Déjà vu at Museum of Australian Democracy

May 28, 2014

Martinis and Oysters at the Members Bar at MoAD
Last time I met up with 100 humans at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House (MoAD), I was in a big white dress! My personal history with the building goes back 12 years, as the site for my wedding. I opted for the ceremony to be held at MoAD because of the beautiful 1920’s architecture which effortlessly oozes charm, character and history through its hallways, rooms and courtyards. Every time I walk through the building, I imagine Mad Men-esque type scenes transpiring. Having a wedding guest list full of interstaters; MoAD is a Canberra icon that I wanted them all to experience. The majority of my guests later confessed to me that they did not realise MoAD was available to host events.  They had assumed I had political connections and clout to allow me to host the wedding there and felt very privileged to have the exclusive access to the hallowed building.
Wedding time!

My latest experience at MoAD, that I shared with 100 local humans only made me love it more. Last night was the first discovery event for the #humanbrochure. An opportunity to experience and learn more about some of Canberra’s key attractions in an afterhour’s intimate setting with 100 of my new BFF’s.

After gathering in the historic Kings Hall for drinks and some decadent nibbles (truffle chicken nuggets and beetroot  marshmallows), we played a little game of lucky dip to decide which of the three experiences we would be doing. On offer was:

Our Kitchen Rules - Experiencing the kitchen that has served hundreds of meals for politicians, diplomats and royalty.  

Mixology - Sampling the famous Menzies Martini and learning the secrets of what took place in the Member’s Bar.

Comic Strip - Walking through the Behind the Lines exhibition, featuring works from Australia’s best political cartoonists and having your own caricature drawn while listening to Geoff Pryor, Canberra political cartoonist from the building’s past.

I would not have been disappointed with any of the three but was thrilled that I drew Mixology. The Mixology group was guided to the Members Bar. Dark, moody and with the smell of gin in the air, the stained timber paneled bar conjured up images of Mad Men type scenes. I could instantly picture Don Draper or rather his Australian 1950s political contemporaries spending many an hour indulging in cocktails and making deals.

While at the bar we were treated to a Martini Master Class accompanied by freshly shucked oysters while hearing the fascinating personal stories of Michelle Grattan. Michelle has been a member of the Canberra parliamentary press gallery for more than 40 years, during which time she has covered all the most significant stories in Australian politics.

After learning that unlike James Bond our 12th Australian Prime Minister, Robert Menzies liked his Martinis stirred not shaken, we adjourned back to Kings Hall for dessert. Feeling satiated and full of renewed affection for MoAD, the evening already had me planning the next time I would be back to enjoy the building.  I am tempted to bring the family to the Queen’s Birthday Celebration on Monday 9th of June 2014 for a spot of royal inspired activities including creating a mega LEGO® mosaic of Queen Elizabeth II!