Tommy Buga

I started early education in 1999 at Coronation Primary School. In 2005 I did upper primary education at Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School and successfully completed grade 8. I then got accepted to complete High School in 2007 at Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, at the end of 2008, I attained my Grade 10 secondary certificate and continued to Grade 12 which I graduated with a Grade 12 certificate in Jubilee Catholic Secondary School.

In February 2013, I moved to Perth in Australia. I worked at the Australian Regional Council in Perth as a Refurbishment Officer. My role was to analyse the cost and benefit of 7 indigenous communities who use helicopters as the main transport mode thus encouraging them to use Land transport. This assessment saw a reduction of 75% in travel cost for Perth Regional Council.

I returned to Papua New Guinea in 2014 and began work at the National Museum and Art Gallery overseeing Museum fleet. In 2017 there was major shortage in staff capacity in the Science, Research and Consultancy Division of the Museum and I was asked to take up the role of a Senior Technical Officer in the Anthropology Department. My role basically was to assist the Principal Curator and Data Entry Officer manage the 100 000 ethnographic collections of the Museum for the people of Papua New Guinea. I was doing inventory and cataloguing of the objects before placing them in storage.

I have been participating in trips assigned by the management to enforce the National Cultural Property Act, organized and assist tourists and individuals with Export Permit and also collected a few pieces while out on NCP trips. In 2018, the National Museum and Art Gallery was graced with support from the Australian Government through the PNG-Aus Partnership that brought about a major refurbishment of the public galleries and external facilities of the Museum. I was part of the exhibition team involved in research and installation of the exhibits in four new galleries. I have gained exposure in working with the collections and became knowledgeable through learning the stories embedded in the rich culture of my people.

Besides I was privileged to work with the installation team from Australia and learned how to make armatures for the objects. Working alongside our conservation department have exposed me to the conservation measures that is paramount for our collections in terms of preservation.

In November 2018, Papua New Guinea was host to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Port Moresby. I was given the opportunity to lead a team of curators and conservators from the Museum to curate an art exhibition at the APEC Haus in Down Town Port Moresby, where most of the high profile meetings were held.

In May 2018, I was part of the Conservation Training at the National Museum, gaining insights into the importance of conservation in Museums, facilitated by ICOM Australian and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in PNG through the PNG-Aus Partnership. I was also privileged to be part of a team of curators within the Science Research and Consultancy Division to learn about the Vernon Management Collection.


Tommy Buga

Research Fellow

National Museum and Art Gallery PNG