“The Australian Museum is the country’s first museum so it is only fitting this world class institution has an upgraded home in the heart of Sydney"
– Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian
Following a 15-month closure for a $57.5 million transformation, the Australian Museum reopened its doors to the public. On 26 November, Director and CEO Kim McKay, Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian, NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin and President of Trustees David Armstrong officially cut the ribbon.
The Museum’s transformation was funded by a $50.5 million contribution from the NSW Government and philanthropic support from private donors of over $7 million. The renovations, entitled Project Discover, were undertaken by COX Architecture and Neeson Murcutt + Neille, with Kane Constructions.
The works included a redevelopment of the Museum’s public area, with the addition of 3,000sqm of new public space, repurposed from back-of-house areas. This expansion will allow the Museum to host major international touring exhibitions or showcase two smaller shows concurrently. The new space is in addition to the Museum’s permanent exhibitions, some of which have also been revamped during the closure, such as the new Changing Climate display. In addition to exhibition spaces, the store, Members Lounge, education rooms, cloaking area and second café have all undergone significant renovation.
Along with the reopening, the Australian Museum made two significant announcements: free entry for general admission and carbon neutral accreditation (a first for any natural history museum in Australia).
“This is an important step towards the Australian Museum’s future, and we look forward to continuing to expand and evolve the Museum. Over the next three years, the AM will continue to open new galleries, including a new interactive education space and new Mineral, Pacific and Egyptian Galleries."
– Australian Museum Director & CEO, Kim McKay