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Past exhibitions

About the awards
17 December 2014 - 28 February 2015
This exhibition paid tribute to the eight extraordinary Australians chosen as the 2015 Australian of the Year finalists.
Spirited: Australia's Horse Story
11 September 2014 - 9 March 2015
Explored how horses have helped to enrich our lives, built our society and shaped our environment.
Old Masters
6 December 2013 - 20 July 2014
Old Masters was a celebration of Australia’s greatest bark painters.
On Country: Connect, Work, Celebrate
22 November 2013 - 20 July 2014
An inspiring exhibition that showcased contemporary Indigenous land and sea management practices across Australia.
Glorious Days: Australia 1913
March 2013 - October 2013
Glorious Days: Australia 1913 featured beautiful artworks, costume, music and newsreel footage from Australia as it was in 1913.
Museum Workshop exhibition
October 2012 - January 2013
Museum Workshop examines the behind-the-scenes world of the conservators responsible for the physical care of objects in the Museum's collection.
July 2012 - October 2012
Outstanding sculptural works depicting a variety of animals, produced by well-known and emerging artists. With Object: Australian Centre of Craft and Design, and the Australian Museum.
Travelling the Silk Road exhibition
March 2012 - July 2012
This exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History, New York presented the sights, sounds and stories of the legendary Silk Road – the most celebrated trade route for more than a thousand years.
Inside: Life in Children's Homes and Institutions exhibition
From 9 August to 16 November 2014, Queensland Museum, Brisbane
Inside features the words, voices and objects of the Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and those who experienced institutional care as children.
Off the Walls exhibition
October 2011 - June 2012
Off the Walls: Art from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Agencies 1967–2005 traced the history of artworks given to or acquired by federal Indigenous agencies. It included a collection of some 2000 works in the National Museum of Australia's National Historical Collection.
A New Horizon
September 2011 - January 2012
A powerful and important exhibition of contemporary Chinese art from the National Art Museum of China.
Bipotaim exhibition
September 2011 - 27 April 2014
Bipotaim: Stories from the Torres Strait is an exhibition of striking photographs, stories and objects about the lives, culture and identity of Torres Strait Islanders.
Symbols of Australia exhibition
August 2009 - May 2012
Drawn from the collection of the National Museum of Australia, the Symbols exhibition explores some of the symbols Australians have chosen to represent themselves and their nation.
Not Just Ned: A true history of the Irish in Australia
March 2011 - July 2011
About the history and extraordinary influence of the Irish in Australia, from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, to the present. Includes personal reflections of Irish migrants, video and audio programs.
Yalangbara: Art of the Djang'kawu
December 2010 - September 2011
Captivating Aboriginal artworks by the Marika family from north-east Arnhem Land explored the journey of the Djang'kawu ancestors. Developed by the National Museum of Australia and the Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
Behind the Lines 2010
December 2010 - October 2011
Celebrated the wit and artistry of our established and well-loved political cartoonists as well as recognising the talents and stylistic variety of a new generation.
Exploration and Endeavour exhibition
September 2010 - February 2011
Brought together rare treasures associated with voyages of scientific discovery to the South Seas, on the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society. With the Royal Society.
Yiwarra Kuju exhibition
30 July 2010 - 14 July 2013
The story of the Canning Stock Route's impact on Aboriginal people, through the works of senior and emerging artists and the stories of traditional custodians. With FORM.
Papunya Painting: out of the desert exhibition
June 2010 - August 2010
Papunya Painting: Out of the Australian Desert, shown at the National Art Museum of China, highlighted the National Museum of Australia's extraordinary collection of Western Desert art.
tayenebe exhibition
March 2010 - July 2010
Tayenebe, a Tasmanian Aboriginal word meaning 'exchange', celebrated the revitalisation of Tasmanian Aboriginal weaving.
Water exhibition
December 2009 - May 2010
Explored the earth's most precious resource, with a global perspective on water. From the American Museum of Natural History.
Behind the Lines 2009 exhibition
December 2009 - 31 January 2010
This exhibition featured a selection of some of the best Australian political cartoons published in 2009.
From Little Things Big Things Grow exhibition
September 2009 - May 2012
Traced the story of Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists who fought for Indigenous civil rights in Australia from 1920 to 1970. Related to Collaboration for Indigenous Rights website. Includes videotape interviews.
A Fine Yarn exhibition
July 2009 - November 2009
An exploration of the contemporary fine wool industry in Australia, also recognising the importance of wool in the nation's social and economic history.
Vaka Moana exhibition
June 2009 - October 2009
Vaka Moana traced the dramatic story of one of the largest human migrations of all time across one third of the planet - the voyages of Pacific Islanders across the Pacific Ocean. An exhibition developed by Te Papa.
We came as workers exhibition
March 2009 - April 2009
This exhibition explored the challenges faced by early Turkish immigrants as they settled into life in Victoria, and charted their successes and contributions to our multicultural community.
Recoil exhibition
November 2008 - June 2009
Explored the way the coiled basketry technique diversified, establishing new fibre movements in a range of remote Aboriginal communities.
Behind the Lines 2008 exhibition
December 2008 - 1 February 2009
This exhibition featured a selection of the best Australian political cartoons sourced throughout the year.
Darwin exhibition
December 2008 - March 2009
Detailed the life and work of naturalist Charles Darwin, including his short but important visit to Australia in early 1836. From the American Museum of Natural History.
Utopia exhibition
August 2008 - October 2008
The exhibition tells the story of Emily Kame Kngwarreye as one of Australia's greatest contemporary artists. Includes audio programs, photo galleries and installation video.
A Different Time
11 July 2008 - 13 July 2013
Drawing on the Museum's rich collection of Herbert Basedow's photographic work, produced during expeditions into central and northern Australia in the early 1900s.
Australia's Greek cafe exhibition
July 2008 - November 2008
A photographic exhibition that explored the key role that Greek Australians played during the formative years of Australian culture.
Minangu Huey Bent painting the Ngurrara Canvas at Pirnini 1997.
April 2008 - June 2008
Developed by the South Australian Museum, this exhibition centred on one of the largest and most spectacular Aboriginal Western Desert paintings: the great Ngurrara Canvas.
Hidden in Plain View exhibition
March 2008 - June 2008
Botanical illustrations and specimens showing the incredible diversity of fungi, lichens, mosses and liverworts. From the National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Behind the Lines 2007 exhibition
December 2007 - February 2008
The cartoons in this exhibition represented the best of our latest set of acquisitions from artists around Australia including Alan Moir, Bill Leak, Cathy Wilcox, Geoff Pryor, John Spooner and Mark Knight.
Papunya Painting: out of the desert exhibition
November 2007 - February 2008
This exhibition highlighted the National Museum's extraordinary collection of Western Desert art. The online exhibition includes a gallery of the works, biographies of the artists and stories of land, history and culture. Resources include audio programs and activities for children.
Migration Memories exhibition
September 2007 - November 2007
Explored the migration stories of people from diverse backgrounds who now call the distinctively different regional centres of Lightning Ridge and Robinvale home.
Australia at Expo 67 exhibition
September 2007 - October 2007
In 1967 Canada's Montreal welcomed more than 50 million visitors to Expo 67 over a period of six months. Forty years on, explore the world of Australia at Expo 67 Montreal in this online exhibition.
Great railway journeys of Australia
April 2007 - 26 August 2007
This exhibition explored the development of Australia's rail network and featured some of the most famous railway journeys in the country, such as the old and new Ghan, the Queenslander and the Indian Pacific.
70% Urban
March 2007 - March 2008
Drew on the Museum's collection to explore Indigenous culture in the city. Check out the 'Who you callin' urban?' video online or just read the transcript.
Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest exhibition
March 2007 to June 2007
This exhibition traced the history of the Miss Australia quest from 1907, through to its final year in 2000. Resources include an image gallery of winners and an education kit.
Collector Cam King exhibition
January 2007 - February 2007
A selection of Brian and Barbara Lynch's old grocery wares and toys were displayed when they won the Collector Cam competition run by ABC Television's Collectors.
Behind the Lines 2006 exhibition
December 2006 - March 2007
The items in this exhibition represented the best of our 2006 acquisitions from cartoonists around Australia. Cartoons from major city newspapers were represented along with examples from regional publications.
Between the Flags exhibition
December 2006 - March 2007
This exhibition celebrated the centenary of surf lifesaving in Australia. Share online stories from surf lifesavers and explore 100 years of service protecting the nation's beaches.
Beaded Links
August 2006 - February 2007
Beaded Links showcased the creative uses of beads across Commonwealth nations over many centuries.
Dhari a Krar exhibition
July 2006 - July 2011
Dhari a Krar: Headdresses and Masks from the Torres Strait brought together a diverse collection of masks, headdresses and dance objects from the Torres Strait.
Life in the Pacific exhibition
July 2006 - September 2006
A documentary photographic exhibition that featured 80 works by students from Pacific Island communities. A small selection is available online.
Cook's Pacific Encounters exhibition
July 2006 - September 2006
This exhibition displayed rarely seen Pacific artefacts collected during the voyages of Captain James Cook from the collection of the University of Gottingen, Germany.
Our Land is Alive exhibition
June 2006 - July 2006
The Central Land Council in Alice Springs created this photographic exhibition featuring some of the highlights from the council's archival collection.
Exiles and Emigrants exhibition
April 2006 - June 2006
Traced epic journeys from the United Kingdom to Australia in the Victorian era. Limited material available online.
People of the Cedar
March 2006 - May 2006
People of the Cedar expressed the richness of artistic culture among the First Nation Peoples of Canada's Northwest Coast.
Alt tag: A summer of cricket
March 2006 - June 2006
A Summer of Cricket captured the spirit of cricket as it has been played and watched by generations of Australians. Test your knowledge of cricketing terms and try the online interactives.
Captivating and Curious exhibition
Dec 2005 - March 2006
Displayed the National Museum's rich and varied collection, with new acquisitions and old favourites from the National Historical Collection.
In Search of the Birdsville Track exhibition
June 2005 - October 2005
This exhibition featured works from the Museum's collection donated by Noelle Sandwith. Through Noelle's sketches and writings, the exhibition captured the unique environment, the characters and the lifestyles of this quintessentially Australian experience.
Behind the Lines 2004 exhibition
March 2005 - June 2005
This exhibition is a selection of the best works entered in the 2004 competition.
Extremes exhibition
December 2004 - August 2005
Exploring the history, culture and commonalities of some of the world's great southern deserts in southern Africa, South America and Australia.
Behind the Lines 2003 exhibition
May 2004 - June 2004
Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons brought together a selection of the best works entered in the National Museum of Australia's 2003 Political Cartooning Competition.
Royal Romance exhibition
February 2004 - October 2004
Royal Romance examined Australia's passionate response to Queen Elizabeth II's first visit in 1954, and whether the nation has fallen out of love since. See the detailed online exhibition.
Paipa exhibition
July 2002 - July 2006
This exhibition explored Torres Strait Islander migration and the continuing strong cultural connections between mainland communities and the Torres Strait. Limited information available online.
Horizons exhibition
March 2001 - October 2007
Horizons traced incredible stories of human relocation. It looked at how migration shaped the Australia we know today, and the role governments have played.
Nation exhibition
March 2001 - January 2010
From the humble Hills hoist to the legend of ANZAC, Nation took a new approach to Australian history through Australian symbols.
League of Legends exhibition
2008-2009 and 2012-2013
The exhibition celebrates and examines the history of rugby league in Australia.