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Creation of the First Peoples exhibition Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre

First Peoples exhibition 10th Anniversary Celebration

First Peoples

The development of the First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre has been a rich collaboration between Museums Victoria and a wide range of First People community members across Victoria and across Australia. The aim of this collaboration was not just to produce an exhibition for the public, but to improve access to collections for the First Peoples community, extend knowledge, research and identification of collections, and facilitate skills exchange.

Opened in September 2013, it represents the birth of a new era where First People’s community and museum staff are working together to interpret the collections and reveal unique stories and knowledge.

Yulendj Group of Elders

The creation of the First Peoples Yulendj Group of Elders and community representatives, workshops, community consultation, collaboration and guidance were a key factors in the creation of First Peoples. Yulendj is a word from the Kulin language family meaning 'knowledge' and this group have brought their knowledge, stories, culture, objects, and images to help the museum bring together this exhibition.

Yulendj consisted of a group of 16 respected community members and Elders from across Victoria. They have generously shared their knowledge and experience to shape this exhibition into one that represents the diversity, history, and pride of First Peoples. Yulendj is more than an advisory group – members collaborated with curatorial staff so that the First Peoples exhibition accords with both First People’s law and knowledge' systems and western knowledge systems.

The Yulendj Group shared knowledge and advice across the project team from curatorial and design to conservation and public programs. The collaborative model is providing many long-term benefits for all including: improved community access to collections; improved research and identification of collections; knowledge and skills exchange between staff and community; and, the exciting exhibition

The Exhibition

The First Peoples exhibition consists of four main areas.

The welcome area of the exhibition, Wominjeka, invites you to the many Countries of First Peoples Victoria. Here you are introduced to the diverse languages of First Peoples of people, languages that you will see and hear throughout First Peoples.

In Generations you can listen to people from across Victoria share stories of connection, family, culture and resilience, and explore a vibrant and poignant collection of historical and contemporary photographs. Generations is a dynamic and interactive celebration of contemporary First Peoples identity that features stories that have been handed from generation to generation–stories from yesterday and today, and stories for the future.

The diverse cultures of First Peoples of Australia are laid out in the spectacular array of Many Nations. Digital labels connect each of the nearly 500 artefacts with the people that made them and used them. Features include a hands-on activity table with fun and educational experiences for kids, and a case of children's objects brought to life through animations.

Our Story chronicles the histories and cultures of First Peoples of Victoria, from Creation to the present day, with stories of ceremony, customs, law, and resilience, before and after the arrival of Europeans. This section celebrates the flourishing of First Peoples and cultures in modern times and pays tribute to those who seek to learn and respect law.


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