Tim Sullivan (email@example.com) is deputy CEO and museums director at the Sovereign Hill Museums Association, Ballarat, Australia.
Museums and Indigenous People in Australia: A Review of Previous Possessions, New Obligations: Policies for Museums in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
2003 California Academy of Sciences
Curator: The Museum Journal
Volume 46, Issue 2, pages 208–227, April 2003
How to Cite
Sullivan, T., Kelly, L. and Gordon, P. (2003), Museums and Indigenous People in Australia: A Review of Previous Possessions, New Obligations: Policies for Museums in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Curator: The Museum Journal, 46: 208–227. doi: 10.1111/j.2151-6952.2003.tb00087.x
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
Previous Possessions, New Obligations was launched by Museums Australia Inc. in 1993, the International Year for the World's Indigenous People, as a policy framework to guide the development of relationships between museums in Australia and Indigenous Australians. The policy was based on consultation with Indigenous people to develop protocols, policies and procedures for more sensitive collection management and for including Indigenous people in research and public programs; and to address issues of governance. It expressed the values that would underpin new relationships between museums in Australia and Indigenous Australians.
An evaluation of the policy was conducted in 2000 in a collaboration between the Australian Museum Audience Research Centre, Sydney, and Museums Australia Inc., Canberra. The evaluation found that the policy had substantially met its goals, particularly in establishing the primary rights of Indigenous people to control their cultural material in museum collections. However, a range of substantially new issues emerged which require new policy responses and initiatives.