Media release: NSW Government announces $7.2 million to transform the Australian Museum

$4.7 million for a Master Plan and $2.5 million for initial development.

New Australian Museum #1

 © Australian Museum

SUNDAY, 15 JUNE 2014

The Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Troy Grant MP today announced $7.2 million for the transformation of the Australian Museum.

The Australian Museum, the nation’s oldest and one of the most important scientific research, educational and cultural institutions, will receive $4.7 million over two years to complete a Master Plan to develop the current museum site. The New Australian Museum Master Plan will include new spaces dedicated to education and learning, a large temporary exhibition space to host international blockbuster exhibitions as well as a dedicated gallery to display the Museum’s internationally significant Pacific collection.

A further $2.5 million has also been granted to implement Stage 1 of the New Australian Museum which will significantly improve the visitor experience and accessibility. The planned works in Stage 1 include a new entrance on William Street, a new gallery space highlighting biodiversity, as well as a new rooftop brasserie with spectacular views over the city to the harbour.

Mr Grant said, “The NSW State Government recognises the importance of the Australian Museum to the city, the state and the nation and is funding these important works and future planning to ensure the Australian Museum can deliver a world-class visitor experience to the people of NSW and to interstate and international tourists.”

Kim McKay AO, CEO and Director of the Australian Museum said, “We are excited to receive this funding from the NSW Government which will allow us to immediately begin transforming the museum. The visitor experience will be markedly improved by moving the main entrance to William Street. Our permanent gallery space will be added to for the first time in over 50 years with the creation of 632 m2 of exhibition space on biodiversity featuring more than 400 animals.

“This is our first step in a visionary long-term Master Plan for the entire Australian Museum site. The planning funds will allow us to develop detailed plans over the next two years. I’m also delighted we can make immediate changes to transform the visitor experience – with a new gallery, new entrance, improved visitor circulation and new rooftop brasserie,” Ms McKay said.

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FACT SHEET

Stage 1 of the New Australian Museum

  • The building project tender process will be managed by the NSW Government Architect and Public Works Offices.
  • The new entrance and brasserie are planned to open in December 2014 and the new gallery in early 2015.
  • The Museum will remain fully operational throughout the Stage 1 building works.

New Entrance

  • A new visitor entrance will be constructed on William Street. The College Street entrance will be closed and the spaces, which are currently the shop and café, will be returned to a gallery.
  • Visitors will enter the Museum via a 4.7m wide ramp into a glass admissions building (15m long x 8.5m wide x 9m high).
  • The new entrance will improve accessibility for all visitors including those using wheelchairs, prams and strollers, with visitors entering directly into the ground floor of the Museum. It will also provide a sheltered admissions area for visitors.
  • With generous arrival and circulation areas for growing visitor numbers, the Stage 1 works will rationalise circulation into and around the Museum.
  • The glass and steel entrance will also be a new after-hours flexible function space.
  • The new entry will have improved visibility, enhance the Australian Museum’s prominent urban setting at the William Street threshold of the CBD and complement the historic frontage of St Mary’s Cathedral.

New Gallery

  • The new gallery will focus on biodiversity and feature a stunning presentation of more than 400 animals from all around the world. It will highlight Australia’s unique mammals and creatively use technology to showcase the work of the Australian Museum Research Institute.
  • This new gallery will add approximately 630m2 of exhibition space. This is the first time in more than 50 years that permanent exhibition space has been added.

New Rooftop Brasserie and Shop

  • A new rooftop brasserie will open on level 4, taking advantage of the majestic views over Hyde Park, St Mary’s Cathedral and Sydney Harbour. An existing lift will be extended up to level 4 to improve access to this dining destination.
  • The Museum shop will be re-located as a pop-up shop in the Atrium of the Museum with plans for two new store locations in 2015.

About the Australian Museum

Established in 1827, the Australian Museum is Australia’s first and one of its most foremost scientific research, educational and cultural institutions. It is the trusted guardian of the nation’s largest and oldest natural science and cultural collection with more than 18 million objects.


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