There we were, deep into an intense conversation in our meeting room (otherwise known as a spare table) in the web team’s ‘coffice’ (otherwise known as the Museum’s cafe), when a group of men, covered in bright face paint and armed with drums burst into the room.

We weren’t alarmed (this is a Museum after all), but we were suddenly very alert. We knew exactly who they were and got up straight away to follow them into the atrium.

They were Huli Dancers from Papua New Guinea and they'd come to meet the media a few days ahead of their first ever performance in Sydney. On the weekend they’ll be performing at the opening of our ‘Rituals of Seduction: Birds of Paradise’ exhibition.

Not only did we get to see them drum, sing and dance, but a little later (we did have that meeting to finish) we saw and heard how a Geru Peng Wig, an elaborate feather headdress, is made from the exotic plumage of different birds of paradise.

Man, if only every meeting could be interrupted by a group of dancers from Papua New Guinea!

Huli Dancers
Image: Jen Cork
© Australian Museum