20 May 2013
This week across the globe, more than 30,000 museums in 100 countries celebrate International Museum Day. The May 18 event invites us to look more closely at what a museum is and why it plays an essential role in the community. The South Australian Museum exists to educate, create, inspire and entertain by discovering and showcasing the wisdom of the world around us to our local and international visitors.
This year's International Museum Day theme is Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change. As an institution, we strive to apply knowledge in creative ways through innovative scientific research and inspiring programs for children. Our hope is to help create an intelligent and aware society, by igniting a passion in young minds for science and the natural world. We want them to carry this wonder throughout their lives, and at the most, become successors to our talented scientists. Through our many functions and services, we are able to create a safe and exciting place on North Terrace for visitors to discover the world. The Museum remains a solid part of Adelaide's artistic and scientific culture and wants to sustain an engaging array of exhibitions and activities for families.
A place where children and science meet
Most of our scientists can pinpoint a childhood moment when they discovered the natural world and developed a lifelong commitment to this journey of discovery, whether it was in the South Australian Museum or in their backyard. We want to provide the same experience for today's generation. With the number of upper senior school students who study science falling dramatically (by nearly half over the past two decades), we have a lot of work to do.
Our galleries are the first visual 'hook' for children to engage with the world around them. From how opals form on fossils to the role of parasites in ecosystems, the South Australian Museum recreates thrilling scenes from the natural world to capture children's attention and enlighten them to the possibilities of discovery.
The South Australian Museum's Information Centre is the point of contact for the public, where children and adults can handle specimens, bring in items or animals for identification and learn about biodiversity.
A place for scientific discovery, innovation and partnership
Connected to every gallery is a team of scientists investigating issues relating to species or objects on display. In the Science Centre at the rear of the Museum (off Kintore Avenue), a wide range of specialist teams are answering key questions in areas such as Mineralogy, Evolutionary Biology and Palaeontology. These leaders discover new species, create more efficient ways of exploring minerals, preserve ancient cultures and solve global problems.
We contribute to dialogue on understanding our world and offer new ideas to the international scientific community. We also provide emergency wildlife services and assist governments and agencies in species identification. Our valuable work in tracking biodiversity creates a detailed picture of Australian plants and wildlife, informs policymakers so they can make better decisions on how to conserve it, and helps us understand the impact of factors like industrial development and climate change.
Our experts also work with PhD students on their projects, guiding them to become the next leaders in their fields. Students have access to resources, lab equipment and inside knowledge to help them carry out the best and most accurate research possible.
A place for celebrating our Australian Aboriginal heritage
The Museum is a trusted hub of talented researchers who look after valuable family records, artefacts and biological information for the community. We have the largest collection of Australian Aboriginal material in the world, offering tourists a unique gateway into the lives and practices of the land's first inhabitants.
Our Archives department keeps family information and images that are valuable to Aboriginal communities, while our trusted archaeologists look after historical biological material and objects that help illustrate life in Australia up to thousands of years ago.
A place that is part of all South Australian communities
Our services are not confined to the Museum buildings – our team wants to spread the joy and excitement of science education throughout South Australian communities. Staff visit schools and travel to regional and remote parts of the State so that children everywhere can experience the benefits of our research and educational initiatives.
The South Australian Museum exists for the community. Our staff work hard towards scientific progress and preserving cultures and the natural environment; these stories form the basis of our impressive galleries. The Museum will always be a safe and engaging place for families to experience these stories and, through ongoing relationships with our staff, contribute to how we tell them.