Storytelling (world gallery - additional information)


Storytelling conjures up fantastical images that are designed to capture children's vivid imaginations and transport adults too. Yet underlying messages are often carried within these stories that help to bind communities, histories and memories together.

In the World Gallery, you can see evidence of stories or oral recollections of battles, which were recounted on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and in the 19th century public theatres. These Norman conquests were told for adult male audiences using Saracen marionettes. By communicating, stories also transmit moral messages. In Thailand, the life of the Buddha is exemplary in the story of Ramakien, and Thai children learn through stories that are taught in schools using shadow puppetry.

In Australia, dreamtime stories provide the knowledge and teach of values so that people can care for the country. Young children will often encounter these stories first from their mothers.

Anthropologists tend to say that storytelling is a universal phenomenon and that it resonates among both children and adults. The World Gallery shares examples of storytelling from across the world through different mediums, such as song and dance, which are also supported through diverse forms of material culture, like masks, marionettes and painted carts.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: