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A woman is sitting inside a colourful tent, holding a large brown teddy bear under one arm and a young girl under the other.

A wondrous new centre is being developed at the National Museum of Australia.

Beginning with our youngest audiences, the centre will bring the Museum’s rich and diverse collections to life in extraordinary ways, immersing young minds, bodies and hearts in the great stories of Australia.

The centre is expected to open in 2021.

The Museum has selected Melbourne-based company Arterial Design as the experience designers of the centre.

Arterial has developed experiences for children at the Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo, and the Arboretum playground.


The centre will focus on hands-on, play-based experiences.

Imagine young children visiting a magical billabong and seeing themselves as a mysterious bunyip, or finding out what it feels like to be a joey in a kangaroo’s pouch. They might cuddle Nelson, the heroic Newfoundland dog, or look for Trim, the adventurous cat, who circumnavigated Australia with Matthew Flinders.

A maker space will allow children to engage in creative activities that relate directly to Museum stories, objects and themes. An innovative digital experience will also provide exciting opportunities for connections and discovery.

Other groups including remote and diverse audiences will benefit from a multipurpose, flexible space that will allow for a variety of exciting programs and experiences.

Visitor input

Museum visitors have provided input into the development of the centre throughout the project. Further testing and prototyping will continue as the design and experiences develop. The Museum intermittently opens a pop-up test lab, where families have provided invaluable feedback and ideas.

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