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National Museum of Australia

Tangled Tales of a Nation's History


National Museum of Australia aerial pic

Aerial photograph of the museum's Acton Peninsula site

Courtesy National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia is located at the tip of the Acton Peninsula on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.

Many years in the planning — and dreamt of by New South Wales Premier Henry Parkes even before the federation of Australian states in 1901 — the new National Museum of Australia was finally opened on March 11 in the centenary of federation, 2001, in the national capital.

Architecturally striking in a variety of elements and shapes, the museum building is said to have been inspired by the idea of a jigsaw puzzle and to express the many tangled stories which make up Australia's history.

Australia and Australians

The National Museum of Australia is keen to point out that it is the first museum devoted to the stories of Australia and Australians and to the key issues, events and people which have shaped and influenced the nation.

'There's something for everyone'

Museum director Dawn Casey, whose term ended in December 2003, said prior to the opening: "Whether it's our fresh approach to exhibitions, the fascinating objects, the blockbuster exhibition program or the high-tech multi-media components -- there's something for everyone at this new museum of the people."

Insight into past

For the visitor to Canberra and to the National Museum of Australia, an extensive and exciting permanent exhibition, the First Australians, should give an insight into Australia's past and its people from the days of the Dreaming.

Aboriginal art

In Aboriginal art alone, the National Museum of Australia has the largest and finest collection of bark paintings in the world. As well, there are extensive collections of indigenous objects and Aboriginal stone tools.

Permanent exhibitions

Aside from the First Australians, the museum's permanent exhibitions include:

  • Nation: Symbols of Australia
  • Horizons: The Peopling of Australia since 1788
  • Eternity: Stories from the Emotional Heart of Australia
  • Tangled Destinies: Land and People in Australia

Next page: First Australians

    Acknowledgment: Aerial photograph - Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan. Architects in Association. Courtesy of National Museum of Australia
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