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Our stories

On a bright red background, the words 'Object stories' and a child's rollerskate held close to the camera by a woman

Basket from north Queensland

Nywaigi people from North Queensland discovered a traditional lawyer cane basket in our collection, and then visited to see it. Curator Lee Burgess, who grew up in the same area, tells the story.

The basket is in the process of being accessioned.


Wooden container

Jilda Andrews, the Museum's access and outreach programs coordinator, found a wooden container in the collection that reconnects the women in her family across time and a shifting cultural landscape.

The container is on display in our Open Collections area.


Arch window from Play School

The arch window is one of three that would transport Play School viewers from the program's studio into the outside world. Sophie Jensen, curator, describes the place of Play School in the imaginations of generations of Australian children.

The window is part of our Play School collection.


Convict punishment shoe

For curator Michelle Hetherington, a shoe designed to harm its wearer invokes the cruelty of Australia's history as Britain's dumping ground.

The convict punishment shoe is on display in our Landmarks gallery. Read the collection record.

Syringe used in myxomatosis trials

This syringe is a weapon, used in the war against rabbits. Kirsten Wehner, curator, explains her fascination with this disturbing object, which points to a big story in Australian history.

The syringe is on display in our Old New Land gallery – see the collection record.


Joan Richmond's number plate

To reach the starting line of the 1932 Monte Carlo Rally, Joan Richmond drove across Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Jo Bach, curator, tells the story of her amazing adventure.

The number plate is on display in our Journeys gallery – find out more about the Joan Richmond collection.


Andrejs' suitcase

This suitcase is a powerful reminder of a Latvian family's displacement, separation and reunion. Jeni White, educator, unpacks the story.

The suitcase is part of our handling collection and is used in our Education programs Meet the people and Australia's migration stories.


Dan tre – Vietnamese bamboo musical instrument

As curator Jennifer Wilson explains, Vietnamese music teacher Minh Tran Nguyen handcrafted this 23-stringed dan tre in 1982 in a refugee camp. For the next decade it connected Minh with the country and family he left behind, and when he was reunited with his family in 1990 he donated the instrument to the National Museum.

Learn more about the dan tre, or visit to see it in our Journeys gallery.


Reconciliation jacket

Lorna Schmider-Woodcock, executive support officer, describes the personal and historical value of a bright yellow jacket worn by her godmother, Jackie Huggins, in her activist work for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Learn about all the items in the Jackie Huggins collection.


Bealiba gold nugget

Stephen Munro, curator, tells the amazing story of this 400-million-year-old object's discovery – a full century after the Victorian gold rush.

Learn more about the gold nugget, or visit to see it in our Landmarks gallery.