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Museum's $3.1m cafe and extension now open

Andrew Sayer at the new cafe at the National Museum.

Andrew Sayer at the new cafe at the National Museum. Photo: Melissa Adams

National Museum of Australia director Andrew Sayers makes sure to get his morning cappuccino from the institution's stunning new cafe, not just for the newly opened-up lake views.

"I also get to talk to the other staff who are here for coffee. You learn a lot in the coffee queue about what's really going on," he said, with a laugh.

The $3.1 million cafe and extension has recently opened, taking advantage of the museum's location on the Acton Peninsula by jutting the new section out towards Lake Burley Griffin.

Andrew Sayer at the new cafe at the National Museum , Canberra. 21ST February 2013. Click for more photos

National Museum Cafe

National Museum Cafe. January 21, 2013. Photo: Melissa Adams

"We now have this unique view on the lake," Mr Sayers said.

"I think what's happening in Canberra is we're suddenly getting a whole lot of different viewpoints on the city. This is one of them, the arboretum is another."

The original architects, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, were commissioned to do the work, not least to clear the main hall of tables and chairs and the remnants of the old cafe and create space to show the big exhibits previously in storage in Mitchell.

A separate extension for staff administration is still underway and not expected to be completed until June.

Mr Sayers said next step would likely be a revamping of the internal galleries so that visitors had a more "coherent" experience of the museum. Most of the galleries were now 12 years old and in need of a re-jig.

"I think that the museum has from day one been a challenge for people in terms of the coherence of the experience," Mr Sayers said.

"You sort of go from one thing to another and it can sometimes be quite challenging in terms of 'I'm not quite sure how that relates to that'."

He hoped any revamp would give visitors a "a greater sense they've been on a journey" when they came to the museum.

1 comment

  • Looks good, but we don't appear to have received much for our money.

    I know they have expanded into the old cafe area, but the Museum is still too small. I have taken many intestate visitors through it over the past 12 years and most leave disappointed there isn't more to see.

    Another (big) expansion required, bringing in a lot of those things in storage at Mitchell.

    Commenter
    Realist
    Date and time
    February 23, 2013, 10:48AM
    Comments are now closed

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