Old Parliament House's democracy museum celebrates three million visitors

By Shannon Jenkins

July 12, 2019

The Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) celebrated its three millionth visitor on Thursday, two months after it turned 10.

Housed in the iconic Old Parliament House, MoAD has engaged its visitors with “Australia’s rich democratic history and the intrinsic value of democracy” since 2009, and has operated as a corporate entity within the federal Communications portfolio since 2016.

Reaching the three-millionth-visitor milestone during MoAD’s tenth year cements the museum’s status as a premier destination for Australia’s democratic history, according to deputy director Andrew Harper.

“We are incredibly excited to reach three million visitors. It wouldn’t have been possible without our engaging exhibitions, events and programs developed by our hardworking staff and volunteers,” he said.

The milestone-making visitor was Olivia Cheong, a student from Emmanuel Catholic College in Perth.

She was visiting MoAD to take part in an interactive program with her school. The program allowed students to explore the heritage spaces of Old Parliament House, including locations where “decisions that shaped our nation were made”.

Last year, almost 90,000 students and teachers came from all ends of the nation to participate in MoAD’s learning programs.

While these programs are an excellent way to learn about Australia’s democracy, students don’t have to come to the capital to explore the iconic building, according to MoAD’s manager of learning, Deborah Sulway.

“While we often have students visiting from all over Australia, including Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, a student should have the same learning opportunities, regardless of whether they visit Canberra,” she said.

MoAD has recently developed a virtual program, the Digital Excursion, which allows students to participate in facilitated learning programs from their classrooms, free of charge every Tuesday and Thursday.

It allows students to take a virtual tour of Old Parliament House, learn about the importance of critical thinking in today’s media landscape, and explore the key values that underpin Australia’s democracy.

“Through the Digital Excursion, we aim to take democracy all over Australia, and prepare students for the future, by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to become active citizens,” Sulway said.

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