The Pacific Virtual Museum

Gude Hi Hai, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Håfa ådai, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Halo Olketa, Tālofa, Bonjour, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Ia Orana, Mālō nī, Talofa lava, Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings…

The Pacific Virtual Museum pilot project website, https://digitalpasifik.org/is now live. The site will provide access to Pacific cultural heritage items held in the world’s museums, libraries, archives, universities, and other institutions.

The aim is to empower people in and of the Pacific Islands, enabling them to see, discover and explore items of digitised cultural heritage that are held in collections around the world. People of the Pacific may not be aware these items or records exist, and we want to support them as they connect with these aspects of their own culture and history.

During this pilot, the role of the team is to support the ongoing development and delivery of the site and to ensure it is meeting the needs of Pacific people. To do so, we are focused on these areas:

  • Supporting our existing content partners, as they seek to add new records and refine the metadata of existing ones.
  • Engaging with any new content partners, based in the Pacific and beyond so that their knowledge and digitized content can be seen and found by those using the site.
  • Considering and managing the rollout of new functions and features, based on the feedback from users of the site, and ongoing advice from our co-design group.
  • Providing support and engagement to those who use the site. Our focus is on supporting educators and young people in the Pacific, but we are keen to connect with anyone with an interest in Pacific cultural heritage, including families, community groups, and researchers.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the use and impact of the site, to support the design of a sustainability plan for the site beyond February 2022.

“The design of the site allows Pacific Island peoples to see and explore items that are mostly held far away from their islands. We know that people of the Pacific may not be aware these items exist, and so it’s exciting to have developed a site that makes it easy and accessible for them to find and learn about these.” says Tim Kong, Program Manager of the Pacific Virtual Museum pilot. “We hope that the site will help Pacific island people of different generations connect and better understand the many unique cultures that make up the Pacific region.”

The website is designed by, with and for Pacific peoples, educators, learners and researchers. Representatives from libraries, universities, archives and museums from around and within the Pacific, as well as NGOs and those working with community groups, made up the initial co-design group.

The pilot project is funded until February 2022 and within that time the digitalpasifik.org site features will be further developed, content partners will be added, and the co-design group will continue to guide the delivery. A key part of the project will be to explore ways of sustainably implementing and supporting the pilot project aims beyond this date.

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Sunset in Palau, photo by Brandon Oswald

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