Brian Kennedy tour
Betsy Brady and Zue Neckers. Photo: Lyn Mills
My knowledge of Toledo Ohio comes from Klinger. You know him, the Corporal in M*A*S*H who loves a nice frock and clomped about in girls gear trying to get out of the 4077 on a section 8 psychiatric discharge and back to Toledo.
Well there’s certainly more to it than the Klinger version - now there is a Canberra connection as former National Gallery of Australia director Brian Kennedy, who is the director of the Toledo Museum of Art, brings 18 of his favourite benefactors to Australia as their tour guide leader. His wife Mary pitched in too about what he’d chosen as must see parts of Australia.
Melbourne, Sydney, Alice Springs and Uluru were on the agenda with a final stop in Canberra and a personalised trip to the National Arboretum with John Mackay giving his friends of friends a special tour from the cedars to the playground, the bonsai to the birds’ nest.
The Toledo Museum of Art is the second of Kennedy’s significant directorships in the US after leaving the NGA in 2004, with his tenure at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in New Hampshire from 2005-10 prior to this current post at the museum founded by Edward Libbey of Libbey Glass fame. And glass is an important part of the Toledo Museum of Art collection housed in a purpose-built modern Frank Gehry-designed glass pavilion.
He loved the arboretum, especially the visitor’s centre and the panoramic view, and his Toledo team love the bonsai collection while I was somewhat bemused that one of the oldest is an 1880s privet. Aren’t they a weed? Well, to counter that, for Sue Moesser from Toledo, the history and vision of a tall sheltering Wollemi pine was worth the trip to the National Arboretum.