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No one will protect what they don’t care about. And no one will care about what they have never experienced. Sir David Attenborough

The Australian Museum, the nation’s first museum founded more than 190 years ago, is committed to its leading work in scientific research, STEM education and creating world-class exhibitions for Australians and visitors alike. The AM plays a critical role in not only explaining Australia’s natural science history, but also our Indigenous and Pacific Island culture.

The AM has a world-class collection of more than 22.9 million objects but less than one per cent is currently on display to the public due to limited exhibition space. The Museum has exciting redevelopment plans to expand its public floor space to improve the experience for all our visitors, attract major international touring exhibitions and ultimately showcase more of its priceless collection. It all starts with Project Discover.

Project Discover

In 2018 the NSW Government announced it would contribute $50.5 million to the Australian Museum to expand its public floor space. Combined with the AM Foundation’s planned fundraising efforts ($7-10 million), the first stage of development, called Project Discover, is now underway with construction due to commence in July 2019.

Project Discover will be completed by the end of 2020 with the first exhibition in the new space the exclusive blockbuster Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh – the largest and most impressive Tutankhamun exhibition to ever leave Egypt – opening in early 2021.

The funding enables the Australian Museum to repurpose existing storage space to significantly expand the touring exhibition halls to 1500 square metres across two levels – allowing the AM to host either one major exhibition or two exhibitions simultaneously.

As well as the transformed exhibition spaces, the redevelopment will also create new education facilities, a new museum shop, a second café, expanded Member’s Lounge, cloaking and new amenities.

Visitors, members and partners of the AM can stay informed about Project Discover via the website and can join the mailing list here.

Enquires can also be directed to project.discover@austmus.gov.au

Key service upgrades

Visitor experience

● Repurposing existing storage space within the museum to create a new, flexible 1500sqm touring exhibition hall capable of staging major international exhibitions

● New Members’ Lounge facing Cook & Phillip Park and St Mary’s Cathedral

● Dedicated groups entry directly off William Street, with a new accessible bus drop off and pick up bay

● Enhanced accessibility with a drop off zone and street level entry on William Street, linking to one of the museum’s elevators

● Improved circulation and wayfinding throughout the museum with a new central staircase to help access throughout the building

● New escalators providing seamless circulation throughout the museum’s exhibitions and Atrium

● Creation of a new AM Store located adjacent to the expanded entry/exit zone next to the award-winning Crystal Hall

● Additional family café on Level 2

● More of the museum’s sandstone heritage revealed


● New interactive education areas catering for toddlers through to Year 10 students, integrating museum programs linked to the syllabus

● Two new flexible education rooms which can be converted into one large space, ideal for talks and presentations after hours

● Dedicated education amenities including student toilets, water stations and bag storage

● New audio visual presentation equipment


● Upgrading the Museum’s public amenities (including additional toilets, a baby change and accessible bathroom and new cloaking facilities) catering for families and people with accessibility needs

● Dedicated amenities for students as part of the upgraded education facilities on Lower Ground


● New and improved entry off William Street for students and education groups, fully accessible and able to cater for guest and carer drop off.

Australian Museum to undergo $50m refurbishment

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