The inaugural FWAM Grants were awarded in 2018, thanks to the generosity of the Minderoo Foundation. Through a donation to the Foundation for the WA Museum’s Discovery Endowment Fund, the annual grants finance valuable and significant WA Museum projects, that are beyond the remit of government funding. Over the past year the WA Museum’s scientists have been beavering away on an array of projects and research.
To date, submissions have been received from a cross section of Museum research departments with four recipients in 2018, and three recipients in 2019 receiving grants for key Museum projects. The projects selected offer far reaching benefits and represent some of the WA Museum’s diverse disciplines in science, social and cultural knowledge.
2018 projects have already seen significant results, as follows –
DISCOVERY OF 95 MILLION-YEAR-OLD TEETH
The 95 million-year-old teeth of an extinct marine reptile called Coniasaurus were found by WA Museum scientists this year near Kalbarri. There were no reports of tooth material of this group of marine lizards in the Southern Hemisphere until now – it is quite an achievement of a small marine lizard, built like a shoe string, to not only survive in the open ocean but to spread across the globe! This new information about coniasaurs would have remained unknown had it not been for the support of the Foundation for the WA Museum.
Coniasaurus are very closely related to the more notorious mosasaurs, a group of giant marine lizards featured in the 2015 movie Jurassic World.
DISPLAYING A 46,000-YEAR-OLD ORNAMENT IN PARIS
Recently the WA Museum provided a 3D scan of a 46,000-year-old bone ornament excavated from a rock shelter in the Kimberley to the Musee de I’Homme in Paris to 3D print and use in their current exhibition PIERCING, about the human history of piercing. Funds provided by the Foundation’s Annual Minderoo Grant were used to purchase the handheld 3D scanner used to obtain the scan.
The scanner has also been used for the 3D scanning of various artefacts, to be displayed within the New Museum for Western Australia, from the WA Museum’s Anthropology and Archaeology, History, and Maritime Heritage departments.
Researchers will identify and collect teeth specimens of the fossils of local populations of an extinct species of shark, Carcharocles megalodon, and it’s prehistoric megatoothed ancestor, Carcharocles chubutensis. The WA Museum is an internationally renowned centre for fossil shark research and the findings of this research will be showcased in the New Museum.
Together with the T-rex, the megalodon shark is arguably the most iconic prehistoric animal.
BRINGING ALBANY’S LONG HISTORY TO LIFE THROUGH PODCASTS
A series of podcasts will be produced to bring the long history of Albany to life and enable residents and visitors to connect more deeply with their identity and sense of place. This high-quality podcast will inspire and invite its listeners to “Rethink their World” and create a desire to visit Albany and the Great Southern.
It is the bicentenary of European settlement in Albany in 2026
BUILDING A SENSE OF BELONGING
Giving voice to local community members, the WA Museum will present six community-created exhibitions at the WA Maritime and Shipwrecks Museums in Fremantle, over a 12-month period. This will provide community members the opportunity to explore and share their stories with the wider community in the most meaningful way to them.
This project will give people within the Fremantle community the opportunity to tell their stories.
The FWAM Grant round is open to all WA Museum research and professional staff. The next grant application round will commence in May 2020.