Who do we trust to answer the big questions we face?

We know the big questions Western Australia faces. Who do we trust to answer them?

Climate change, species loss and food insecurity are just some of the existential challenges that humanity must address as a matter of urgency.

At this critical time, Western Australia is facing fundamental questions: How can we shape a sustainable future? How do we equip ourselves for the centuries ahead? How can we achieve a fairer society? These questions affect us all.

Museums are trusted institutions

As crucial holders of our natural and cultural heritage knowledge, museums the world over count amongst the most trusted institutions. Knowledge of the past informs our understanding of the present and provides tools to shape the future.  The integrity and the moral and ethical principles of our museums are key to the trust in which they are held – and key to the role they can play in answering the big questions we face.

The WA Museum has long been a trusted source of knowledge in the WA community

As the State's foremost custodian of Western Australia's natural and cultural heritage, the Western Australian Museum is a leading authority in marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and geoscience. 

WA Museum researchers use the Museum’s extensive collections (over 8 million biological, geological and cultural material and objects), their fieldwork, unique expertise and the strong relationships they have built to advance knowledge across their disciplines.

WA Museum Research Areas

Earth and Planetary Sciences
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
Post-Colonial Shared Histories
Maritime Archaeology

WA Museum Fieldwork Highlights 2022/23

  • Participation in deep sea biodiversity survey around Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands led by Museums Victoria
  • Conducting biodiversity surveys in the Gascoyne Marine Park in collaboration with CSIRO
  • Participation in the Bush Blitz species discovery program in the Charnley River region (Kimberley)
  • Kepa Kurl expedition to sample marine biodiversity in the Recherche Archipelago in partnership with the Minderoo Foundation

"Museum collections provide irrefutable evidence of our environment, our biodiversity, our geological heritage and of human and societal evolution. While the written word can always be challenged, the physical presence of an actual object, or specimen cannot."

Jennifer McIlwain, Head of Science, WA Museum

How does the WA Museum’s work help answer the big questions we face?

The WA Museum researchers:

  • discover new species of Western Australia’s vast, yet largely undocumented biodiversity
  • identify economically significant mineral deposits
  • explore deep time through the state’s rich fossil record
  • travel into deep space through analysis of an unrivalled meteorite collection
  • work with Aboriginal communities to preserve identities
  • reveal unique underwater cultural heritage
  • examine our shared histories.

This work helps us understand our ecosystem and assess the impact of climate change; provides the basis for future prosperity, contributes to the understanding of our universe, showcases and celebrates the richness of our cultural heritage and connections, and will enable us to sustain our community and address the challenges that will confront us in the future.

Contributing to and sharing new knowledge in 2022/23:


new animal species described


new animal species holotypes deposited




research presentations


peer-reviewed research articles


public talks

Supporting the WA Museum’s groundbreaking work

The Foundation for the WA Museum has been supporting the WA Museum since 1995.

All gifts to the Foundation flow into the Discovery Endowment Fund, a responsibly managed charitable investment portfolio, which is the source of annual grants to the WA Museum now and in future years.

The Foundation’s new Annual Grant Program allows the WA Museum to bring major strategic initiatives to fruition, which would not be possible otherwise, and reach beyond core business activities covered by State government funding.

The WA Museum is counting on the Foundation’s grant funding to continue to be able to lead the way.

The Discovery Endowment Fund is a true endowment, meaning that it will never be exhausted. It will grow over time to keep pace with rising costs and needs. Donations to the Foundation for the WA Museum are invested in perpetuity and achieve compound growth. Through this robust fund, the Foundation can support the WA Museum’s high impact initiatives into the future.

By harnessing corporate and private philanthropic gifts, the Foundation ensures that the WA Museum can continue to lead the way and amplify its scientific impact, do more discovery and research, and preserve and share more knowledge.

To achieve this, we need to grow the Discovery Endowment Fund as quickly as possible.

A gift to the WA Museum that will never be exhausted

With your donation, you continue to grow and strengthen this key pillar of the WA Museum’s work year after year.

Together, we can ensure the WA Museum can discover more, contribute to more scientific resarch projects, and share more knowledge with the world. Donate now.

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