Articles on Museums

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Berry, and other tourist towns, are out of step with modern museum curation which is trying to include Aboriginal communities and their stories. Shutterstock

Small histories: a road trip reveals local museums stuck in a rut

Away from the state capitals, small museums are out of step with big city curators - presenting tourists with stories that give a blinkered view of local history.
The National Museum of Iraq photographed in February 2018. Many of the pieces discovered at the ruins of Ur, arranged and labelled by Ennigaldi-Nanna, can be found here. Wikimedia Commons

Hidden women of history: Ennigaldi-Nanna, curator of the world’s first museum

Ennigaldi-Nanna is largely unknown in the modern day. But in 530BC, this Mesopotamian priestess worked to arrange and label various artefacts in the world's first museum.
Indigenous Australians must be involved in research around provenance and country. Here, representatives of the Willandra Aboriginal Elders visit the Griffith University ancient DNA laboratory. Renee Chapman

DNA from ancient Aboriginal Australian remains enables their return to Country

Museums around the world hold remains of Aboriginal people that were often taken without permission and in the absence of accurate records. New DNA methods may help return these items to country.
With a lot not on display, museums may not even know all that’s in their vast holdings. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Digitizing the vast ‘dark data’ in museum fossil collections

A tiny percentage of museums’ natural history holdings are on display. Very little of these vast archives is digitized and available online. But museums are working to change that.
Brazil’s gutted National Museum now resembles an archaeological ruin itself. AP Photo/Mario Lobao

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

It's a comforting falsehood that once an artifact joins a museum's collection, it's safe for eternity. Museums face many foes in the fight to preserve – a lack of funds might be the biggest.

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