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The Revamped Australian Museum Will Reopen in November with Free Admission

Closed since mid-2019, it has added more than 3000 square metres of public space as part of a $57.5 million makeover.
By Sarah Ward
October 28, 2020
By Sarah Ward
October 28, 2020

In 2020, as Sydney kicks back into gear after COVID-19 shutdowns, hearing that one of the city's cultural institutions is reopening has become commonplace. But the latest venue to announce its return actually closed its doors long before the pandemic — and makes its comeback after a huge renovation.

That'd be the Australian Museum, which temporarily shut in August 2019 to facilitate its $57.5 million makeover, called Project Discover. Come Saturday, November 28, Sydneysiders will be able to head back to the popular William Street site and see the results.

Even better — you'll be able to do so without spending a cent, with the venue making general admission free for everyone. When it said farewell before its closure, the museum did so with a free weekend. Now, it's making that arrangement permanent.

The aim is to not only welcome the city's residents into the Australian Museum's exhibitions, but to turn it into "a popular meeting space and new after-hours event space for Sydney," explains the site's Director and CEO Kim McKay AO. "Like a public square, we will be able to host music and performances as well as provide a place to relax and contemplate, discuss and debate, enjoy a coffee and experience an exhibition," she noted.

James Alcock

Of course, those exhibitions — and the space that hosts them — are still the main attraction. As part of its renovation, the Australian Museum has added more than 3000 square metres of public space to its layout, including expanding its touring exhibition hall from 850 square metres to 1500 square metres and creating a Grand Hall in the centre of the museum. And, within the next 12 months, two new gallery spaces are also slated to open.

From November 28, visitors will be able to shop at a new Museum Shop, grab a bite to eat at a second onsite cafe, and store their belongings at new cloaking facilities, too. The Crystal Hall entry plaza and lobby space has also been expanded, as has the members lounge. A new central staircase has been added as well, plus new escalators.

When the site welcomes patrons back in, it'll do so with two big drawcards: Tyrannosaurs — Meet the Family, which updates one of the Australian Museum's existing exhibitions; and the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2020, the popular annual showcase that highlights stunning snaps of the natural world. Both will kick off on November 28, with the former making its return after touring the US and Europe, and the latter taking over the Grand Hall.

ThenAustralian Museum will reopen on Saturday, November 28. For further details, visit the museum's website.

Images: James Alcock.

Published on October 28, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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