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On Walkabout In: The National Museum of Australia

One of the must see locations in Canberra is definitely the National Museum of Australia:

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However, I don’t call a must see for its exterior which is one of the ugliest for a museum I have ever seen.  The museum is a must see for what it has inside:

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The museum is huge and covers every aspect of Australian history; everything from its prehistoric history, to when the Aborigines landed here 50,000 years ago, to when the first fleet of colonists arrive, all the way up to modern times today. You could easily spend a whole day here going through the museum because it is that huge.

The museum has the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal artifacts to include some excellent educational displays such as this map of the various Aboriginal tribes in Australia:

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As you can see there is an amazing amount of Aboriginal tribes in Australia with most of them speaking completely different languages and dialects. Something interesting I had a chance to see is that there was a certain time during the day when they open their entire archive of Aboriginal artifacts for the public to see. A guide will take you into the storage area for the Aboriginal artifacts and give quite an informative brief about the Aborigines and the artifacts. I highly recommend checking with the museum staff and finding out what time they do this tour. Very, very enlightening tour if you have any interest in Aboriginal culture.

In the center of the museum is this very large and odd park:

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Like I said before you need to enjoy this museum from the inside, not the outside. Here is a good summary of everything you can see inside of the museum from their website:

At the core of the Museum and its exhibitions is the National Historical Collection, nearly 200,000 objects representing Australia’s history and cultural heritage.

When the Museum was established in 1980, it inherited a disparate collection mainly featuring horse-drawn vehicles and a few cars. Since then, Museum curators have actively gathered objects for the collection. Some have been donated, some purchased, and some inherited from former collecting bodies such as the Australian Institute of Anatomy (the preserved wet specimens collection, including the heart of racehorse Phar Lap) and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Aboriginal art collection).

At different times, special emphasis has been given to acquiring particular objects. The Museum now has the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings, with more than 1,600 works by numerous artists from throughout Australia. There are also 95,000 Aboriginal stone artefacts from surface sites found all over Australia.

Other diverse features include journals, photographs and equipment of Australian women scientists; convict clothing, leg irons and tickets of leave; a large technology collection, including historical vehicles; protective clothing and equipment used in the 1994 Sydney bushfires; and a growing assortment of Australian political cartoons. There are also thousands of objects relating to early settlement and later migration, including the Museum’s largest object, the boat Hong Hai, in which 38 Vietnamese ‘boat people’ arrived on Australia’s northern shores in 1978.

Here is something I could really appreciate inside the museum, classic cars:

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There are plenty of cars on display inside and not all of them are beautiful classics:

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Anyway like I said before this museum is a must see for anyone with any interest in the history of Australia and if you are visiting Canberra I would assume you would have some kind of interest in Australian history to begin with.

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