Australian National Maritime Museum reopens with three exhibitions in time for school holidays

Water world: The Under Southern Skies exhibition showcases navigation in our region. Picture: Australian National Maritime Museum
Water world: The Under Southern Skies exhibition showcases navigation in our region. Picture: Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum has reopened its doors in time for the upcoming school holidays.

The popular attraction was among those forced to close as part of COVID-19 restrictions but reopened June 22 with a range of exciting new exhibitions that investigate our nation's relationship with the sea and the long history of its voyagers.

Federal Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher welcomed the reopening of the much-loved attraction.

"It was pleasing to see the Australian National Maritime Museum continue to engage with audiences online during the pandemic, but in line with the easing of social distancing restrictions, now is the time for visitors to return," he said.

The museum's chief executive and director Kevin Sumption said the closure was used to prepare three new exhibitions as part of the Encounters 2020 program marking the 250th anniversary of James Cook's 1770 voyage.

The largest, Under Southern Skies, showcases navigation in our region over centuries from the celestial navigation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through the European centuries of exploration up to modern times.

Looking at the continent from the four points of the compass, it investigates Australia's navigational history.

From a 13-metre dugout canoe from Papua New Guinea to silver coins from the wreck of the Batavia, it features over 500 objects from the museum's collection and a number of important new acquisitions to the national collection on display for the first time, including the William Bradley log from the HMS Sirius.

Another exhibition is Here: Kupe to Cook, which features incredible artworks by 20 leading Aotearoa New Zealand and Australian contemporary artists.

The artworks show the long and varied histories of South Pacific voyaging - from Kupe to the arrival of Captain James Cook in that country in 1769.

The third exhibition, Cook and the Pacific, is a graphic display from the National Library of Australia that follows James Cook's three remarkable Pacific voyages and explores the region through the eyes of the British voyagers and the First Nations people they met.

"The Encounters 2020 program provides an opportunity for visitors to reflect on more than 60,000 years of Indigenous custodianship through to more recent navigation and migration stories to help us better understand our shared history," Mr Fletcher said.

Due to social distancing measures, museum visitors are asked to pre-book their visit online. There will also be increased cleaning and hand sanitiser stations, as well as collection of visitor details as per NSW Health guidelines.

To book tickets click here.

Details: click here.