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Festivals

Australia Day family festival, Thursday 26 January 2017

10am – 2pm | all ages | Main Hall and surrounds
Free (charges apply for some activities)
Exhibition entry fees apply

Dress up and celebrate history and the many cultures of Australia at our family festival inspired by the exhibition
A History of the World in 100 Objects.

Plan your visit below and please consider taking the free shuttle bus or using alternative modes of transport.

Highlights

Join us for historical battle enactments, falconry demonstrations, craft, games, entertainment and more.

PDF iconDownload the festival program and map (PDF 334kb) or collect one on the day

See the full program

Demonstrations and displays

  • Falconry demonstrations with Full Flight Conservation Centre
    10.30–11am and 1.30–2pm, Loop Amphitheatre, free
  • Mock battles with the Ancient Arts Fellowship
    11.15–11.30am and 12.30–12.45pm, Loop Amphitheatre, free
  • Fencing and heavy combat with the Society of Creative Anachronism
    11.45am – 12.15pm and 1–1.15pm, Loop Amphitheatre, free
  • Ancient Arts Fellowship encampment with leatherwork, armour, Viking traders and more
    10am – 2pm, Bogong moth lawns, free
  • Ceramics and pottery demonstrations with Canberra Potters Society
    10am – 2pm, Forecourt, free
  • Knife-making with Tharwa Valley Forge
    10am – 2pm, Forecourt, free
  • Calligraphy with Canberra Calligraphy Society
    10am – 2pm, Peninsula Room, free
  • Indigenous weaving with Ronnie Jordan from Culture on the Move
    10am – 2pm, Peninsula Room, free
  • Illuminated manuscripts and drop spindle spinning with the Society of Creative Anachronism
    10am – 2pm, Peninsula Room, free
  • Greyhound display with the ACT Greyhound Support Network
    10am – 2pm, Lakeside Amphitheatre, free
  • National Military Re-enactment Group from various historical eras
    10am – 2pm, Lakeside Amphitheatre, free

Craft and activities

  • Decorate your own Egyptian headdress and walk like an Egyptian
    10am – 2pm, Bay Window, gold coin donation
  • Make your own jester hat
    10am – 2pm, Bay Window, gold coin donation
  • Collaborative graffiti mural with local artist Byrd
    10am – 2pm, Garden of Australian Dreams, free
  • Calligraphy badge making and penmanship through the ages from the Canberra Calligraphy Society
    10am – 2pm, Peninsula Room, free
  • Henna hands with Rimz Couture
    10am – 12pm, Main Hall near cafe,$2
  • Egyptian eyes with Canberra Make up Academy
    12–2pm, Main Hall near cafe, $2

Games and play

  • Kubb, an ancient Viking game to celebrate victory
    10am – 2pm, Lakeside Amphitheatre, free
  • Giant chess and other board games
    10am – 2pm, Lakeside Amphitheatre, free
  • Medieval jumping castle
    10am – 2pm, Garden of Australian Dreams, $3

Workshops

  • Jester juggling with Warehouse Circus
    11am – 1pm, Garden of Australian Dreams, free
  • Shadow play, puppets and music with Marianne Mettes from PuppetOOdle
    10am – 2pm, Visions Theatre, free
  • Weaving with Indigenous weaver Veronica Jordan
    10am – 2pm, Peninsula Room, free
  • Belly dancing with Ghawazee Moon
    11.30am – 12pm, Forecourt Deck, free
  • Capoeira fighting, dance, play and acrobatics with Mestre Rodriguinho from Capoeira Senzala Australia
    12.30–1pm, Forecourt Deck, free

Entertainment

Main Hall, free

  • Acknowledgement and welcome to country
    10–10.05am
  • Wiradjuri Echoes dreamtime story cultural workshop
    10.10–10.30am
  • Belly dancing with Ghawazee Moon
    10.40–11.00am
  • Early 19th century dance, music and dress with Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy
    11.10–11.30am
  • Bollywood dance and workshop with Canberra School of Bollywood Dancing
    11.40am–12pm
  • Pacific Islander dance with United Nesian Movement
    12.10–12.30pm
  • Belly dancing with Ghawazee Moon
    12.40–1pm
  • Chinese lion dancing with Prosperous Mountain Lion Dance
    1.10–1.30pm
  • South American dance and capoeira demonstration
    1.40–2pm

David Attenborough's VR Experiences

Extra Australia Day sessions: 9.30am, 10.15am, 11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.15pm, 2pm, 2.45pm, 3.30pm, 4.15pm (not recommended for children under 13 and people with certain medical conditions)

Explore the first glimmerings of life on earth and take a breathtaking underwater tour of the Great Barrier Reef, using the latest virtual reality technology.

Tickets: $20 only available at the Info Hub in the Main Hall

More on the VR Experiences

Note: all activities, performances and timings are subject to change or cancellation

Live music and games, 5–9pm

Enjoy more free family fun with live music and games in our Outdoor Amphitheatre. Bring a picnic rug and settle in as the sun sets for the 9pm fireworks across the lake.

More on our live music and games

Plan your visit

Can I buy food and drinks? Yes. Broadbean Catering at the Museum Cafe will have refreshments on sale. Enjoy classic Australian food by the lake or a scrumptious international inspired menu inside.

Can I see A History of the World in 100 Objects? Yes, we have special extended Australia Day opening hours. Remember that this exhibition from the British Museum is in its finals days and numbers are limited for safety. Exhibition costs apply.

What's the best way of getting to the Museum? Catch the free ACTION Australia Day shuttle service between the city and the Museum from 9.30am to 2.15pm. Bus 934 to the Museum is also running on a standard Sunday timetable, or you could walk, cycle, take a taxi or ride share.

Is there car parking? Limited free parking is available at the Museum, though we recommend you use other modes of transport. You can also park at the Australian National University, Acton Park, New Acton and on London Circuit at the end of Edinburgh Avenue, then walk to the Museum.

Where can I find more information? See Plan your visit for more on accessibility and facilities for visitors. You might also like to see what else we're doing on Australia Day at the National Museum.


Highlights from earlier festivals

We celebrate exhibitions with a family festival on Australia Day and in winter each year.

Great Big Adventure festival 2016
Inspired by Happy Birthday Play School

Two women and a young girl doing a craft activity.
Festival photos on Flickr


Australia Day 2015
Inspired by Spirited


Festival photos on Flickr


NAIDOC week 2015 time lapse
Sacred Ground Installation with Helen Tiernan


Festival photos on Flickr

Australia Day 2016
Inspired by Encounters


Festival photos on Flickr


Australia Day 2014
Inspired by Old Masters and On Country


Festival photos on Flickr


NAIDOC week 2014 time lapse
Giant dugong floor mosaic


Festival photos on Flickr


See our calendar for more fun activities for families and children