Aboriginal Cultures Museum

Establishing a new Aboriginal Cultures Museum at UWA is an integral step in creating a future in which cultural understanding is recognised as central to responsible global citizenship. The museum will be an inspirational and iconic focal point in our city and State, representative of the importance of Aboriginal cultures.

Professor Ted Snell

A destination building that celebrates living cultures, the museum will expand our social horizons and foster a deeper knowledge and appreciation of one another and our histories.

Winthrop Professor Ted Snell AM CitWA, Director, Cultural Precinct

A university without gates

The University is fortunate to have been entrusted with one of the world’s finest collections of Aboriginal cultural material and heritage. Due to space limitations, the current temporary home for these collections allows less than one per cent to be displayed at any one time. The Aboriginal Cultures Museum will provide long-overdue access to the exceptional Ronald and Catherine Berndt Collection, the UWA Collection, as well as future collections and the prestigious Centre for Rock Art Research and Management.

The Ronald and Catherine Berndt Collection

The largest and most significant component is the Ronald and Catherine Berndt Collection, widely considered one of the most important individual collections of Australian Aboriginal works in the world.

Few people can be aware of the full range and quality of the Berndt Museum collection for until now, the University has only had very limited space in which to display it. The news that, at last, plans are being made to provide it with the space it truly deserves will be widely welcomed not only in Australia but overseas, and not only by scholars but by the growing number of the general public who today recognise the beauty and fascination to be found in these extraordinary works.

Sir David Attenborough

Centre for Rock Art Research and Management

In addition to the collections, the Aboriginal Cultures Museum will house the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management, bringing together such multidisciplinary researchers as archaeologists, chemists, fine arts specialists, Aboriginal artists, historians and Aboriginal consultants to bring about a holistic understanding of the cultural significance of rock art.

The Museum’s vision is to:

  • Deepen relationships with the Aboriginal communities whose cultures are represented in the collections.
  • Showcase one of the world’s finest collections of Australian Aboriginal material and promote collaborative understanding and conservation of Aboriginal heritage.
  • Open opportunities for international dialogue and, in doing so, increase global appreciation of Aboriginal cultures.

The Museum will house:

  • More than 13,500 treasures, among them rare artworks and artefacts.
  • Hundreds of invaluable sound and video recordings.
  • A 4,000-volume reference library.
  • An extensive archive on the history of the collections and their collectors.
  • Approximately 45,000 historic and contemporary photographs.

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