Ever since I became the Australian Museum’s (AM) Director and CEO, I’ve wanted to see the AM full of happy visitors bubbling with life - and it’s brilliant to have some good news to share. We’ve calculated the latest numbers, and the AM is breaking new visitor records with more than 100,000 visitors across the two weeks of the recent July School Holidays.

I’m delighted because it’s such a rewarding combination of brilliant family attractions like the blockbuster Jurassic World by Brickman® exhibition and our new absolute must-see children’s gallery, Burra, which I talked about in my last post.

Forty four percent of the visitors during the July school holiday period paid to experience the blockbuster Jurassic World by Brickman® exhibition. This, coupled with free general entry, means achieving attendance numbers we usually only see at big sporting events like the footy or the cricket!

The NSW Government’s support for arts and culture is critical right now. We are fortunate to be able to extend free general admission to the AM for the next year thanks to the support of the NSW Government.

And there’s an upcycling economic boost in the community too for our neighbouring businesses – everything helps. We love to see ‘all boats rise’ – new ways of learning, quality family time spent together and a thriving community around the Museum. What’s better than that?

Back in 2014 when I first joined the AM, our visitation was 320,000 per annum – and now we’ve recorded 50,000 per week, over two weeks, and we’re on our way to recording our highest annual attendance ever.

That’s a true team effort and testament to our service-oriented approach across every department. I am so proud of the AM team and what we are creating here.

And there’s more too - we have our very own, homegrown Sharks exhibition to look forward to, opening in September. After it debuts in Sydney it will travel the world starting in North America.

As we all tighten our belts and lean in to balancing our own tougher household budgets, it’s my plan that we continue to find new and even more innovative partners and collaborators to provide the level of quality programming and access that we’ve been able to share this year.

Igniting wonder through the renewed character and energy of Australia’s first museum – still bursting with fresh ventures – means new generations and new demographics will be continuing to share critical learning about protecting our world. There is nothing more urgent and important to me than that. Kim McKay