The National Museum of Australia, located in Canberra, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting Australia’s social history by exploring the key issues, people, and events that have shaped the nation17. The museum’s collection is linked to significant moments, people, and places in Australian history and culture. In this article, we will focus on the research projects undertaken by the museum.
Curatorial and Research Projects
The National Museum of Australia’s curators work with collectors, communities, artists, and makers to build a collection that represents the richness and diversity of Australian history and culture5. Curators collaborate with teams across the museum to bring the collection to life through exhibitions, digital projects, publications, seminars, and events.
The museum also has three research Fellows who work to facilitate key conversations around major issues of national significance5. These research projects cover a wide range of topics, including anthropology, archaeology, natural history, cultural history studies, Australian school histories, steam engineering, ornithology, museum studies, and conservation.
Partnerships and Collaborations
The National Museum of Australia works with many external partners and supports Research Fellows, Honorary Fellows, and Research Associates5. They also award a joint PhD scholarship with the Australian National University every three years and participate in Australian Research Council projects.
Some of the museum’s research projects are conducted in collaboration with other institutions, such as the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI) 21. AMRI focuses on understanding and responding to challenges facing the planet through scientific research, communication, and education.
Collection and Exhibitions
The National Museum of Australia’s collection consists of more than 210,000 objects that represent Australia’s history and cultural heritage3. The collection helps build connections between objects, memory, imagination, and lived experience across cultures, communities, and time.
The museum’s exhibitions showcase various aspects of Australian history, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, Australian history and society since 1788, and people’s interaction with the Australian environment11. The museum also develops and travels exhibitions on subjects ranging from bushrangers to surf lifesaving17.
Education and Outreach
The National Museum of Australia offers a range of educational resources and programs for students of all ages4. These resources are linked to the Australian Curriculum and are inspired by defining moments in Australian history and objects in the museum’s collection.
The museum provides onsite school programs, outreach programs for Canberra region schools, and digital excursions for students to engage with the museum’s collections and exhibitions12. They also offer teacher professional development programs and support the annual National History Challenge, a research-based history competition for students4.
The Director Of The National Museum Of Australia
The current director of the National Museum of Australia is Dr. Mathew Trinca.
- Dr. Mathew Trinca was appointed as Director of the National Museum of Australia in February 2014 and reappointed for another 5 years in December 2018123.
- Prior to becoming Director, he served as Assistant Director at the museum with responsibility for collections, exhibitions, and research from 2006-201315.
- Dr. Trinca has a PhD in history from the University of Sydney. His research interests include Australian social and cultural history5.
- Under Dr. Trinca’s leadership, the museum has developed national and international programs bringing alive stories of Australia for diverse audiences46.
- The National Museum of Australia conducts research projects on various topics related to Australian history and culture. It partners with institutions like Australian Museum Research Institute6.
- Dr. Trinca will step down as Director in February 2024 when his second 5-year term concludes4.
So in summary, the current Director of the National Museum of Australia is Dr. Mathew Trinca, who was appointed in 2014 and reappointed in 2018 for a 10 year tenure ending in 2024. He has played a key role in shaping the museum’s programs and research priorities.
The National Museum of Australia plays a crucial role in preserving and interpreting Australia’s social history through its extensive collection, research projects, exhibitions, and educational programs. By focusing on key issues, people, and events that have shaped the nation, the museum helps to build connections between objects, memory, imagination, and lived experience across cultures, communities, and time. Through its research projects and collaborations with other institutions, the museum contributes to the understanding and preservation of Australia’s rich history and cultural heritage.