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23 August 2005

Australian museums will soon be sharing expertise with their Asia-Pacific neighbours thanks to a new scheme designed to strengthen the unique cultural identities of the region.

Chair of the Australian Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), Dr Ian Galloway today announced the ICOM Australia Museum Partnerships Program and called for participants.

'This exciting new program will respond to the urgent needs of our Pacific neighbours in terms of cultural heritage,' Dr Galloway said.

'Culture and tradition play an integral role in our society. The stories behind objects, language and traditions are a vital sense of our identity and constitute the foundation of a community's life.'

Museums and other cultural organisations in the Pacific are keepers of national stories and custodians of the region's cultural heritage, and as such, play a key role in maintaining and strengthening cultural identity in the region.

'Concern over growing migration, urbanisation and global popular culture, coupled with civil unrest and recent natural disasters makes this a very timely initiative,' Dr Galloway said.

The 12-month pilot program funded by the National Museum of Australia in Canberra uses the expertise and experience of Australian museum professionals and builds on the strong relationships that exist between Australian and Pacific Island museums.

Funding is available to Australian museums who can demonstrate an on-going relationship with a museum in the south-west Pacific region.

The closing date for the first round of funding is 16 September 2005, for projects starting immediately.

Further information about the ICOM Australia Museum Partnerships Program can be found at

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is an international organisation of museums and museum professionals, committed to the conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world's natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.

Created in 1946, ICOM is a non-governmental organisation maintaining formal relations with UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Media contact: Sarah Perrott on 07 3842 9388 or 0417 741 710

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