Two of Sydney’s most loved museums will open their doors for free on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June.

Now in its second year, the Free Museum Weekend invites visitors of all ages to explore Australia’s first museum, the Australian Museum, and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) at the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory.

In 2015, the inaugural Free Museum Weekend attracted crowds of more than 50,000 visitors across both museums, marking the introduction of Kids Free, a commitment by the NSW Government to provide free general admission for school students and children 16 years and under visiting both museums.
Since Kids Free began, the Powerhouse Museum has experienced over 60% growth in children’s visits with over 195,000 children visiting the Museum in FY2015-16 to date.
The Australian Museum saw more than 150,000 children visit over the same period – a significant increase despite not hosting a blockbuster exhibition during the period.

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, said the Free Museum Weekend would build on the popularity of the Kids Free initiative.

“Arts, science and natural history are integral to every child’s education and museum visits bring this education to life in exciting and tangible ways. The success of Kids Free is testament to the importance of a rich cultural life. With kids flocking to these fascinating museums in the past year we encourage them to bring the adults in their lives along to the Free Museum Weekend to share in their new discoveries,” Mr Grant said.

MAAS Director, Dolla Merrillees, said the Free Museum Weekend provided an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a special day together and to explore two of Sydney’s most iconic institutions free of charge.

“With the events and programs on offer at all three sites, there will be plenty of opportunities for the whole family to be hands-on throughout the free weekend. As we welcome more children through our venues, we are particularly delighted to see how young people explore the ideas around them, make connections to their own experiences and share their curiosity with others around them.” Ms Merrillees said.

Australian Museum Director Kim McKay AO said experiencing museums from an early age played a pivotal role in developing our understanding of the world.

“Museums are places of learning, wonder and discovery for curious minds to explore. It’s those early museum experiences that are seared into our memories and foster our interest in arts, culture and science,” Ms McKay said.

“There should be no barrier for young people to learn and be inspired, and we are thrilled to be able to open our doors to all visitors on this Free Museum Weekend in June, and celebrate the success of the Kids Free initiative over the past year.”

Visitors to the Australian Museum can experience the award-winning exhibition Trailblazers: Australia’s 50 greatest explorers, a celebration of the pioneers and adventurers who shaped the history of our nation and our understanding of the world around us, while those visiting the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory will be the first to participate in Tanabata: Star Village, a collaborative community art installation celebrating the Japanese fable of the night sky.

Free Museum Weekend: 25 – 26 June 2016

AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM
9.30am – 5pm daily, 1 William Street, Sydney, www.australianmuseum.net.au. 9320 6000

MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS AND SCIENCES
Powerhouse Museum
10am – 5pm daily, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007, www.maas.museum/powerhouse-museum

Sydney Observatory
10am – 5pm daily, Watson Rd, Millers Point, maas.museum/sydney-observatory

Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences (MAAS)
The Powerhouse Museum, alongside Sydney Observatory and Museums Discovery Centre, is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), Australia’s contemporary museum for excellence and innovation in applied arts and sciences. The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has a vast and diverse collection of over 500,000 objects.

Australian Museum (AM)
Australian Museum (AM), founded in 1827, is the nation’s first museum, and is an internationally recognised natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. As custodian of more than 18 million objects, the AM is uniquely positioned to provide a greater understanding of the region through its scientific research, exhibitions and public and education programs. Through the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM also has a leading role in conserving Australia’s biodiversity through understanding the environmental impacts of climate change, potential biosecurity threats and invasive species.

FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT:
AM: Claire Vince, Media Advisor | claire.vince@austmus.gov.au | 9320 6181 / 0468 726 910
MAAS: Eli Wallis, Senior Publicist | eli.wallis@maas.museum | 9217 0564 / 0402 359 016