Free weekend draws record numbers to museums

Photo of crowds at the Australian Museum's Free Weekend. Photo: Roy Weiland. Image courtesy the Australian Museum.

Photo of crowds at the Australian Museum’s Free Weekend. Photo: Roy Weiland. Image courtesy the Australian Museum.

Almost 70,000 visitors braved the cold during the Powerhouse Museum and Australian Museum Free Weekend, breaking all previous attendance records.

The Australian Museum welcomed 30,279 people through its doors while the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory saw over 38,800 visitors. This represents a 40 per cent increase on last year’s free weekend that attracted 50,000 visitors.

The Free Museum Weekend is a celebration of the anniversary of the NSW Government’s Kids Free initiative which allows children aged under 16 free general admission to both museums all year round.

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said the Kids Free initiative has been a raging success as part of the government’s mission to increase access to arts and culture.

“These fine museums have some of the state’s most precious possessions and interesting exhibitions and I want the next generation to have every opportunity to appreciate and experience them,” Mr Grant said.

Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said the Free Museum Weekend is to make science and culture accessible to everyone, and to remind people of the incredible world-class museums they have available to them.

“We are thrilled to have welcomed so many visitors through our doors over the weekend as we celebrate the first year of Kids Free at both Museums,” Ms McKay said.

Director of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Dolla Merrillees said museums are places where life-long memories are created.

“By working in collaboration with the Australian Museum we can facilitate discovery and inspire generations of Australians to dream, to imagine the possibilities and realise their ambitions,” Ms Merrillees said.

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Published: 27 June 2016