The South Australian Museum is custodian of the Australian Aboriginal Material Cultures Collection which is recognized as one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of ethnographic objects. This dynamic research collection consists of items from all regions of Australia and boasts an unparalleled depth both historically and geographically.
The Museum is committed to making these items accessible to Aboriginal communities across Australia, and also has a charter to interpret the collection to a broader Australian and international audience in partnership with Australian Aboriginal communities.
A special project is underway with Principal Sponsorship provided by Newmont Asia Pacific and additional support from the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE) to digitise this collection.
As of July 2013, our team of volunteers have photographed approximately 3025 objects from the collection and generated around 12,000 images. They photograph on average 40 objects a day. The project team is also working towards determining a thesaurus containing a standard list of terms which will be incorporated into the Museum’s collections database to describe the objects. These terms will contribute towards an international standard of terminology for naming objects. They will be relevant nationally and internationally to other museums seeking to categorise and document similar collection objects.
Once established, this important new resource will make new and significant cultural information accessible to Australian Aboriginal communities for the benefit of current and future generations.