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Front-end evaluation: Pacific Consultations

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: At The Museum, Date: 06 Aug 2010

As part of the front-end planning for a Pacific Cultures exhibition, four separate consultations with Pacific Island communities were conducted in June 2009 to inform the development of the concept brief. These were comprised of two workshops with secondary school students; one with primary school students and their parents; and a fourth with adults. Here's some of what they said.

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 © Australian Museum

Commenting on a headdress from PNG:

I like how it shows that Pacific cultures are very decorative in the things they do; it also highlights the effort required and the different materials used to create it; that effort is still used today to make costumes etc

Commenting on a large fish trap from PNG:

They are traditional food gathering items – they represent how our traditional culture was labour intensive and hard work.

When asked about how their community could contribute to the exhibition:

I want to have the feeling that I want to spend the whole day at the Museum; connecting to identity and land.

There was a strong support from participants for the Musuem to share objects:

You have beautiful Pacific Island art and it should be on display for everyone to see.

In response to how they felt about the consultation:

Kia ora, thank you for striving to ensure our cultural toanga and needs are maintained. I commend you for your efforts.

Please continue to consult Pacific communities about your exhibition. We appreciate your including us in your planning and we will also ensure that our input is relevant and applicable.

In summary:

This exhibition in my view can provide that bridge that fills the void for our young people and restores some purpose, direction and value as individuals contributing to society.

You should make it fun and educational at the same time. Make it colourful, musical, fun and enjoyable.

The Museum staff found the whole process really inspiring and a great learning opportunity!