Material of the SA Museum storage facility at Netley

South Australian Museum Archives Practicum – Blog Post 3

By Adrian Fenech

On one of the work placement days I was given a tour of the South Australian Museum storage facility at Netley by PhD student, Gary Toone. On the tour, Gary explained the cultural heritage values of objects the museum has in the Australian Ethnology collection. He talked to me about the collections of shields, boomerangs, string bags and mats and told me that their cultural heritage value arises through the connection of present-day Aboriginal people to the artistry, technology and memories they represent.

Museum exhibits are only a fraction of the material the institution looks after (Photograph from StudyAdelaide 2008).

The objects have cultural heritage value because they continue to be accessed and utilised today. Indeed, living Aboriginal artists like to visit the store to see their early works and to seek inspiration and ideas from the shapes, colours and designs on some of the older objects. Young Aboriginal people also have opportunities to visit the store where they can see and ‘connect’ with the thousands of objects.

As noted above, the string bag and mat collections hold cultural heritage value partly because of the materials and techniques used to manufacture them. Aboriginal women are now examining the string products to identify the plant materials and the various techniques that that were used to create them. Sometimes the people who made the actual objects are there to pass on this information to others. These techniques are then used to create new string products, continuing the use of these technologies and methods (Gary Toone pers comm. 2011).

Reference list

StudyAdelaide 2008 Arts & Culture. Retrieved 6 October 2011 from

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