Unsettled exhibition
Entry to the Unsettled exhibition in the Touring Hall of the Australian Museum. Image: James Alcock
© Australian Museum

Sydney, 26 November, 2021. The Australian Museum (AM) and Director, First Nations, Laura McBride were awarded two of the top prizes in the 2021 IMAGinE awards for the ground-breaking exhibition, Unsettled. Named Winner for Exhibition Project, Large Museums, and also receiving the ACHAA Award for Excellence by an Aboriginal Curator, the IMAGinE awards recognised the breadth of curatorial research and the quality, scale and creativity of the Unsettled exhibition. The awards, given to NSW and ACT Museums and Galleries, were announced last night.

Appointed Director, First Nations in March, 2021, the IMaGInE awards caps of off an amazing few years for McBride, a Wailwan and Kooma woman.

“I am honoured to have won the Excellence by an Aboriginal curator award, which is decided by mob. I want to thank all the many community members who shared their knowledge and stories within Unsettled,” McBride said.

“Driven by the desire to present our stories, in our own voices, myself and co-curator, Dr Mariko Smith have spent the past three years developing, researching, consulting and checking the content for Unsettled.”

“Winning these awards along with the industry peer recognition is a wonderful way to celebrate the efforts, creativity and passion the whole AM team have put into Unsettled,” McBride added.

Director and CEO, Australian Museum, Kim McKay AO, congratulated McBride and the AM team for their achievements.

“The Unsettled exhibition is a world class example of First Nations curation, and we are very proud to be recognised with these awards.”

Unsettled opened in May 2021, to record crowds and reviews demonstrating that excellence and innovation can provide transformative experiences. The story told in Unsettled is one which every Australian should see and it’s why we’ve made it free to the public.”

Unsettled is open until 27 January, 2022 and free to all visitors. The exhibition is complemented by rich program of activities and workshops to deepen the experience. See here: https://australian.museum/visit/whats-on/

Unsettled exhibition was made possible through the generous donations received from The Balnaves Foundation (Major Supporter); IAS Fine Art Logistics, Reconciliation Australia (Exhibition Partners); Ashurst, DLA Piper, Gilbert + Tobin (Supporting Partners); and ABC Radio Sydney (Media Partner). The acquisition of cultural materials for Signal Fires was funded by a grant from the Australian Museum Foundation.

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Unsettled Opening Event 21 May 2021
On Friday 21 May, the Unsettled exhibition was launched during an evening opening event, held in Hintze Hall. Welcome to Country by Uncle Allen Madden, Gadigal Elder. Presenters included Kim McKay AO, Director & CEO Australian Museum, The Hon. Don Harwin MLC, Minister for Arts and Aboriginal Affairs, Laura McBride, curator of Unsettled and Director, First Nations Australian Museum, and Professor Larissa Behrendt, Australian Museum Trustee. Performances included the Gahdungal Murrin dancers, a special poetry reading by Rob Waters, and live music by Buddy Knox. After event formalities, guests were invited for a first look at the groundbreaking exhibition Unsettled. Image: Anna Kučera
© Australian Museum


About the Australian Museum

The Australian Museum (AM) was founded in 1827 and is the nation’s first museum. It is internationally recognised as a natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. The AM’s mission is to ignite wonder, inspire debate and drive change. The AM’s vision is to be a leading voice for the richness of life, the Earth and culture in Australia and the Pacific. The AM commits to transforming the conversation around climate change, the environment and wildlife conservation; to being a strong advocate for First Nations cultures; and to continuing to develop world-leading science, collections, exhibitions and education programs. With more than 21.9 million objects and specimens and the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM is not only a dynamic source of reliable scientific information on some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing our region, but also an important site of cultural exchange and learning. https://australianmuseum.net.au/

About IMAGinE:

Established in 2008 the IMAGinE Awards celebrate the achievements and extraordinary diversity of the NSW and ACT museum and gallery sector and those who work within it, both paid and volunteer staff. Comprising of over 650 organisations and approximately 5000 paid and volunteer workers, these galleries and museums also provide a major contributions to their local communities, economies and cultural life as well as playing an important role in tourism across urban and regional NSW and the ACT



Media Contact

Claire Vince, Media Advisor
T 0468 726 910

E Claire.Vince@australian.musem