Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Australian Museum’s facelift

Opening of Wild Planet at the Australian Museum. Source: Australian Museum Facebook.

Gina Fairley, Australian Museum’s $5.89M facelift, ArtsHub 9 September 2015

A$5.89 million carbon-neutral ‘crystal’ entry and Master Plan sets the tone to take Australia’s oldest museum into the future.

After just 17-months in the role, Australian Museum Executive Director & CEO Kim McKay has completed Stage One of a $5.89 Million facelift to the Australian Museum (AM), and is set to Stage Two tomorrow.

In May 2014, the NSW State Government committed $4.7 million over two years for the completion of a Master Plan for the Australian Museum of the future, with a further $2.5 million was granted (June 2014) to complete the Stage One works.

Key to Stage One is a striking new glass entry to the Museum, known as the Crystal Hall, brings visitors into the museum which also boasts its first new permanent exhibition space in 50 years and a rooftop café.

NSW Premier Mike Baird launched the opening with delight – and a word of caution. ‘Here in Sydney at the moment we have a real revolution underway, and the arts and cultural fraternity have recognised this significant role it plays in this city, this state, and this country, and we want to do everything we can to support it, he said.​

But as the Museum embarks on Stage Two of the new development he admitted, ‘We do get nervous when we go to the openings of museums when they say, “It is Stage One”.’

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Tony Grant added: ‘The first part of our Government was all about preparing our budget and our state, and the second vision is to transform NSW, and that needed to not be just an economic one – it needed to be about the confidence of the state and to, importantly, be about what we did in our arts and cultural space’

Today’s unveiling of the new building works is part of a larger Master Plan – a ‘Vision Document’ that McKay said she was delivering o the State Government this week for consideration.

Read more (may involve paywall).

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