Engaging Objects

The British Museum’s collection is one of the most important holdings of Australian Indigenous material in the world. It has been assembled over two hundred and forty years, beginning with material collected at Botany Bay in 1770, during James Cook’s first Pacific voyage. In addition to rare and precious objects, it includes photographs and artworks as well as correspondence detailing interactions between collectors and Australian Indigenous people throughout Australia and over a long period of time. In 2015, the British Museum and the National Museum of Australia are staging two linked exhibitions based on objects from the BM’s collection of Australian Indigenous material. This joint exhibition between the ANU, the NMA and the BM is an opportunity to explore the issues of museums and their relationship to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in collaboration with Indigenous research participants and communities throughout Australia. Despite its breadth, depth and historical importance, the collection has been little researched, either in Britain or Australia. Its contribution to understandings of the diversity and history of Indigenous material culture, histories of Australian Aboriginal people and their relationships with early settlers, as well as the collection’s meanings and significance to contemporary Indigenous communities, is therefore largely unrealised.
Type
collection
Title
Engaging Objects
Alternate Title
Engaging Objects: Indigenous communities, museum collections and the representation of Indigenous histories
Collection Type
Dataset
Access Privileges
Digital Humanities Hub
Full Description
The British Museum’s collection is one of the most important holdings of Australian Indigenous material in the world. It has been assembled over two hundred and forty years, beginning with material collected at Botany Bay in 1770, during James Cook’s first Pacific voyage. In addition to rare and precious objects, it includes photographs and artworks as well as correspondence detailing interactions between collectors and Australian Indigenous people throughout Australia and over a long period of time. In 2015, the British Museum and the National Museum of Australia are staging two linked exhibitions based on objects from the BM’s collection of Australian Indigenous material. This joint exhibition between the ANU, the NMA and the BM is an opportunity to explore the issues of museums and their relationship to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in collaboration with Indigenous research participants and communities throughout Australia. Despite its breadth, depth and historical importance, the collection has been little researched, either in Britain or Australia. Its contribution to understandings of the diversity and history of Indigenous material culture, histories of Australian Aboriginal people and their relationships with early settlers, as well as the collection’s meanings and significance to contemporary Indigenous communities, is therefore largely unrealised.
Contact Email
john.carty@anu.edu.au
Fields of Research
160104 - Social and Cultural Anthropology; 210204 - Museum Studies
Date Coverage
2011
2014
Year of data publication
2013
Publisher for Citation
The Australian National University Data Commons
Other Related Identifiers
201209030081
Rights held in and over the data
The copyright for the material this collection is based upon is not held by The Australian National University as such to utilise the items in this collection permission must be sought from the original copyright holders. Please email the contact person to gain further information about obtaining permission to utilise parts of this collection.
Status: Published
Published to:
  • Australian National Data Service
  • Australian National University
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