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Our work

The Research Centre’s work extends across many spectrums of relevance to the Museum. Its members include an archaeologist of Australian deserts and scholars in Australian social, Indigenous and environmental history and the Pacific. They have published widely, in both academic and popular forums, and maintain a strong interest in the value of material culture as a means to understand the world.

The Centre’s role within the Museum is to foster a research culture, supporting colleagues to engage in research and to make the most of opportunities to produce research relevant to the Museum’s broad interests. Increasingly, its members are contributing to core programs such as exhibitions.

The Centre includes the Museum’s Library, a diverse collection including collections of private papers and rare books, a large reference collection that is particularly strong in Australian and environmental history, Indigenous culture and museum studies.

The Centre especially focuses externally, acting as a bridge between the institution and the scholarly community, a relationship often manifest in publications, partnerships and in conferences, meetings and collaboration of all kinds.

  • Prizes and awards - Student Prize in Australian Environmental History and the History of Australian Science.
  • Partnerships - The Centre fosters partnerships with other institutions both in Australia and around the world.

reCollections: A journal of museums and collections

reCollections: A journal of museums and collections is an independent, peer-reviewed journal published by NMA Press. It focuses on two main areas: first, museology and museum practice; and, second, the history and interpretation of objects and the social and environmental history of material culture. Contributions are welcome relating to the role of museums in society, museum practice, and the history, collection, interpretation and display of museum collections. Articles should relate specifically to Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, or confront issues that are broadly relevant to museums or material history.

For enquiries or submissions to reCollections, please contact recollections @

Current editors of reCollections: Dr Mike Smith and Dr Peter Stanley, members of the Research Centre; Dr Therese Weber from the National Museum of Australia's print publishing team; and Dr Stephen Foster from the Australian National University.

Library of the National Museum of Australia

Five people stand around a table oon which rests a large book. It is being held open, on a page showing a colour illustration of a small aminal, by a woman wearing white gloves.
Margo Neale, Peter Stanley, Susan Nicholls, Naomi Newton and Noellen Newton.

The Library of the National Museum of Australia was established in 1984 and has grown into a collection of more than 45,000 books, serials and audiovisual items.

Located in the Annexe and part of the Research Centre, the Museum’s Library has developed as a vigorous combination of scholarly special library and staff services library. Its holdings include collections of personal and professional papers and rare books, created by influential figures such as Dr Bob Edwards (museum curator and entrepreneur), Professor David Ride (cultural heritage management pioneer), historians Professor Ken Inglis and Professor Bill Gammage and the Baldwin steam collection.

The library collection includes over 40,000 books and many serials, all relating to areas central to the Museum’s key themes of Australian history and society, people and the environment and Indigenous history and culture. The library has strong holdings in museum studies and conservation. The Library is run by Ms Noellen Newton and Ms Naomi Newton, whose acknowledged strengths are their responsiveness to readers’ interests and requests. In 2012 the Library will be refurbished, which may create periods of disruption.