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Collecting the West seminar

Collecting the West seminar

Professor Andrea Witcomb will present Regimes of value in world cultures collecting in the Western Australian Museum

One of the ways in which the Western Australian Museum built its collection was through a practice of exchange within a global network of collecting institutions. Over a period of time, between 1895 when the Museum opened and the late 1920s, the Museum effectively became an entrepôt, as objects moved in and out of its collection storage. In documenting these exchanges, this paper will analyse the nature of the material that went out and came in, how the material was collected and by whom as well as where the Western Australian material went, using a relational database developed for the Collecting the West project. In analysing this movement, the paper will provide an interpretation of the values – economic and cultural – that underlined the choice of objects at either end, and the ways in which the movement of collections both identified Western Australia’s uniqueness to the rest of the world and connected Western Australia to the world.

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