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Encounters featured rare, early Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum. They were displayed with new objects from the Indigenous communities represented in the exhibition.

The legacy of Encounters The landing of Lieutenant James Cook at what we now call Botany Bay in 1770 changed forever the course of human lives on the Australian continent.
Designing Encounters The design of the Encounters exhibition was developed around a series of key themes – the historical objects from the British Museum, the encounters with and connections to place/country, and the contemporary communities’ dialogue with the objects.
Object highlight: Dangal charm To me, the dangal, or dugong charm, is the most beautiful object in Encounters. In the year leading up to the exhibition, I often looked it up on the British Museum’s online catalogue and even printed off one of the photographs and placed it over my desk.
Encounters: A case study The Museum holds a diverse range of historical and contemporary Indigenous material, including historical records, artworks, artefacts, images, film, and sound recordings that represent a wide range of Indigenous cultures, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and those of other Pacific nations.
Stories behind the objects – from the Torres Strait to London In late 1922, the esteemed Australian artist Tom Roberts and his wife Lillie Roberts were packing up their north London home to return to Australia after a 20-year sojourn in England.
Investigating Encounters I was invited to take part in the ‘Investigating Encounters’ panel discussion at the National Museum of Australia ahead of the public launch of its Encounters exhibition.
Erub community visit Erub (or Darnley Island), in the Torres Strait is the centre of a flourishing artistic style using ‘ghost’ nets (discarded fishing nets).
Stories of opportunity and connection I was lucky enough to be selected for a professional development opportunity at the British Museum (BM) and was flown to London to work there for three weeks in March 2015 while the Enduring Civilisation exhibition was on show.
Reconnection The focus of the Encounters exhibition was the British Museum objects and the Indigenous communities’ continuing relationships with those objects.
Have you articulated? Right from the start of the Encounters project, we recognised the need for a platform within the exhibition for visitors to share their responses to the potent objects and complex stories on display.
Sharing stories The stories of people involved in Encounters, past and present, are at the core of the project.
A Big Idea There’s no doubt it’s been an amazing week at the National Museum of Australia. The media preview for Encounters on 26 November was the prelim to this extraordinary exhibition opening to the public the following day.
Encounters and Unsettled open Encounters and Unsettled are officially open! We kicked off the exhibitions with a behind-the-scenes media launch. Here are some photos from the event.
Canberra to London: a personal experience Tynan Waring, Indigenous Visitor Services Host at the National Museum of Australia, spent three weeks behind the scenes at the British Museum while the Encounters sister exhibition, Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation was on show.
Creating Encounters The historical objects we feature in Encounters are tangible links to diverse interactions between Indigenous people and colonial settlers.
Royal visit This week’s visit by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales was an important step towards the launch of the Encounters exhibition and brought news of scholarships giving young Indigenous people an extraordinary opportunity to work in Canberra and the United Kingdom.
Making connections We are just weeks away from opening Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum – one of the most important things we have ever done at the National Museum of Australia.
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