To mark the first anniversary of the National Library of Australia’s award-winning Treasures Gallery, an endowed curatorship has been established – thanks to the generosity of philanthropists Helen James and Jim Bettison.

It will be known as the James and Bettison Treasures Curatorship.

‘We are delighted that the James and Bettison family have recognised the significant place that the Library’s collections have in the research, creative and cultural life of all Australians,’ Director-General of the National Library, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich said.

‘Helen James was a great supporter of the Treasures Gallery project from the outset until, sadly, she passed away a few months before the opening of the Treasures Gallery.

‘Helen and Jim gave generously to the Treasures Gallery project, recognising early the significant impact the gallery would have on Australia’s cultural life.

‘Helen first spoke of the creation of a Treasures curatorship in 2009 and it was her wish that this curatorship be established.’

Ms Schwirtlich said the announcement of the curatorship was a fitting commemoration to both philanthropists. ‘It is also a great testament to their family who have so generously helped us honour their wishes.’ 

It is anticipated that the new curator will start work in the new year.

Since the Treasures Gallery opened in October 2011, more than 120,000 local, interstate and international visitors have enjoyed  the Canberra attraction.

The gallery showcases many of the National Library’s greatest treasures, ranging from James Cook’s Endeavour Journal, to the papers of Edward Koiki Mabo and the first document printed in Australia – a 1796 theatre playbill.

Early next month, the gallery will be refreshed with new ‘treasures’, including a rare copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painted by Australian-born artist Mortimer Menpes.

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