The new $ 400 million Boola Bardip Museum in Western Australia in the heart of Perth’s cultural center has officially opened after four years of construction.
The new Aboriginal name means « many stories » in the Noongar language and recognizes the important role of Aboriginal people in the common cultural heritage of WA.
The new WA Museum building is three times the size of the old museum and includes eight permanent galleries, one 1. 000 square meter temporary exhibition gallery, shop and cafe.
At the official opening of the building, Washington Prime Minister Mark McGowan told the crowd that the « spectacular » museum would be considered « one of the great public buildings in Australia ». .
« From the outside alone, it goes without saying that this is a world-class museum, » said McGowan.
« But while there is no international travel for a while – and we have a tough, controlled, and tough interstate border – this great museum is just for us. «
Alec Coles, WA Museum’s chief executive officer, told ABC Radio Perth the restoration had brought together WA’s unique cultural, scientific and historical collections.
« It’s the combination of many years of work by an incredible number of people, and I think everyone who was involved should be proud of it, » he said.
« I think it will be a wonderful meeting place for the WA people and as the borders open it will be a fantastic international attraction. «
The new building, designed by the international architectural consortium Hassell OMA, includes five different historical structures, the oldest of which dates back to 1855.
Built in 1855 to house convicts, it still retains much of the old floor plan, although it was just a prison for 33 years and became home to the Perth Geological Museum in 1891.
New walkways have been added to the four museum buildings that form an L-shape along Beaufort Street and James Street Mall, making it possible to move from building to building without taking stairs or stepping backwards.
From the new gallery, visitors can walk to the Government Geologists’ building and then to the Beaufort Street building that originally housed the State Art Gallery.
Via a golden corridor in Hackett Hall – once home to the State Library – the museum brings back an old favorite, the massive blue whale skeleton.
« When you see the blue whale and how it was hung from the roof of the old gallery, it is absolutely extraordinary, » said McGowan.
« I think it’s one of the most spectacular things you will see in Australia or even the world. «
The museum also has a prestigious special exhibition of the indigenous dream story of the seven sisters – a highlight of more than five years of collaboration between Aboriginal people and the National Museum of Australia (NMA). .
The exhibition Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters shows more than 300 paintings and objects as well as songs, dances, photography and multimedia.
The name Boola Bardip was chosen in consultation with the WA Museum’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the museum’s Whadjuk Content Working Group.
Mr Coles said more than 50. 000 people from across WA contributed their thoughts to the development of the exhibitions, programs and stories of Boola Bardip.
« They shared stories, they shared photos and objects, and I think that’s what makes it so authentic.
« There are many uplifting and amusing stories, but there will be some difficult ones – it will be an emotional experience for some people, and it should be. «
Art Secretary David Templeman said the museum is a chance for WA to « tell our story to the rest of the world ». .
« I want the people of Western Australia to really understand how unique this is, » Templeman said.
« We are very proud of our history and our people, and this place condenses all of that into one magnificent building that celebrates everything that is Western Australian. «
A total of 50. 000 tickets for the nine-day opening ceremony were allocated to successful voters.
Visits are limited to two hours during opening hours. November changes to the regular visiting hours.
The museum is free for visitors for the next 18 months and remains free for children under 15 years of age.
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