The Australian Museum, Australia’s first public museum was established in Sydney in 1827 with the aim of procuring “many rare and curious specimens of Natural History.” From a “beautiful collection of Australian curiosities”, the Museum has grown to an internationally recognised collection of over 21 million cultural and scientific objects. The Museum plays a leading role in taxonomic and systematic research. Through exhibitions and other public programs, the Australian Museum has informed and inspired generations of visitors about the unique flora, fauna and cultures of Australia and the Pacific.
The Australian Museum’s new Pasifika Gallery, due to open in October 2023, will tell the stories of the Pacific, and the stories of the Pacific diaspora in Australia. The Museum’s Pacific Collection represents living cultures with over 60,000 artefacts, cultural technologies and archaeological material from across Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It has been recognised as the most significant Pacific collection in the world.
The new Pasifika Gallery aims to shine a light on the broad diversity and ancestry of the vast Pacific region through the power of storytelling. The main feature of the gallery will be the recreation of a customary meeting place displaying cultural objects with short stories, images of living landscapes and people. In addition, the gallery space will be brought to life through a dynamic annual program of events and cultural activity. The new gallery will act as a space for cultural exchange through interactive digital and live experiences while showcasing the extraordinary objects from the collection.
The AM has recently established a Pacific Advisory Panel and has strong established links with diaspora communities based in NSW. The Pacific and International Collections team will lead the development of the new gallery.
The development of this gallery represents a ground-breaking moment for the collection as it will be the first time the Pacific collection will be curated for display by an exclusively Indigenous Pacific team. The AM prioritises giving voice to First Nations stories and has formally endorsed a commitment to facilitate a place of welcome, healing and richness for all First Nations people.
The Macdoch Foundation has supported the development costs of the new Pasifika Gallery with a three-year grant.
For more information, visit the Australian Museum.