Good News Story - Western Australia's Museum

At a time when there is plenty of talk about Perth needing ‘one big attraction’, it is worth remembering that later this year a pretty big attraction will open in the Perth Cultural Centre!

The result of years of planning, the new WA Museum will set new standards of customer care and visitor experiences.

Work on the Museum has continued, apace, despite the pandemic. A bonus has been the number of creative industries jobs that have been preserved as a result. At present, some 30 businesses are engaged working on everything from fit-out, to graphics, to multimedia, to model making.

The new WA Museum is not a surrogate for the proposed World Indigenous Cultural Centre but has been created by and with, an enormous number of Western Australians, including Aboriginal people from at least 60 different language groups. To date, some 53,000 people have participated in creating content for the Museum.

The Museum is deliberately and unashamedly multi-disciplinary in its approach as it tries to reflect the lives of real people in a real place. Gone are the galleries devoted to dinosaurs, birds and fossils: – fascinating as they are, they reflect the way in which museums see the world – and the way they classify it. For most people the world is not organised that way: it is a multi-faceted tapestry and so the eight main galleries reflect this.

On entry you will encounter Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn – literally, Our Heart, Our Country, Our Spirit in Nyoongar. This will be the gallery that focuses on WA’s first peoples and has been created exclusively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Whilst this might be the indigenous heart of the Museum, it is important to emphasise that Aboriginal voices will be present in every gallery of the Museum.

The Origins gallery, for instance, which considers the beginning of the Universe, the creation of the Earth, the development of the Western Australian landscape and some of the extraordinary new technologies will also feature an account of the Nyitting by Noel Nannup, a re-telling of the ubiquitous Seven Sisters story and a Yamatji repurposing of elements of the Murchison Widefield Array.

Changes considers the ways in which human influence has impacted on our landscape – including the creation of Boorlo (Perth) whilst Wild Life is a huge gallery that introduces WA’s incredible biodiversity, from the days of the dinosaurs that roamed the Broome foreshore, to the riches of coastal waters infused with the warm water of the Leeuwin Current, to the wonder of WA’s South West – long designated as a world biodiversity hot spot.

The Connections gallery, generously sponsored by Tianqi Lithium, investigates our connection to the rest of the world from the first diasporas, through waves of migration, conflict, travel, trade and tourism. Perth’s status as Australia’s Indian Ocean capital features prominently here.

In the heritage-listed buildings you will find Reflections – the history of WA told through the voices of West Australians and Innovations, featuring famous and less well-known examples of extraordinary innovation by Western Australians.

Finally, there is the Stan Perron WA Treasures Gallery. Generously sponsored by the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation it features treasures from the State Collection and sits under the dramatic skeleton of Otto – the blue whale rescued from near Busselton by then Museum taxidermist Otto Lipfert in 1898.

A magnificent 1,000 m2 temporary exhibition gallery will feature major exhibitions both home-grown and touring.

The Museum’s landscape encompassed by the four sides of the Museum is equally important. Under the soaring cantilevered galleries in the City Room – a 24/7 performance. Beyond this is a landscape informed by the Museum’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee and a Whadjuk Content Working group, based on the Nyoongar six seasons.

The dramatic, landmark building designed by the international consortium of Hassell + OMA, is set to be Perth’s most recognised architectural statement. As CNN described it: “ [it is] one of the 10 most anticipated buildings to change the world in 2020.”

Image credit:

New Western Australian Museum, opening November 2020.
Image supplied by WA Museum photo by Michael Haluwana, Aeroture

This article was submitted by WA Museum.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.