Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn, Western Australian Museum


Project Commenced: April 2017
Project Completed: April 2019
Floor Area: 800 – 1000sqm per gallery

Thylacine’s role

  • design management
  • interpretive design
  • graphic design
  • media design
  • lighting design


Museums and Galleries National Awards 2021
Best Permanent Exhibition (level 4 budget)

Australian Interior Design Awards 2021
Best of State Western Australia

DNA Paris Design Awards 2021
Winner Interior/Civic design

Dezeen Awards 2021
Longlist Exhibition Design

Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn

This gallery marks both the physical and the cognitive entry-point of the redeveloped Museum experience; it was critical to ensure that all the elements of design, content, and tone came together to seamlessly deliver an impactful, engaging, and eye-opening experience for visitors.

Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn, (Our Heart, Country, Spirit) incorporates eight key themes, grouped together into visitor experience zones. These were developed in collaboration with the WAM project team after extensive consultation with over 60 Aboriginal language groups. Each experience has its own key message, and all combine to communicate the core message and deliver the visitor journey.

For this gallery we have drawn on the notion of tracks and trails – following and strengthening themes and imparting a sense of journey. The gallery layout creates a sense of place and space, echoing the vastness of the West Australian landscape, and reflecting the power of the waterways and oceans, and the openness of the skies. Thematically, the gallery explores the characteristics of these natural elements and the relationship Aboriginal people have with them.

The design delivers opportunities for the visitor to view things from multiple site lines and unique standpoints, including from above, embodying the idea that there are multiple perspectives from which to consider historical events. The gallery focuses on traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture in Western Australia, with art, fashion, textiles, sporting memorabilia, film and audio included in the displays.

Client The Western Australian Museum and their stakeholders. Project partners iredale pedersen hook architects, media designers Mental Media and Eye Candy and lighting designer Illuminated Design.

Photography by Peter Bennetts