Out of the Dark: From the MAGNT Collection
The collections of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) offer a rich understanding of the Northern Territory environment, its people and culture.
Comprising over 400,000 natural science specimens from terrestrial and marine ecosystems and 21,000 history and culture objects and artworks, MAGNT’s collections are nationally and internationally significant.They provide insights into the tropical environs of Northern Australia, the desert landscapes of the Centre, and the historical, geographical, maritime and social relationships between Australia and its Southeast Asian neighbours.
From the outset, Aboriginal art and culture was a major collecting focus, in the hope that the collection would help to ‘eradicate the ignorance…which hinders the development of mutual understanding and co-operation’ between First Australians and local European and Asian communities’.
Today, MAGNT is home to the most prestigious and longest running national Indigenous art prize: the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Established in 1984, Telstra NATSIAA has been a major source for acquisitions of artworks by some of the most outstanding Aboriginal artists from around the country.
The Natural Sciences collection covers all faunal groups from the Northern Territory and its near neighbours. It plays a crucial role in identifying new species, supports coastal conservation and climate change studies, and is used to identify both existing and new invasive and venomous species. The collections of molluscs, tropical fish, marine worms, and many terrestrial species that are now rare or extinct are globally important and the extensive collection of megafauna fossils is unique in the world.
By dissolving barriers between disciplines and promoting the interplay of unusual juxtapositions across collections, it is hoped this exhibition will inspire curiosity in the world and lead to deeper and more integrated understandings of past and present.