Leading Museums, Museum Leaders


Bird collection trays at the Australian Museum

Collections are our cultural memory and creative future

CAMD museum collections include well over 56 million objects which range from early animal specimens through to the latest tablet computer.

These collections encapsulate a nation’s past knowledge, its changing attitudes, advancing technologies and its interactions with the world.

Collections encompass and protect our ‘cultural memory’, which can be understood as the wisdom and understandings of past cultures transmitted from one generation to the next.

The objects within collections can also provide us with reference points from the past and springboards for new ideas and new forms of cultural expression and innovation.

National Treasures/National Collections

Museums hold their collections in trust for the nation.  These collections are highly valuable and contain many irreplaceable specimens and objects.

The larger part of Australia and New Zealand’s national cultural and natural science collections, are in State/Territory or regional museums, many of which were established in the 19th or earlier 20th centuries.  More recently, exemplary national museums have also been established.  Together these organisations represent the distributed national collections of each country.

Collections are dynamic

Museum collections and the uses to which they are put are dynamic by nature.

The collections of major museums are constantly ‘mined’ by museum staff and others for interactions which catalyze creativity and expression across a wide range of cultural and scientific fields.

For examples of the many amazing ways CAMD museums and their users put collections to use see Case Studies.

In true dynamic form, collections also continue to grow as they absorb new material, from significant contemporary indigenous art to cutting edge forms of digital technology.  Collections continue to grow and reflect the communities they serve.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
July 4th, 20112:15 pmThis page was first published on at and last updated July 15th, 2015 at 10:09 am
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