at 3 pounds per annum. A building, designed by Roland Chipperfield, was erected, and the Centre previously conducted at the Town Hall transferred there. This became known as the Denmark Street Baby Health Centre. (Cr. W.D. Vaughan, Kew’s Civic Century, W.D. Vaughan Pty Ltd., Kew, 1960, pp.96 & 97.)

Puzzle - Children's Puzzle, Wood & Paint, circa 1950s

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

One of a pair of wooden puzzles used in the Denmark Street Baby Health Centre in Kew.

Historical information

In August, 1920, The Kew Town Council decided to establish a Baby Health Centre in Kew. The first Centre was opened in a room in the Town Hall in Walpole Street on 5 November 1920. In May 1939, the Railway Commissioners agreed to lease a site at the Kew Railway Station for a Baby Health Centre for a term of 21 years at 3 pounds per annum. A building, designed by Roland Chipperfield, was erected, and the Centre previously conducted at the Town Hall transferred there. This became known as the Denmark Street Baby Health Centre. (Cr. W.D. Vaughan, Kew’s Civic Century, W.D. Vaughan Pty Ltd., Kew, 1960, pp.96 & 97.)

Photograph - Display: Children's Health, Kew Library, 2017

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Display sourced from the Society's and private collections, curated by Les Littlechild, illustrating historical aspects of children's health in Kew.

Photograph - Kew Baptist Church Kindergarten, Alexandra Gardens (Kew), circa 1946

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Kew Baptist Church Kindergarten Xmas break up in the Alexandra Gardens, Cotham Road, Kew, circa 1946.The donor's brother Ted Brock is in the very middle, looking at the camera.

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Around the Bend ~ Asylums on the Yarra, Kew Court House, 2017

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photographs of the opening night of the exhibition on asylums by the Yarra, organised as part of the Kew Festival 2017.

Photograph - House: 31 Miller Grove (Kew)

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph of 31 Miller Grove, a house once owned and lived in by two nationally significant Australian women: firstly Marie Dalley (first female Mayor of Kew), and secondly the sculptor Leopoldine Mimovich.

Photograph - Streetscape: Kew, 2017

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph of the junction of Cotham Road and High Street, Kew.

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Performing Arts 1940-1970, Kew Court House, October 2017

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photos of the third Kew Historical Society exhibition at the Kew Court House for 2017, focusing on aspects of performing arts in Kew from the 1940s to the 1970s

Photograph - Community Heritage Grant Awards Ceremony, Canberra, 29 Oct 2017

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Kew Historical Society Archivist receiving a Community Heritage Grant award on behalf of the Society at a ceremony in Canberra to conduct a Significance Assessment.

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Victorian Fashion, Villa Alba, 2016

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Series of born digital images of a lecture and an exhiition at the Villa Alba Museum in 2016 of Victorian era costumes, largely drawn from the Coombs Collection of the Society. The mounting of the costumes was made possible by a City of Boroondara Strengthening Communities grant for 2015-16. Most of the costumes displayed here are separately catalogued on Victorian Collections.

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Victorian Fashion, Kew Court House, 2016

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Series of born digital images of an exhiition at the Kew Court House in 2016 of Victorian era costumes, largely drawn from the Coombs Collection of the Society. The mounting of the costumes was made possible by a City of Boroondara Strengthening Communities grant for 2015-16. Each of the costumes displayed here is separately catalogued on Victorian Collections.

Photograph - Monthly Meeting: The Weirs of Princess Street, 11 April 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Display of seven costumes from the Weir collection dating from the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s used as a display at the 11 April 2018 monthly meeting at which the speakers were Jillian Rigby, Robert Baker and Suzanne McWha. The topic was the Weirs of Princess Street (Kew). The dresses form part of the Kew Historical Society Australian fashion collection and are catalogued individually.

Photographs {Series] - House: 1 Tara Avenue, Kew, 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Two storey house at 1 Tara Avenue, sold in 2018 and to be demolished in 2019.

Photographs [Series] - Chandler Highway Bridge Construction, August 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

The second of a series of photographs taken in July/August 2018 recording work on the old and new Chandler Highway Bridges.

Photographs [Series] - Chandler Highway Bridge Construction, July 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

The first of a series of photographs taken in July/August 2018 recording work on the old and new Chandler Highway Bridges.

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Water H20, Kew Court House, 6 July 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

A series of photographs of objects and pictures of the second exhibition at the Kew Court House for 2018, mounted by the Kew Historical Society.

Photographs [Series] - Exhibition: Traders of Kew, Kew Court House, July 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

A series of photographs taken of current traders and members of the Society at the opening of the first exhibition for 2018 of the Kew Historical Society in its rooms at the Kew Court House. The exhibition was one of the Society's events at the annual Kew Festival. Honoured guests included Robert Stewart, Mr & Mrs Toscano, and Angela Pakula.

Photograph - Monthly Meeting: James Nicolas ~ 'Fairyland', August 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph of the presenter, James Nicolas, the author of a publication on 'Fairyland' speaking to members at the August 2018 meeting.

Photographs [Series] - Monthly Meeting: Show & Tell, July 2018

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photographs of exhibits and exhibitors at the July 2018 monthly meeting of the Kew Historical Society, which took the form of a 'Show & Tell' by members.