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Our exhibition Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters is a proud exploration of how communities work with museums, not how museums work with communities. It is also a meeting of ancient knowledge and new technology, with appeal to visitors young and old.

Many of the Central and Western desert senior custodians and artists who worked with us over the past seven years joined us for the exhibition opening in Canberra. We also welcomed younger guests, who belong to the generation that the elders hoped would connect with culture, via their engagement with new technology in the exhibition.

Songlines is the result of senior custodians from Martu country, Anangu Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (APY) and Ngaanyatjarra lands working with the National Museum and research partners, to digitise and share the Seven Sisters stories, for compelling preservation and heritage reasons.

Alongside stunning artwork and sculpture, this community-led exhibition includes a state-of-the-art dome, touch screen interactives, projections and an audio journey that give people different ways to connect with songlines. Visitors here for the opening also experienced the Emmy award-winning Collisions virtual reality experience.

The community collaboration continues with our artists-in-residence workshops and demonstrations. The first in the series — with the Tjanpi Desert Weavers — sold out and we are looking forward to welcoming artists from three other groups represented in the exhibition.

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