Endeavour Voyage exhibition extended

Ancient Greeks blockbuster show rescheduled for 2021

The National Museum of Australia is extending its landmark exhibition, Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians until April 2021. The planned British Museum blockbuster Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes has been rescheduled to open on 17 December 2021.

The groundbreaking Endeavour Voyage exhibition showcases the Indigenous perspectives of the ancestors of those living on the east coast of Australia in 1770, alongside the experiences of the Endeavour crew. Widely acclaimed, this important show reframes this foundational narrative for all Australians to consider, 250-years on from a pivotal moment in the nation’s history.

Logistical challenges in bringing international exhibitions to Australia during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prompted the rescheduling of Ancient Greeks, which was due to open in Canberra in December 2020.

As a result of the change, the Endeavour Voyage exhibition currently on show in Canberra will enjoy an extended run in the capital until 26 April 2021, after itself being delayed by several months due to COVID-19.

Endeavour Voyage is the result of a close collaboration between the National Museum and seven Indigenous communities. The exhibition reconsiders the narrative around the historic 1770 passage of the Endeavour up Australia’s east coast. It showcases, for the first time, the untold stories of Indigenous communities on the shore, alongside those from the ship.

Endeavour Voyage immerses visitors in the moment when two great knowledge systems came face to face, as the First Australians encountered Lieutenant James Cook and his crew.

The exhibition is one of a suite of National Museum projects marking the 250th anniversary year of the voyage of which include the Cultural Connections Indigenous community cultural maintenance project and the Encounters Fellowships program for Indigenous cultural workers.

National Museum director Dr Mathew Trinca said he is delighted more people will have the opportunity to see Endeavour Voyage and he looks forward to bringing Ancient Greeks to the capital in December 2021.

‘For the first time, the Endeavour Voyage exhibition puts the largely untold stories of Indigenous Australians centre-stage as descendants of those who witnessed Cook’s 1770 passage tell their stories, alongside those from the ship. I’m delighted that more people will have a chance to see this important show,’ said Dr Trinca.

At the end of 2021, the highly anticipated Ancient Greeks exhibition will come to the Australasian region for the first time, as part of a partnership between the British Museum, the National Museum of Australia, the Western Australian Museum and the Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Featuring some 170 objects which explore the theme of competition through sports, politics, drama, music and warfare, Ancient Greeks will open in Western Australia before starring at the National Museum (17 December 2021 to 1 May 2022), as the show’s only east coast Australian venue. The exhibition will then conclude its Australasian tour with a final stop in New Zealand.

National Museum of Australia director Dr Mathew Trinca said the show, which features Olympic sporting prowess in ancient Greece where the Olympic Games originated, will now open during the rescheduled 2021 Olympics year.

‘We are delighted to bring Ancient Greeks to east coast audiences next year. I know they’ll be mesmerised by the stories of competition in the ancient Greek world and by the beautiful depictions of athletes — the ceramics, sculptures, armour and jewellery featured in the show,’ said Dr Trinca.

Dr Trinca thanked the partner institutions and said the unique three-way collaboration is a model for future agreements, allowing cultural institutions to pool and leverage their resources, to bring world class shows of this type to their audiences.

‘The National Museum is working creatively with its partners to pool resources to our mutual benefit and bring high quality exhibitions to our audiences as a result,’ said Dr Trinca.

Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes is the fourth in a series of British Museum exhibitions that have featured at the National Museum of Australia, following Rome: City and Empire (2018), A History of the World in 100 Objects (2016) and Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum (2015).

The Museum continues to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff in accordance with the advice of government bodies. For the full list of safety measures implemented in response to COVID-19, please see the Plan your visit webpage.

/Public Release. View in full here.