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In the past, there has been a tendency to fully translate the ‘cultural’ voice into the ‘museum’ voice. As museological philosophies have changed, there is now greater focus on presenting the first voice – the voices of those who have experience of the cultural or historical events being described. Despite this growing desire to allow subjects to ‘speak’, however, there is still a demand for the museum to intervene, moderate and translate experience into something audiences can understand. Yiwarra Kuju is an ideal case study by which to examine how culturally disparate partners can work together to satisfy these competing interests.

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The quest that is the origin of this book began in a museum cabinet. That is where much important research starts – for museums are dynamic, they are sites of renewal and discovery, they are not just an end-point, not just a final repository. Museum collections are full of lives and stories – and they can surprise us. That is one of the messages of this wonderful book.