South Australia’s rich cultural collections

South Australia’s expansive digital collections are irreplaceable records that shape our knowledge of history and the natural and cultural world.

Collab’s cultural institutions, including the South Australian Museum, the History Trust of South Australia, the State Library of South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia, are committed to ensuring these collections are available as accessible and useable data sets that help to expand human knowledge.

Collab, as part of the GLAM Labs global movement, would like to see these South Australia’s data sets used more broadly through entrepreneurship, research, interpretation and new digital experiences, and facilitated through the Collab Digital Cultural Fellowship.

South Australian Museum

For more than 150 years the South Australian Museum has been collecting, researching and sharing the stories of Australia’s unique natural and cultural heritage, and is today one of the most highly visited museums in the country. It cares for collections of national and international significance including the Australian Polar Collections, the Australian Biological Tissue Collection, and the Australian Helminthological Collection. The Museum’s Australian Aboriginal Material Culture Collection is recognised as one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of ethnographic objects and boasts an unparalleled depth both historically and geographically. The Museum also has a strong reputation for research collections in the fields of Mineralogy and Palaeontology.

The Museum’s Archives consists of tens of thousands of individual items, most of which relate to Aboriginal people throughout Australia dating from the 1840s to the present.

History Trust of South Australia

The History Trust of South Australia collects and preserves the state’s stories and material culture – the objects that form part of our history, researched, stored and shared to preserve the history of South Australia for future generations. The History Trust operates the South Australian Maritime Museum, the National Motor Museum, the Migration Museum and the Centre of Democracy, and manages the annual state-wide History Festival, community history, public programs, research and digital program, along with the State History Collection, with more than 41,000 objects kept and preserved for generations of South Australians to come.

State Library of South Australia

The State Library of South Australia (SLSA) is the largest public reference library in the State. Its collection has a strong focus on information pertaining to South Australia as well as general reference material for research purposes. The Library actively collects, preserves and gives access to the State’s historical and contemporary documentary heritage, as well as providing public programs that enhance South Australia’s cultural life.

Art Gallery of South Australia

 The Art Gallery of South Australia has one of the largest art museum collections in the country numbering approximately 41,000 works of art from Australia, Europe, North America and Asia. The collections feature paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, textiles, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery and furniture. The diverse Australian collection is a comprehensive survey of Australian art from colonial to contemporary – with a strong commitment to Aboriginal art, while the European collection features Greek and Roman antiquities and works from the late fifteenth century up until present day. Also of particular note is the Asian collection, which is one of the most distinguished collections of its type in Australia.