Life at Mona when museum is 'back to just being a house'

Ordinarily a museum, now Mona is 'back to just being a house'

Since it closed to visitors this month, Mona is simply husband-and-wife David Walsh and Kirsha Kaechele's house.

Mona is the extremely popular Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania's capital city Hobart.

Without the endless crowds - 350,000 people a year - the expansive museum has become somewhat more peaceful, Ms Kaechele said.

"I have to say, that part's kind of pleasant," she said. "It's nice to wake up and just wander out onto the lawn in a robe and not worry about seeing everyone.

"What I loved about living at Mona was that it's like living in a city: I walked out in the morning and I could hear every language. We loved the bustle, but [being closed] has its benefits as well.

"As soon as people disappeared we were inundated with wallabies and rabbits and all these little creatures. Tonnes of them, coming right up on the lawn."

The lawns are also looking pretty different since the museum closed.

During World War II, 40 per cent of all produce grown in the United States was in "victory gardens", planted outside people's homes and in public parks.

Being self-sufficient was seen as an active contribution to the war effort, encouraged by governments in the US, the UK, and Australia.

With that in mind, Ms Kaechele has dug up Mona's famous lawns, and is encouraging all Tasmanians to do the same during our own present global crisis.

"Basically as soon as we made the decision to close I started eyeing that lawn," she said. "I'm not a fan of lawns.

"So there it was empty, and I thought, this is my opportunity to help create some food at a time when everything is so uncertain."

She is asking Tasmanians to share their own veggie gardens on Instagram using the hashtag #monavictorygardensproject

There will be prizes for the best gardens that are likely to involve "putting the wine delivery van to good use".

Ms Kaechele said there are plenty of reasons to get your hands dirty outside during self-isolation with some gardening.

Kirsha Kaechele.

Kirsha Kaechele.

"It's a source of inspiration; a way to not listen to all of the horror stories and just connect with something alive and beautiful," she said.

"It seemed like a good time for everyone to do what Tasmanians have always done so well: live this artisanal lifestyle, grow your own fresh produce. I've always loved that about Tasmania, that there's this connection to fresh food.

"And also for mental health that's the best thing that people can do: get in the garden, watering plants and watching them respond. It's so healing."