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The Stan Perron Treasures Gallery

posted on 2023-08-24, 05:03 authored by Andrea WitcombAndrea Witcomb
The Stan Perron Treasures Gallery



Hackett Hall, Western Australian Museum - Boola Bardip

Start date





This exhibition, in the Hackett Hall of the Western Australian Museum is part of a suite of new permanent exhibitions in the redeveloped Western Australian Museum known as Boola Bardip. As such it does not have an end date. The Collecting the West team was responsible for a long showcase that anchored the entire exhibition in this gallery. Other smaller showcases extended the treasures on display but used the same approach to interpretation. The team included the two co-leaders of the ARC project, Alistair Paterson and Andrea Witcomb, the Research Associate Baige Zylstra and one of the Partner Investigators from the Museum, Corioli Souter. The exhibition was embedded within the redelopment of the Museum as a whole and so had designers, installers and project managers managing the larger project. Here we have recognsied the curatorial team responsible for object selection, label text and images for both the physical display and the digital interactives that accompany it.

Research statement

Background This permanent exhibition in the new Western Australian Museum, Boola Bardip in the Hackett Hall Gallery was part of an ARC Linkage project that sought to explore what work is done by collections through an inquiry based on collecting practices in a single place - Western Australia. Alongside showcasing some of the earliest objects in the WA Museum's collection, the exhibition aimed to explain how early collectors, collecting institutions and collecting practices in WA were integral to the process of colonisation. The exhibition sought to do this within a decolonial approach (Mignolo 2009), using the museum's archive to critique historical practices. Contribution We worked with Museum staff to co-curate a large section of this exhibition in ways that enabled the institutional aim of showcasing 'treasures' while also revealing the ways in which early collecting practices were embedded within western epistemologies and colonisation processes. Under the themes of collectors, collecting institutions & collecting, the heart of the exhibition challenged the idea of ‘treasure’. We did this by revealing the frames within which objects are conventionally understood, exposing disciplinary lenses, contextualising collecting histories into wider processes and establishing relations between objects across disciplinary categories. Significance This exhibition was funded as part of an ARC Linkage project ((LP160100078)) with the Western Australian Museum, The State Library of Western Australia and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, all of whom had objects in this exhibition as well as the British Museum. The exhibition's significance is thus framed by the peer review that accompanies the award of a successful ARC Linkage, the collaboration of major State collecting institutions and its location in a permanent gallery of the new WA Museum. Elements of the research that underpins the exhibition are published in Paterson, A. Witcomb, A & Shellam, T. (2020), and Paterson, A. & Witcomb, A. (2021).

Publication classification

JC2 Curated Exhibition or Event – Exhibition/Event


NTRO Major


Paterson A, Souter C, Zylstra B


Stan Perron Treasures Gallery


Western Australia Museum

Place of publication

Perth, W.A.