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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology






Micro Gallery


Sound is a significant part of the human experience. The ways that people create, distinguish and interpret sound can profoundly influence how they engage with, transform, and value their surroundings.


This exhibition focussed on sound and music in West Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea), both in the past and present. It drew together objects, sounds and birds collected by Alexander F. R. Wollaston in the early years of the twentieth century. There were also personal items such as a bird of paradise feather headdress and ukulele, on loan to the Museum from The Lani Singers, a West Papuan group living in exile in the UK who use music to draw attention to their struggle for independence from Indonesia.


The exhibition included two innovative ‘sound posters’ designed by a Cambridge-based company Novalia. The posters’ conductive ink allows visitors to touch images and hear the music of The Lani Singers as well as the calls of various West Papuan birds.

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.