The jewels of the Pacific have made a home in the newly created Cultural Collections Centre at the Australian Museum (AM) in Rydalmere, NSW.

The Centre welcomed the nation’s largest collection of cultural objects, artworks and archaeological material from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

Of the 60,000 items in the Pacific collection, 40,000 now reside at the Centre.

The Cultural Collections Centre is a new, specially equipped facility providing better access and conservation for the objects as well as community meeting rooms for research, cultural workshops and Pacific dignitary visits.

The opening ceremony held on Tuesday July 30 saw the attendance of over 60 members of the New South Wales Pacific community.

The event included a Welcome to Country by Darug Elder Erin Wilkins, a Papua New Guinea Welcome by AM Manager of Pacific and International Collection Dr Michael Mel, a Maori Welcome by Logan Metcalfe and a Pacific cultural performance by Matavai Cultural Arts.

AM Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said it is a priority for AM to increase community involvement and interaction with the collection.

“Having it housed in this new facility in Western Sydney, with space for community to access and interact with objects in rooms specifically created for welcome and discussion, is an important advantage of the new Centre,” Ms McKay said.

The relocation of the collection was overseen by Pacific International Collections Managers, Dr Michael Mel and Dr Jenny Newell who ensured a respectful and careful move that aligned with cultural protocols.

Dr Mel also worked to build a Pacific Cultural Collection Advisory Panel which hosts five representatives from the NSW Pacific Community over three years.

“We look forward to more collaboration and partnership with Pacific researchers, artists, and community leaders to develop the knowledge and information relating to the Pacific Collection so these will become accessible to all,” Dr Mel said.

“As we continue to learn from community and Elders, the holders of knowledge and wisdom from the Pacific, I look forward to working with them to ensure plans for the collection have community access and engagement as a key focus.”

The rest of the Pacific Collection resides at Castle Hill and the AM.

For more information about the Pacific Collection, visit: https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/cultures/pacific-collection/