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NMA and British Museum

Yirandali fringed wool girdle. Lammermoor, Queensland. Late 19th century. Image: British Museum.

Megan Gorrey, Canberra’s National Museum of Australia announces major partnership with British Museum, 26 February 2015

An Indigenous wooden shield Captain James Cook scooped from the shores of Botany Bay when he first landed in 1770 will be among rare artefacts displayed in Canberra as part of a new partnership between the British Museum and National Museum of Australia.

The Encounters exhibition features more than 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts from the London museum’s collection and marks the start of a four-year collaboration between the two national institutions announced on Thursday.

The exhibition will open at the British Museum in April, with several paintings and objects loaned from the National Museum, before it travels to Canberra in November.

The partnership will also see two further exhibitions from the British Museum go on show in the capital, including the acclaimed A History of the World in 100 Objects in 2016.

It uses 100 of the museum’s artefacts to explore 2 million years of human history.

A third store of items, likely from the institution’s ancient Rome collection, will come to Canberra in 2018.

National Museum director Mathew Trinca said Encounters comprised “remarkable treasures”, many of which had not been on the continent since they were collected hundreds of years ago.

“This is an important exhibition for our nation. It includes objects from the very earliest contacts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in this country right to the present day.

“It’s also the culmination of an extraordinary process of consultation with 25 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia over several years.”

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See also Dispute over Indigenous Relics