The Aboriginal heritage held at MAGNT is imbued with living knowledge,
much of which remains undocumented.
MAGNT is proud to care for significant collections of Aboriginal art and material culture from across the Northern Territory’s many diverse Aboriginal communities.
The true experts on the materials held in our collections are the community Elders. We work closely with these experts to document and interpret the Aboriginal heritage collections.
The collections have the potential to be greatly enriched with a deeper understanding of the vast richness of Aboriginal culture through ongoing meaningful engagement but time is running out.
The Aboriginal Heritage Team works directly with custodians to culturally map the collection and archival material to help preserve and protect cultural knowledge for future generations.
This work is essential to determine provenance of secret sacred objects to facilitate their repatriation, to reconnect communities with their cultural heritage, and to better understand the significance, meaning, and the contemporary relevance of the collection.
"We acknowledge that within the Indigenous collections our Elders and the cultural authorities are the real experts. There is big responsibility with the work that we're doing. There are thousands of ancient treasures that lie within the walls of museums all over the world."
– Shaun Angeles Penangke, Cultural Repatriation Manager
Left: Ljeraratjina, TGH Strehlow and Worita, 1935
Above: Mickey Gurra, 1933
A holistic approach
to cultural mapping
MAGNT's approach to cultural mapping is a layered process that involves cross referencing provenance research, community consultation, archival material and cultural knowledge.
Each collection item is put into context by relating its connection to place and traditional significance.
This work is made possible through the collaboration of Elders and MAGNT's Aboriginal Heritage Team interpreting and documenting the collection enabling more holistic repatriation outcomes.
This work empowers Aboriginal people to be part of the ongoing enrichment and preservation of their heritage including the passing on of traditional knowledge from generation to generation.
How you can help
Elders and senior cultural authorities are the keepers of ceremonies, traditions, songs and languages. It is urgent that we record this now for future generations.
A gift to MAGNT will assist the Aboriginal Heritage Team to undertake important work that enriches our Aboriginal Heritage collections making a difference now and into the future. You can help by sponsoring a field trip, digitisation equipment, or an Aboriginal trainee researcher.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.
Discover some of the
Aboriginal Heritage collections held at MAGNT
The Strehlow Collection held at MAGNT’s Museum of Central Australia in Alice Springs manages one of the most important ethnographic collections of film, sound, archival records and objects relating to Indigenous ceremonial life found anywhere in the world.
MAGNT works with Traditional Owners to record traditional language, facilitate field work and provide community access to MAGNT’s collections. Culturally appropriate consultation and collection management methods are implemented by MAGNT. These Traditional Owner-led processes are considered a successful model both locally and nationally for their positive outcomes in meaningful relationships that have reconnected material to custodians.
Chaloupka Rock Art Archive
The unique Chaloupka Archive is the world’s largest archive of Aboriginal rock art. The archive documents the ancient stone country of Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Arnhem Land. These areas are a tangible record of humankind’s longest continuing artistic tradition. MAGNT played an active role in the development of this archive and is privileged to be the custodian of this material.
The Collection consists of the ground-breaking research of George Chaloupka who, together with a core group of Aboriginal elders, spent more than 30 years documenting the traditions associated with rock art and its relationship to people, place and culture.
Ways to give
Make a donation by direct deposit to:
Board of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Gift Fund
BSB 085 933
Acc. 773 196 367
Contact MAGNT for a confidential discussion about your support.
Acting Development and Communications Manager
P: +61 8 8999 8207
Make a donation by cheque, payable to:
The Board of MAGNT Gift Fund
Development, GPO Box 4646, Darwin, NT, 0810