Museum announces market sounding process for proposed new landmark cultural facility

24 October 2017

Aboriginal artefacts in storage

A market sounding process for a proposed new facility to house and preserve the South Australian Museum’s unique Australian Cultural and Natural Heritage Collection has just been released.

The proposed new building would be able to store more than four million items, including the most important collection of Australian Aboriginal artefacts in the world held by the South Australian Museum. A detailed consultation process with Aboriginal communities will help to determine a name for the new facility.

Responses to the market sounding to assess private sector interest in the project are due by 8 November. The market sounding will identify potential sites.

Current storage facilities at the Museum are limited in capacity and do not meet all modern technical and environmental standards, putting some items at risk.

It is anticipated the new facility could cover up to 7,000m2, with some specialised humidity and temperature controlled accommodation and associated research areas.

While the private sector is being asked to respond to this opportunity via a market sounding, the Museum and the State Government will work with Aboriginal communities to explore innovative and contemporary options for managing the facility and for providing education, training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people.

If the project proceeds, a complementary display area, co-curated by Aboriginal people, could showcase some of the 30,000 items in the Australian Aboriginal Cultural collection that cannot be displayed in available space on North Terrace.

Improved storage facilities would also provide greater flexibility to rotate items and constantly refresh the Museum’s exhibitions.

The Museum also holds a number of other significant national collections that could be housed in the new facility. These include the Australian Pacific Cultures Collection, the Australian Polar Collection and the Australian Meteorite Collection. 


Quotes attributable to Dr Lomax -Smith Chair of the South Australian Museum Board

This proposal is a transformational opportunity for the Museum to safeguard the Nation’s Aboriginal Cultural Collection, which embodies the history and memories of the whole of Australia.

The Board is keen to make South Australia a global leader in First Nations’ cultural collection custodianship, by increased involvement of Aboriginal communities in leadership, employment and training.


Further information

Market sounding closes Wednesday 8 November 2017 at 2pm Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) Enquiries to