National Museum of Australia
The National Museum of Australia was formally established by the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. The National Museum preserves and interprets Australia's social history, exploring the key issues, people and events that have shaped the nation.

It did not have a permanent home until 11 March 2001, when it was officially opened in the national capital Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...


The Museum profiles 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage, settlement since 1788 and key events including Federation
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

 and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The Museum holds the world's largest collection of Aboriginal
Australian Aborigines
Australian Aborigines , also called Aboriginal Australians, from the latin ab originem , are people who are indigenous to most of the Australian continentthat is, to mainland Australia and the island of Tasmania...

 bark paintings and stone tools, the heart of champion racehorse Phar Lap
Phar Lap
Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia. Phar Lap dominated Australian racing during a distinguished career, winning a Melbourne...

 and the Holden
GM Holden Ltd is an automaker that operates in Australia, based in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The company was founded in 1856 as a saddlery manufacturer. In 1908 it moved into the automotive field, before becoming a subsidiary of the U.S.-based General Motors in 1931...

 prototype No. 1 car.

The Museum also develops and travels exhibitions on subjects ranging from bushrangers to surf lifesaving. The National Museum of Australia Press publishes a wide range of books, catalogues and journals. The Museum's Centre for Historical Research takes a cross-disciplinary approach to history, ensuring the museum is a lively forum for ideas and debate about Australia's past, present and future.

The Museum's innovative use of new technologies has been central to its growing international reputation in outreach programming, particularly with regional communities. From 2003 to 2008, the Museum hosted Talkback Classroom
Talkback Classroom
Talkback Classroom is best known as a forum for young people to interview politicians and other leading decision makers in forums recorded for broadcast and is also known as a Voice for the Voteless on the basis of its mission to provide an opportunity for young people to take part in civic dialogue...

, a student political forum.

In 2005 and 2006 the National Museum was named Australia's best major tourist attraction.

The Museum is located on Acton Peninsula in the suburb of Acton
Acton, Australian Capital Territory
Acton is a suburb of Canberra, Australia. Acton covers an area west of the CBD, bordered by Black Mountain to the west and Lake Burley Griffin in the south...

, next to the Australian National University
Australian National University
The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

. The peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin
Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra, the capital of Australia. It was completed in 1963 after the Molonglo River—which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle—was dammed...

 was previously the home of the Royal Canberra Hospital, which was demolished in tragic circumstances
Royal Canberra Hospital implosion
The Royal Canberra Hospital implosion was a failed building implosion with lethal consequences. The implosion occurred on 13 July 1997, when the city's superseded hospital buildings at Acton Peninsula on Lake Burley Griffin were demolished to make way for the National Museum of...

 on 13 July 1997.


As designed by architect Howard Raggatt
Howard Raggatt
Howard Raggatt is an Australian architect, member of the firm Ashton Raggatt McDougall, and best known for the design of the National Museum of Australia, opened in 2001.-References:...

 (design architect and design director for the project), the museum building is based on a theme of knotted ropes, symbolically bringing together the stories of Australians. The architects stated "We liked to think that the story of Australia was not one, but many tangled together. Not an authorized version but a puzzling confluence; not merely the resolution of difference but its wholehearted embrace." The building is meant to be the centre of a knot, with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building. The most obvious of these extensions forms a large loop before becoming a walkway which extends past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl, as if a huge ribbon has haphazardly unrolled itself along the ground. Known as the "Uluru
Uluru , also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park....

 Axis" because it aligns with the central Australian natural landmark, the ribbon symbolically integrates the site with the Canberra city plan by Walter Burley Griffin
Walter Burley Griffin
Walter Burley Griffin was an American architect and landscape architect, who is best known for his role in designing Canberra, Australia's capital city...

 and the spiritual heart of indigenous Australia.

The shape of the main entrance hall continues this theme: it is as though the otherwise rectangular building has been built encasing a complex knot which does not quite fit inside the building, and then the knot taken away. The entirely non-symmetrical complex is designed to not look like a museum, with startling colours and angles, unusual spaces and unpredictable projections and textures.

Though hard to precisely categorise, the building can be seen as an example of Charles Jenck's 'new paradigm'. Some characteristics of Deconstructivism
Deconstructivism is a development of postmodern architecture that began in the late 1980s. It is characterized by ideas of fragmentation, an interest in manipulating ideas of a structure's surface or skin, non-rectilinear shapes which serve to distort and dislocate some of the elements of...

 can also be identified.

The organising concept of the scheme using the idea of a 'tangled vision' incorporates a variety of references including:
  • Bea Maddock
    Bea Maddock
    -Biography:Born in Hobart, Tasmania, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman.Bea Maddock studied art education at the University of Tasmania, Hobart and taught secondary school in Hobart before travelling abroad to study at the Slade School of Art, London. Her teachers included William Coldstream,...

    's 'Philosophy Tape'
  • Jackson Pollock
    Jackson Pollock
    Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

    's 'Blue Poles
    Blue Poles
    Blue Poles is an abstract painting from 1952 by the American artist Jackson Pollock, more properly known as Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952, and is considered to be Pollock's most important painting...

  • boolean
    Boolean logic
    Boolean algebra is a logical calculus of truth values, developed by George Boole in the 1840s. It resembles the algebra of real numbers, but with the numeric operations of multiplication xy, addition x + y, and negation −x replaced by the respective logical operations of...

     string, a knot
    A knot is a method of fastening or securing linear material such as rope by tying or interweaving. It may consist of a length of one or several segments of rope, string, webbing, twine, strap, or even chain interwoven such that the line can bind to itself or to some other object—the "load"...

    , and Ariadne's thread
    Ariadne , in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Minos of Crete, and his queen Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and was the bride of the god Dionysus.-Minos and Theseus:...

  • the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of the Rainbow Serpent
    Rainbow Serpent
    The Rainbow Serpent is a common motif in the art and mythology of Aboriginal Australia. It is named for the snake-like meandering of water across a landscape and the colour spectrum caused when sunlight strikes water at an appropriate angle relative to the observer.The Rainbow Serpent is seen as...

     making the land.

The building's architecture is thus meant to imply that the story of Australia is not one story, but many stories tangled together. The building also refers to, or quotes other buildings:
  • a Burley-Griffin designed cloister at Newman College in Melbourne
    Newman College (University of Melbourne)
    Newman College is a Roman Catholic, co-educational residential college affiliated with the University of Melbourne. During the university year it houses about 235 undergraduate students and about 55 postgraduate students and tutors...

  • the Sydney Opera House
    Sydney Opera House
    The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in the Australian city of Sydney. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation starting with his competition-winning design in 1957...

     - both the parts designed by Jørn Utzon
    Jørn Utzon
    Jørn Oberg Utzon, , AC was a Danish architect, most notable for designing the Sydney Opera House in Australia. When it was declared a World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007, Utzon became only the second person to have received such recognition for one of his works during his lifetime...

    , and sections designed by the other architects
  • the shell curves of Félix Candela
    Félix Candela
    Félix Candela Outeriño was a Spanish architect known for his significant role in the development of Mexican architecture and structural engineering. Candela’s major contribution to architecture was the development of thin shells made out of reinforced concrete...

  • the Hall is evocative of Eero Saarinen
    Eero Saarinen
    Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect and industrial designer of the 20th century famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism.-Biography:Eero Saarinen shared the same birthday as his father,...

    's terminal at the J F Kennedy Airport in New York
    TWA Flight Center
    The TWA Flight Center or Trans World Flight Center, opened in 1962 as a standalone terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport .for Trans World Airlines...

  • the arc is like a piece of work by Richard Serra
    Richard Serra
    Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculptor and video artist known for working with large-scale assemblies of sheet metal. Serra was involved in the Process Art Movement.-Early life and education:...

  • the Garden of Australian Dreams is meant to evoke a range of different cartographies
    Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

  • the walls use selected fragments of the word Eternity
    Eternity (graffito)
    The word Eternity was a graffito tag which had its origins in Melbourne, Australia, though it has been erroneously attributed as an invention of Sydney man Arthur Stace. The Melbourne Herald newspaper recalled on 20 June 1930 a local eccentric who travelled the suburbs 'adorning all the walls he...

     - evoking the story of Arthur Stace
    Arthur Stace
    Arthur Malcolm Stace , otherwise known as Mr Eternity, was an Australian reformed alcoholic who converted to Christianity and spread his form of gospel by writing the word "Eternity'" in chalk on footpaths in Sydney over a period of approximately 35 years...

     who for thirty years chalked this single word on the pavements of Sydney
  • the most controversial quotation is a reference to the Daniel Libeskind
    Daniel Libeskind
    Daniel Libeskind, is an American architect, artist, and set designer of Polish-Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect...

    's Jewish Museum Berlin
    Jewish Museum Berlin
    The Jewish Museum Berlin , in Berlin, Germany, covers two millennia of German Jewish history. It consists of two buildings. One is the old Kollegienhaus, a former courthouse, built in the 18th century. The other, a new addition specifically built for the museum, designed by world-renowned architect...

    , Germany which opened in 1999.

The plan of the National Museum of Australia incorporates an exact copy of the lightning-flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

. The Bulletin
The Bulletin
The Bulletin was an Australian weekly magazine that was published in Sydney from 1880 until January 2008. It was influential in Australian culture and politics from about 1890 until World War I, the period when it was identified with the "Bulletin school" of Australian literature. Its influence...

magazine first publicly raised allegations of plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...

 in June 2000. Libeskind was reported to be angry with the copying. Raggatt's defence against plagiarism was that the design was a quotation rather than a copy. The director of the museum, Dawn Casey, claimed in the press that she and her council were not aware of this symbolism when they approved the plan.

The exterior of the building is covered in anodised
Anodizing, or anodising in British English, is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. The process is called "anodizing" because the part to be treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit...

Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 panels. Many of the panels include words written in braille
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two...

 and other decorative devices. Among the messages are "mate" and "she'll be right". Also included were such controversial words and phrases as "sorry" and "forgive us our genocide". These more controversial messages have been obscured with silver discs being attached to the surface making the braille illegible.

Among the phrases in braille are the words "Resurrection city". The phrase may refer to the clearing of the former Canberra Hospital to make way for the museum or it could be a reference to reconciliation between Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

 and European settlers. The phrase is used as a label in tiles on another of Raggett's buildings, the Storey Hall in Melbourne. Raggett says of that message: " I guess that tries to be some big sort of theme for this building as well and its sort of set of memories."

It was built by Bovis Lend Lease
Bovis Lend Lease
Lend Lease Project Management & Construction is the international project management and construction division of Lend Lease Group.-History:...

and completed in 2001.

Hail storm damage

A severe thunderstorm hit Canberra on the afternoon of 29 December 2006 and caused roof damage to the administration section of the Museum. The ceiling collapsed under the weight of hail. The damage exposed power cables and left two centimetres of water on the floor. The water also damaged several paintings by a Sydney artist which were associated with an exhibition about Australian lifesavers. However, the main part of the building was unaffected and nothing from the Museum's collection was damaged. The building was re-opened to the public a day later. The damage was expected to cost at least A$500,000 to repair.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.