Museums free for children

Blue whale skeleton, Australian Musem. Photo: Meredith Foley.

Sam Buckingham-Jones, Australian Museum and Powerhouse Museum free for children from June 27, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 June 2015

Nine-year-old Reece believes wholeheartedly that velociraptors are the best dinosaurs that ever lived.

“They sometimes work in a group, and they take down their prey more easily,” he said.

For eight-year-old Imogen, it’s the muttaburrasaurus.

“They’re big, and friendly,” she said.

Both children will soon be able to visit the Australian Museum, as well as the Powerhouse Museum, for free under a state government program beginning on June 27.

Estimated to cost $2.1 million over the next four years, deputy premier and NSW Minister for ArtsTroy Grant announced the program on Wednesday morning.

“We think its about time that more people came to our museums, and saw the richness of what we have on offer here,” he told a class from The Junction Public School.

“Mums and dads pay taxes, and work very hard. They own all these wonderful exhibits, so I think we should give greater access to them.”

To kick off the measure, on the weekend of June 27 and 28, both museums will be free for members of the public.

Director and CEO of the Australian Museum Kim McKay said the political climate had changed since the entry fee was imposed.

“In various governments over the years, cultural institutions weren’t in favour,” she said. “And so they imposed charges on both of our museums back then. Now, we’re the oldest and first museum in Australia, and to have charges imposed reduced visitation by well over half over that time.”

The change is expected to lift the number of visits to the two museums, which currently see an estimated 250,000 people annually, by at least 15-20 percent.

More information about the activities available for visitors on the weekend of June 27 and 28 can be found at the Australian Museum and Powerhouse Museum websites.