Founded in 1976, the Berndt Museum of Anthropology is The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) major collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture, including Asian and Melanesian objects. It is the premier university-based museum that focuses on Aboriginal Australia in the world.

The BMA manages the Ronald M and Catherine H Berndt Collections, as well as several hundred individual collections of objects that have been presented over the past 40 years. It also manages the Ronald M and Catherine H Berndt Archives, as well as countless individual archives belonging to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal benefactors alike.

Embracing research, education and outreach, the BMA exhibits its collections through stories of cultural importance that explore historical and/or contemporary narratives, people, places or events. We work with living artists, as well as with other public and private collectors throughout Australia to unpack the collections in our care.

The richness of the collections includes not only the extensive archives, art and object collections, but film, sound and photographic collections of substantial proportions. Brought together over time, the combination of donations, gifts and acquisitions has built a collection that has great depth and breadth with substantiated interest in further research and steeped in Aboriginal history. It is a collection of national significance to be shared with all Australians and the international community.

Our mission

The Berndt Museum of Anthropology enriches research, teaching and learning on the campus of UWA and with communities across Australia and internationally by:

  • presenting art and culture across time
  • convening interdisciplinary discussions in which culture is a catalyst for exploring issues and ideas
  • collecting art and culture that supports the contemporary and historical of our current collections
  • co-laboured exchange between Aboriginal communities and the Campus through our collections

Our vision statements

  • To be a dynamic, imaginative and innovative research and learning resource at UWA through art and cultural programs that are a catalyst for thought-provoking discussions relevant to all faculties and to our lives today.
  • To inspire and develop a new generation of scholars, museum professionals, artists and educators by providing experiential learning opportunities bridging the classroom and the world beyond the campus.
  • To serve as a crossroad between campus and community by building and creating a new standalone museum and an environment where all visitors feel welcome to participate.
  • To nurture a deeper and broader understanding of Aboriginal culture for all Australians.

Find out more about our work

Need more information?

Stay up to date with the latest developments at the Berndt Museum or speak to one of our staff.