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Museum Victoria a Winner

Possum skin cloak displayed in First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum.  Source: Museum Victoria

First Peoples wins prestigious national and international awards

Museum Victoria has been recognised both nationally and globally in recent days for the development of cutting-edge, creative exhibitions that engage audiences and tell Victoria’s stories.

The exhibition First Peoples was announced Overall Winner at the 26th annual American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Excellence in Exhibitions Competition. This international distinction follows awards for Best Exhibition and Best Project nationwide at the Museums and Galleries National Award announced on 17 May.

Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria congratulated Museum Victoria on its wins for innovative exhibition design and creativity for First Peoples at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.

“It is wonderful that Museum Victoria took the top Excellence award for First Peoples – Museum Victoria’s long-term exhibition focusing on Aboriginal Victoria,” said Ms Victoria. “This award recognises the global leadership of Museum Victoria in developing state-of-the-art exhibitions that appeal to a wide range of audiences.”

“Museum Victoria is constantly finding new and interesting ways for visitors of all ages to engage with our collections and exhibitions,” said Dr Patrick Greene, CEO, Museum Victoria. “We are truly delighted with this national and international recognition for First Peoples – THE destination for everyone to learn about Aboriginal Victoria.”

The AAM Annual Excellence in Exhibitions Competition is highly coveted and receives entries from major museums and art galleries from all over the world. Museum Victoria received the Special Distinction Honour for Innovative Integration of Design and Content for First Peoples – one of four Special Distinctions from which the Overall Winner is judged.

Judges recognised First Peoples for “beautiful design built around content. [Museum Victoria] clearly listened to their audience which was incorporated into the content; thoughtfulness of the tiniest design decisions.”

First Peoples is the largest exhibition ever to focus on the story of Aboriginal Victoria celebrating 2,000 generations of the world’s oldest continuing culture. The exhibition celebrates the diversity, continuity, strength and vitality of Koorie people, and presents a new and truly shared approach to the telling of history,” said Ms Caroline Martin, Manager of Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.

“We celebrate these wonderful awards with the Victorian Aboriginal community, who have so generously shared their deep and compelling stories, personal objects, culture and knowledge. Without the partnership of the community, First Peoples simply could not have happened.”

First Peoples tells the story of Victoria’s more than 40 Aboriginal language groups – uncovering hidden histories, challenging preconceptions and inviting visitors to connect through people, place and story.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • a visually beautiful, immersive light and sound experience that tells the Creation story of Bunjil (the wedge-tailed eagle)
  • a virtual human guide to the exhibition known as ‘the Messenger’
  • more than 600 historic and contemporary artefacts from across Victoria and Australia, from the Museum Victoria Collection, one of the world’s premier collections of Aboriginal cultural material

Museum Victoria has also received two MUSE Awards from AAM for the new long-term exhibition Think Ahead at Scienceworks:

  • the Bronze MUSE for Games and Interactives for the Build a Future City experience
  • an Honourable Mention in the Interpretive Interactive Installations category for the Super Future You experience.

For further media information, interviews or images, please contact:
Karen Meehan on 03 8341 7153 or 0478 305 884, or [email protected].