Gaye Sculthorpe

Curator, and section head, Oceania

Department: Africa, Oceania and the Americas 


+44 (0)20 7323 8035

Gaye has responsibility for the curation, presentation, development and research of the Oceanic collections at the British Museum. In 2015, she curated the BP exhibition 'Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation'.

Gaye has carried out fieldwork in various locations within Australia, including central Australia, southeastern Australia and Tasmania. She was appointed Curator and Section Head of Oceania in March 2013. Prior to taking up this position, she worked as a Member of the National Native Tribunal in Australia, mediating native title agreements and at Museum Victoria in Melbourne.

Gaye is a graduate of the Australian National University (history and anthropology), the University of Sydney (Museum Studies) and La Trobe University (Aboriginal Studies).

Current Projects

  • 'The Relational Museum and Its Objects': a research project with colleagues at the Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia, funded by a Linkage Grant from the Australian Research Council
  • Research and curation of the Australia collection
  • Relocation of Oceanic collections to World Exhibition and Conservation Centre

Recent Projects

The BP exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation


  • External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

  • Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Member, Museum Ethnographers Group
  • Member, Pacific Arts Association
  • Member, Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Editorial Board, Australian Aboriginal Studies
  • Editorial Board, Australian Historical Studies

  • Recent Publications

  • 2018 G. Sculthorpe ‘A corroboree for the Countess of Kintore: enliving histories through objects’. Aboriginal History, 43:55-71

    2018  M. Nugent & G. Sculthorpe ‘A Shield Loaded with History: Encounters, Objects and Exhibitions’, Australian Historical Studies, 49:1, 28-43.

    2017 G. Sculthorpe ‘Thomas Bock and the mystery of Trukanini’s shell necklace’, Thomas Bock, Ikon Gallery and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, pp.49-63

    2017 G. Sculthorpe ‘Same objects, different stories: exhibiting Indigenous Australia. Journal of Museum Ethnography. 30:79-103.

    2016 G. Sculthorpe Souvenirs, science and industry: necklaces destined for Britain. In Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, kanalaritja, An Unbroken String, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart:pp.54-63

    2016 G. Sculthorpe & M. Nugent eds. Yurlmun. Mokare Mia Boodja, Encounters and Collecting in Menang Country, Western Australian Museum, Perth.

    2016 G. Sculthorpe ‘Finding Aboriginal lives in United Kingdom collections: artefacts from the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England’. Australian Aboriginal Studies (1):85-91.

    2015 G. Sculthorpe et al, Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation, British Museum Press, London.