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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer



How does search work?

Collection Explorer search is a quick way to browse the National Museum's online collection across all information on object record pages. Enter one or two terms in the search box to start exploring. Search is not case sensitive.

Sorting your results

The homepage is a random selection by default. Change the type of sort using the drop down menu at the top of the page to sort in these categories.

  • Random: from across the collection, with higher quality images taking priority
  • Date updated: date the record was added to the database or updated, with the latest at the top
  • Relevance: relevance of the object to the search term entered or selected from the automatically generated list
  • Title: object title, in alphabetical order
  • What: object type, in alphabetical order
  • When: date of creation, discovery or associated event, in alphabetical order
  • Who: people or organisations associated with an object, in alphabetical order
  • Where: locations related to the object, in alphabetical order

Viewing your results

View search results as thumbnails by default or change to view a list or visual map using the icons at the top right of the search results.

  • Thumbnail: small image of the object with object title and description if available, on hover
  • List: smaller thumbnail image, object title and associated collection
  • Map: shows places assosciated with each of the objects being viewed. Zoom in by clicking on the numeric cluster or red pin to see associated objects

Refining your search with filters

Refine your search using filters in the side menu. Click on the What, Where, Who and When panels and scroll down to make selections from the list of auto-generated filters.

  •  What: type of object, eg photograph, bark painting
  •  Where: places associated with the object, eg Northern Territory, Melbourne
  •  Who: name of a person or organisation involved with the object, eg James Cook, Parliament of Australia
  •  When: years associated with the object, eg 1849, 2008

Clearing search terms or filters

The search terms and filters currently applied are shown above the search results, beside the ‘Exploring’ text.

  • To remove one of the search terms — click on the ‘x’ to the right of the term.
  • To remove all of search terms and start a new search — click on ‘Clear search’.

I can’t find the object I’m looking for

Try using:

  • fewer words
  • a synonym or related word, for example vehicles instead of cars
  • filter links found on objects to browse by similarity, for example by material or a person’s name.

What are collections?

A collection is an object or group of objects that the Museum acquired from the same source at the same time. It usually has a unifying theme or story.

Collections are displayed in random order. Use the search box at the top of the Collections page to search collection names and descriptions. You can search for a particular collection (if you know its name) or enter a keyword to find collections of interest.

What are sets?

Sets bring together related objects that may not already belong to the same collection. These are curated by the Museum and will be expanded over time.

Can I use images?

A low resolution version of some Collection Explorer images can be downloaded and used under a Creative Commons licence or because the images are in the public domain. Others are restricted or undetermined, which means you need to contact us before use.

You can also purchase a higher resolution image, seek commercial use of an image or request new photography.

To download or request an image, click on the ‘Reuse image’ button. This will present the available options depending on the known copyright status of the image.

  • Download: allows you to download the image and use it straight away under the terms of the specified licence.
  • Purchase, request image or request photo: takes you to the image order form for that image.

How do I submit feedback or report an error?

The Museum welcomes feedback on the information in its collection. Use Feedback for comments on any aspect of Collections Explorer.