Burra – the AM’s upcoming, interactive children’s education space – is due to open in July 2022. Burra offers a ‘many-ways’ experience where First Nations and Pasifika knowledge systems and Western science are brought together in layers of learning that promote living well with Country and each other.
When the Australian Museum First Nations team was tasked with creating a new education space that would represent Pacific, south-east First Nations and Western ways of knowing, local First Nations custodians kept returning to one animal teacher: Burra, the Eel.
Eels are born in the warm Pacific waters of the Coral Sea before swimming thousands of kilometres and across the East Australian Current to the Gadigal Coast and other eastern First Nations. Entering Estuaries and Rivers, the young Eels travel inland — including throughout the Sydney Basin — where they live and grow for up to 50 years. The mature Eels then return to the Coast to journey across the Ocean back to the Pacific to breed before dying.
In Burra — opening in July 2022 — visitors are invited to join a mob of Eels as they make their amazing journey, meeting different animal teachers along the way. Replacing Search & Discover on Level 2, Burra will feature two multi-purpose teaching spaces and several versatile programming areas, an immersive theatre, custom-made touchable First Nations tools, sensory walls and dioramas showcasing the work of the Australian Museum Research Institute, and a range of multi-modal, accessible interactives.
The space will offer a ‘many-ways’ experience where Western science and First Nations knowledge systems are brought together in layers of learning, breaking down the view that they are at odds with each other. School groups, children and adults will have opportunities to engage with different ways of knowing within each topic, providing a rich, multi- dimensional learning experience.
Burra was made possible through a generous bequest made by Patricia McDonald and the Australian Museum Foundation with support from the NSW Government as part of Project Discover. Learn more about donating to the Australian Museum.