On Saturday 2 December 2006 Mike Rann, the Premier of South Australia, reopened the newly renovated and refurbished Pacific Cultures Gallery.
The Premier is pictured above unveiling a plaque to mark the relaunch, with Chairman of the SA Museum Board John Ellice-Flint. After eight months of work the Victorian lantern ceiling has now been revealed and the heritage listed display cases returned to their former glory.
This remarkable exhibition of the material cultures of the Pacific had its origin when the North Wing of the Museum opened in 1895. Artefacts on display come from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon and Santa Cruz Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and New Zealand.
Approximately 3,000 bows and arrows, spears, shields, utensils, ornaments, masks and ritual objects are displayed in the original wall cases and flat cases. This is the largest exhibition of Pacific material in Australia and second only to Auckland in the southern hemisphere. The Pacific Gallery is being preserved as an example of 19th century museum display, essentially visual storage.
Progressively, this site will add text and images that enables the visitor to tour through the gallery and review the exhibition geographically, see how particular categories of objects vary from one region to another, explore cultural conservatism and change, and learn about the scientists, missionaries, government officers and others who collected the material.
After visiting this website, come and see the Gallery. There is no substitute for the real object.