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Museum & Art Gallery

The Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery
Explore the depth and diversity of Papua New Guinea in the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby the National Capital District .

The Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery is the “spiritual house” for the rich natural, cultural and contemporary heritage of this country.

The museum is owned by the people of Papua New Guinea and to date has well over 30,000 anthropological collections, more than 25,000 archaeological collections, more than 18,000 natural science collections, more than 20,000 war relics and more than 7000 contemporary art collections.

It consists of three premises, including the main museum located at Waigani in Port Moresby, the Modern History Museum (sometimes known as War Museum) at Gordons in Port Moresby and the J.K. McCarthy Museum at Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province.

Papua New Guinea Culture
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Museum premises at Waigani
The main Papua New Guinea museum at Waigani, Port Moresby in the National Capital District consists of five display galleries which are the Masterpiece Gallery, the Independence Gallery, the Sir Allan Mann Gallery (for temporary exhibits), Life and Land (natural history and prehistory) Gallery and the Sir Michael Somare (new acquisitions) Gallery.

In addition, there is a central courtyard with live animals and birds, a theatrette, amphitheatre, amenities area, souvenir shop, four large storage rooms, conservation laboratory, photographic laboratory, carpentry workshop, graphic rooms and editing equipment rooms.

Like the neighbouring National Parliament and the Port Moresby Nature Park at Waigani, the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery is one of the “must visit” icons of Port Moresby.

The museum is open to the general public from Monday to Friday (8.30am to 3.30pm) and Sunday (1.00pm to 3.00pm). The museum is closed to the public on Saturdays, except for organised visits.

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Modern History
The Modern History premises at Ahuia Street, Gordons, in the National Capital District consist of office space, two storage rooms, a display room and a library.

The collection includes aircraft, vehicles and war artefacts from pre-independence and post-independence periods of Papua New Guinea history.

Some of the unique objects in the national collection include a P-38F Lockheed Lightning aircraft, the oldest P-38 in a museum in the world.

The J.K. McCarthy Museum
The J.K. McCarthy Museum in Goroka consists of six display galleries, including the Niugini Room, Giddings Gallery, Leahy Wing, Soso Subi Gallery and the Archaeological Room.

It also has offices for scientific and administrative staff, a storage room and a gift shop.

The museum's main collections are artefacts and specimens from the Highlands region.

Artefacts include wooden dishes, stone mortars, stone blades, magic stones, and sandstones for making stone blades.

Independence Gallery
The Independence Gallery features a stunning Kula canoe from the Trobriand Islands of the Milne Bay Province.

The upper section of the exhibit contains a fine collection of traditional fishing equipment, bilums (string bags), pottery, traditional ceremonial and casual dress and cooking utensils.

Traditional musical instruments and a variety of Papua New Guinea’s renowned kundu and garamut drums are also on display.

Masterpiece Gallery
This gallery brings to you a unique selection of the museum’s most-important cultural objects in terms of religious significance and aesthetic excellence.

In this collection are tall posts from the Sepik region which are used to decorate haus tambarans (spirit houses), ancestral boards from the Sepik people and intricately-carved Malangan masks from New Ireland.

Papua New Guinea’s astonishing diversity and depth of spiritual expression is demonstrated here.

Michael Somare Gallery 
Named in honour of Papua New Guinea’s first Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, the museum displays temporary exhibits.

The gallery was opened in 1986 with an exhibition of Independence and State gifts that Sir Michael received over the years.

Life and Land Gallery
This exhibition records the lives of the early inhabitants of New Guinea who arrived up to 50,000 years ago.  Archaeological excavations have revealed the early Highlanders were among the world’s first farmers.

Within this gallery is a colourful collection of preserved bird specimens, including a variety of birds of paradise, while a seashore to mountain diorama shows the variety of PNG vegetation and wildlife from the swampy mangroves to the cool of the Highlands.

Sir Allan Mann Gallery
This gallery is named in honour of the Museum’s first Chairman of the Board of Trustees.The Sir Allan Man Gallery makes the display of travelling and temporary exhibitions possible.  This gallery has displayed a variety of important exhibitions over many years.

Other Features of the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery
Right in the heart of the museum is an enclosure of live birds and animals, including hornbills, parrots and ducks.

The museum bookshop is located at the front of the entrance. The bookshop sells a variety of carvings, bilums and cards as well as books on Papua New Guinea, which are excellent gift ideas.

A pleasant shady courtyard/reception area is also available for hire at a reasonable rate.

Within the museum is a small multi-screen lecture room, normally used for educational activities and a theatre that can hold up to 250 people.

Science and Research Division
The Science and Research Division consists of Mordern History, J.K. McCarthy Museum, Anthropology, Prehistory, Natural History, Conservation and Contemporary Arts.

These are specialised scientific and research areas that carry out the main functions of the museum’s heritage and cultural collections.

Export Permits
Please be aware that an export permit is needed to take artefacts out of the country. The permit, as gazetted under the provision of the National Cultural Property (Preservation) Act, is issued at the Papua New Guinea National Museum. To obtain a permit, consult the museum and provide either the artefacts or a photograph for inspection. If the items are permitted exports, an export permit will be issued.

For further information please visit:

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P.O Box 1291 | Port Moresby | Paua New Guinea
Tel: +675 320 0211 | Fax +675 320 0223
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