Museum of Australian Democracy reopening soon

By Shannon Jenkins

June 11, 2020

Museum of Australian Democracy. Adobe

Canberra’s Museum of Australian Democracy will reopen next week after three months of closed doors.

From June 15, the public will be able to access two exhibitions in the lower gallery — Behind the Lines, and Truth, Power and a Free Press.

The main floor will be used for ongoing conservation work and preparation for three new exhibitions.

The first exhibition will explore visitors’ experiences of democracy and is scheduled to open in August. The second is set to open before the end of the year and will “tell the story of the National Party of Australia”.

Meanwhile, extensive renovation work is underway in preparation for a major exhibition due to launch in 2021, which will explore the “rich fabric of Australia’s unique democracy”, such as key moments that shaped Australia.

MoAD’s closure has meant the completion of a capital works project could be brought forward, according to director Daryl Karp.

“One aspect of the project is vital conservation works throughout the heritage building,” she said.

“As custodians of Old Parliament House, we want to ensure the beautiful heritage spaces are available to visitors for generations to come.”

A team of architects, painters, plasterers, and conservators has been using John Smith Murdoch’s original plans to conduct “essential work” in the Senate Chamber, including stabilising the wall render, conserving fabric panels, and refreshing paint.

Former Liberal senator Nick Minchin was recently named chair of the Old Parliament House Board, while former Labor MP Gai Brodtmann was made a member.

Karp said she looked forward to working on future projects with the new appointees.

“The wealth of knowledge [Minchin] brings from his experience both inside and outside the Parliament will be invaluable, along with Ms Brodtmann’s extensive knowledge of the National Cultural Institutions,” she said.

“We look forward to working with them and the other members of the board to continue to tell the story of Australia’s democracy and inspiring Australians to play an active role in its future.”

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