Showcasing the pre-eminent art collection in Western Australia

Exclusive British Museum collection in Perth

21 Oct 2011
Queen from the Lewis Chessmen

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day today unveiled an exclusive collection of rare and important objects from the British Museum which will be exhibited in Perth.

Mr Day said the objects featured in the exhibition Extraordinary Stories from the British Museum which opens on October 25 as part of the Commonwealth Festival being held alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

“The exclusive exhibition is the first in a five-year partnership between the British Museum and the WA Museum and includes more than 40 stories and objects from Commonwealth nations that are rarely lent to other museums,” he said.

“The objects are remarkable in their own right but it is the stories behind them, and the way in which they have changed and shaped our world, that makes the exhibition even more extraordinary.”

Highlights of the exhibition include the first ever human-made tools; a bronze head that changed the way Europeans thought about African culture; a chair made from decommissioned guns from the Mozambique civil war; and a tiki pendant that has been in the Royal Family for 200 years and thought to have been presented by Captain Cook to King George III.  

The Minister said that - in addition to the British Museum’s objects - the WA Museum has included eight objects that tell the unique stories of Western Australia.

“This exhibition is an opportunity for West Australians and our visitors to learn more about the Commonwealth nations and our cultures and the defining moments in our history,” Mr Day said. 

The Commonwealth Festival Perth will be held from October 23-30 with the People’s Space open from October 26-29 and is supported by the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest.        

Extraordinary Stories from the British Museum is on display at the WA Museum - Perth from October 25 to February 5:

Image credit: Queen from the Lewis Chessmen. Probably made in Norway, about AD 1150–1200 © The Trustees of the British Museum