barrabuwari muru

The Australian Museum’s Master Plan encompasses a bold vision for a world-leading natural history and culture museum.

Named barrabuwari muru, meaning ‘future path’ in Sydney’s Indigenous language, the Master Plan sets the course for the 190 year old Australian Museum to reclaim its place as a museum of international standing, opening more of its historic site to the public and showcasing more of its collection of over 18 million objects.

The vision for the future museum includes a new multi-story building on the AM’s eastern quarter on the corner of William and Yurong Streets, which will also extend over the top of the existing structures, while recognising the heritage of the historic site.

In addition to providing more space to display the AM’s extensive collection, the Master Plan’s vision includes:

  • A Grand Hall at the centre of the site, more than 70 metres long surrounded by historic sandstone walls and accommodating up to 2,000 people for gala events and conferences.
  • A new large temporary exhibition space attracting major international blockbusters, allowing Sydney to compete on a global stage.
  • An Indigenous and Pacific centre, where culture can be celebrated and researched at the highest level, alongside the scientific research of the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI).
  • Increased educational and community facilities including specialised STEM learning spaces and a new theatre
  • State-of-the-art DNA labs to expand the work of AMRI and the AM’s Wildlife Genomics team.
  • Creating a favourite meeting place for Sydney-siders to return throughout the year
  • Increased digital engagement with AM’s science and cultural collections unlocked for lifelong learning
  • Creating an economically and environmentally sustainable museum, invigorating the economy through experiences and events, as well as generating new income streams through commercial partnerships.

The barrabuwari muru master plan has been submitted to the NSW Government for consideration as part of the State Cultural Infrastructure Strategy, and details plans for a $250 million redevelopment, with a further $35 million contributed from other sources. Once the master plan is considered by the Government, the next stages is for the AM to undertake an international architecture competition for the new building design.

The community will be encouraged to comment on any future detailed designs. Current images are artist impressions only.

Exterior of the proposed Australian Museum transformation

Artist impression of the proposed Australian Museum transformation.

In 2017, the Australian Museum celebrates 190 years. At this crossroad the AM needs to grow in order to continue their leading work in scientific research, STEM education and creating world-class exhibitions for Australians and visitors alike. The Australian Museum will play a critical role in not only explaining Australia’s natural science history but also our Indigenous and Pacific Island cultures.

In preparation for the Master Plan, the Australian Museum has commenced an extensive transformation program to upgrade existing facilities, including:

  • building the award-winning Crystal Hall public entrance on William Street, opened in 2015
  • a new Wild Planet gallery, the AM’s first new permanent gallery space in 50 years, opened in 2015
  • a new First Australians Gallery featuring two new permanent exhibitions – Garrigarrang: Sea Country and Bayala Nura: Yarning Country, opened in 2015
  • a new Pacific Spirit Gallery, opened in 2015
  • a new museum rooftop restaurant on level four No. 1 William, opened in 2016
  • the restoration of the Long Gallery – Australia’s first museum gallery – reopening as the Westpac Long Gallery in late 2017, showcasing 200 Treasures of the Australian Museum.


We encourage the community to provide comments and feedback on the barrabuwari muru master plan vision. If you have any suggestions as to what you’d like to see improved and featured in the new Australian Museum please send us an email.

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