Humanities

Shields in the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery

Shields on display in the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery.

The South Australian Museum is responsible for the largest and most comprehensive collection of Australian Aboriginal ethnographic material in the world. We are committed to a process of making these items accessible to Aboriginal communities across Australia, and also have a charter to interpret the collections to a broader Australian and international public, in partnership with Aboriginal people.

Our World Cultures collection encompasses ethnographic items from the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Our Papua New Guinea and Pacific cultures collections are particularly strong.

The Australian Polar Collection is comprised of items relating to Sir Douglas Mawson (1882–1958), George Hubert Wilkins (1888–1958), and John Riddoch Rymill (1905–68), who were all either born, or largely based in South Australia. They represent within Australia, ‘a monopoly on polar leadership’, given no other states are associated with polar expedition leaders.

Formerly the Industrial History Collection, the History of Science Collection comprises a diverse range of artefacts. Collections include weaponry, instruments, tools, photography and even theatrical lighting