Cultures & Histories collections

What’s in our collection

Ceramics made by Christopher Harris of Yarrabah Ceramics made by Christopher Harris of Yarrabah Garrett Steam Traction Engine Garrett Steam Traction Engine Jubaltone Autoharp from the Charles & Kati Marson Collection Jubaltone Autoharp from the Charles & Kati Marson Collection Carvings on shelf in Cultures and Histories store Carvings on shelf in Cultures and Histories store Neck ornament form Papua New GuineaNeck ornament form Papua New Guinea Caring for the collection Caring for the collection Microscopes in Cultures and Histories storeMicroscopes in Cultures and Histories store The State Collection is comprised of objects that are significant to the people of Queensland. The collection includes a rich diversity of cultural objects including significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections, material from the Pacific Islands and important social history, transport and technology collections.  These objects are cared for on behalf of Queenslanders so that they can be enjoyed by future generations.

Queensland Museum supports the use of these materials in displays and research within the organisation and through loans to other institutions.

Ethnographic collections

Objects from Queensland Aboriginal cultures and Torres Strait Islander cultures comprise the most important part of our ethnographic collections. We also hold a significant Pacific Island Collection that connects Queensland to the Pacific. Cultural objects from other parts of the world are represented in the Collection, but are no longer actively collected. Objects include weapons, utensils, tools, personal adornments, watercraft, musical instruments and archaeological remains.

Culturally sensitive collections

Sensitive cultural materials that rightfully belong to Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are included in the Collection.  Most significant of all are the human remains of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and a large number of secret and/or sacred objects. Collected with little or no regard for traditional customs, these objects are now subject of a Repatriation program.

Historical collections

Colonial and state histories of Queensland are well represented in the Collection. The materials trace the earliest settler histories including Indigenous conflict and adaptation, through to recent and current political and social history. Specialist collections include railway, maritime, road, and aviation transport; science and technology in society; fashion and textiles; everyday domestic paraphernalia ; ceramics; musical instruments and audiovisual technology.

Caring for the collection

Collection managers ensure the safe and professional care, storage and movement of objects in the collection. They carefully store materials in purpose made boxes and shelving and track the movement of objects within and outside the Museum.  Collection managers assist in the installation of objects in exhibitions and displays, oversee the acquisition of new objects, and manage loans of objects to and from other museums and galleries. All these functions are managed through a collection management database.

Growing the collection

Donate to the Collection
We continue to expand the collection to represent new and emerging stories about Queensland. Our collection policy ensures that new acquisitions tell unique Queensland stories. It helps us to collect objects related to stories and themes that are poorly known or under-represented in the existing collection. Some of the current priorities include:

  • Queensland’s colourful political history;
  • contemporary Aboriginal stories of resistance, separation and celebration; and
  • trends in technological innovation and popular culture.