Museum seen as ‘living institution’ of history

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AUSTRALIAN Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has described the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby as a living institution of Melanesian cultural history.
She reiterated the sentiment made by Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare when the facility opened 41 years ago.
Payne said it is a world-class facility which “reflects the breath of cultures of PNG, a culture of identity and local history”.
She told Sir Michael and guests during the opening on Friday that “you must feel very, very proud of this institution. It is indeed one of the finest collections of indigenous Melanesian art and culture in the world,” she said.
“Forty-one years ago, Sir Michael said that this is a living institution. Sir Michael was absolutely right. It had a vital role in education, preservation and in that legacy and interaction of contemporary cultures.”
She described the institution as a breathtaking centre for the exhibition of a living history including the voices of the war made possible with modern technology.
“(It) is a breathtaking monument to Papua New Guinea’s rich cultural heritage, and importantly, it improves considerably the public’s access to this stunning collection of artefacts,” she said.
“Modern technology expands its reach, the oral history website, interactive audio visual voices from the war exhibition. And I want to put the High Commissioner on notice. The next time I’m back, I needed enough time in the programme to have enough time to go through the oral history exhibition and the voices from the war. One of the reasons is that my father served in PNG.”
The collections have been made accessible for the first time using new technology.
The Voices from the War exhibition was developed in collaboration with NMAG, local universities, and Australia’s Deakin University, and allows visitors to hear Papua New Guinean stories from the Second World War.