New Museum
Mon, 09/01/2014 - 10:52 page

New Museum Project

The New Museum for Western Australia is one of the most significant museum redevelopments in the world today, and one of which all Western Australians should be incredibly proud. 

Developed in the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre, it will share the stories of our people and place, acting as a gateway to explore all of Western Australia.  It will reflect the extraordinary history, distinctiveness, creativity and diversity of our State and region.

Over the course of the project, and long after the doors have opened in 2020, the people of WA will be invited to contribute to the way we present the stories of our past, present and future. We will encourage dialogue, debate and the sharing of multiple perspectives to identify the stories and experiences that are important to our State.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to create a museum that is both reflective and worthy of WA.  Our ambition is to be an excellent and vibrant Museum, valued and used by all Western Australians and admired by the world.

Download the New Museum brochure here 


What is in the New Museum?

Over the course of the project, the Western Australian Museum in Perth will be transformed with the development of a new building that will integrate with the current heritage buildings including the Old Gaol, Hackett Hall, and the Jubilee and Beaufort Street wings – which will be refurbished inside and out.

The New Museum will significantly increase the space available allowing us to create:

  • New exhibitions based on the three major themes; Being Western AustralianDiscovering Western Australia and Exploring the World;
  • Touring and temporary exhibition spaces for to international, national and local stories and collections;
  • Interactive and experiential spaces where visitors can engage with Museum staff and collections and participate in the research, investigation and preservation work that normally goes on behind-the-scenes. We're calling this Revealing the Museum;
  • Learning spaces for programs; events and activities; and
  • Function spaces, café and retail services.

The new building  is being designed to integrate with the existing heritage buildings, creating a modern and contemporary museum experience.


Who will design and build the New Museum?

The contract to design and build the new museum for Western Australia in Perth has reached an important milestone with the State Government announcing that it will enter into exclusive negotiations with the team led by Brookfield Multiplex, working with international architects OMA and Hassell.

OMA and its principal architect Rem Koolhaas have a global reputation for creating dramatic architecture. They are responsible for many high profile international projects including the expansion of Quebec’s Musee national des beaux-arts, the Seattle Public Library and the China Central Television Building in Beijing. Hassell are major contributors to the revitalisation of Sydney’s Darling Harbour and designed Perth’s 140 William St development.

The concept design will be released once the contract is awarded which is scheduled to occur mid-2016.

The New Museum is due to open in 2020.


Message from the Hon Colin Barnett MLA
Premier of Western Australia

Premier The Hon Colin Barnett MLA

The new museum for Western Australia is an historic project that will significantly contribute to the continuing emergence of Perth as a modern and vibrant city, and showcase WA as a world class destination.

In addition to the State’s major projects including Elizabeth Quay, Perth City Link, Riverside development, the new Perth Stadium and Fiona Stanley Hospital, the new museum will contribute to the infrastructure and services needed to support future generations of Western Australians. 

The new museum will be developed using a People First approach, to create a landmark building for our State that will allow its people to share the stories that are important to them.

It will deliver unparalleled access to the State’s remarkable stories and produce a world class visitor experience.

This is a very exciting time for Western Australia and I invite all Western Australians to follow the new museum’s progress and contribute stories that are important to the past, present and future of our State.       


Message from the Hon John Day MLA
Minister for Culture and the Arts

Hon John Day MLA Minister for Culture and the Arts

The new museum for Western Australia is a truly exciting project for our State. As Minister for Culture and the Arts I am delighted that we have this unique opportunity to create a new museum to showcase Western Australia and its amazing stories to the world.

This State Government recognises the critical role that museums play in building communities, supporting the economy, creating knowledge and promoting learning.

The new museum for Western Australia will be at the heart of its community – a place where people can explore their identity, culture, environment and sense of place. It will be inclusive and inspirational, allowing people to share their stories physically and virtually.

Over the course of the project the people of Western Australia will be encouraged to reflect on what it means to live and work in this great State; to explore and engage with our history, environment and biodiversity; and to celebrate and acknowledge our status as a major commercial and cultural force in the world. 

I encourage you to become a part of this unique opportunity to help shape the stories that will represent Western Australia now, and for generations to come. 


Restoration of the heritage buildings

The New Museum will be developed on the site of the existing Western Australian Museum and will integrate with the heritage buildings.

Conservation work to the facades of the Old Gaol, Hackett Hall, Jubilee and Beaufort Street buildings is now complete. 

You can find out more about the history of the Western Australian Museum and the former uses of the heritage buildings on the Perth Cultural Centre site here.

WA Museum

Upgrades to the Collection and Research Facility 

The New Museum project also includes critical improvements to the Museum’s Collection and Research Centre (CRC) in Welshpool, which will continue to house the Museum’s research laboratories and working collections.

The upgrades include new collection storage, laboratories and workshops to support ongoing research and to ensure that collections can be adequately prepared and conserved. 

Welshpool upgrade artist's concept

Artist's concept of the Collection and Research Centre

Project Timeline

  1. Project Definition Planning phase, completed in 2014.
  2. Selection of Managing Contractor mid 2016.
  3. Early works commence in late 2016.
  4. Building complete in 2019.
  5. Exhibition installation throughout 2019 - 2020.
  6. The New Museum complete and doors open in 2020.

Project Management

The New Museum is a major project for Western Australia and is managed by a team comprising  the  Department of Culture and the ArtsWestern Australian Museum and led by the Department of Treasury Strategic Projects and Asset Sales.

The New Museum is part of the State Government's Get the Bigger Picture initiative along with the Fiona Stanley Hospital, the new Children's Hospital, the new Perth Stadium, Perth City Link, Elizabeth Quay and Riverside Drive development.

For current progress on major projects, including the latest traffic information for Perth go to Get the Bigger Picture. 

For Suppliers

Expressions of Interest for Managing Contractors (EOI)

The Expressions of Interest invitation has now closed. Three world-class consortia led by John HollandBrookfield Multiplex and a joint venture between Doric Group and Técnicas Reunidas, have been short-listed to design and construct the New Museum. The successful Managing Contractor is expected to be selected in late 2015.  

Invitation to Register Interest to Supply Goods and Services

The New Museum Project Team is inviting suppliers to provide information about the goods and services they supply that may be relevant to the New Museum. These may include:

  • Building supplies and services;
  • Museum content-related products and services; and
  • Museum operations products and services.

Suppliers can register their interest by completing this form.

Aboriginal Supplier and Employment Opportunities

The New Museum Project Team encourages Aboriginal businesses, contractors, and suppliers of goods or services interested in participating in the New Museum Project to register their interest by completing this form. 

We are looking to maximise economic opportunities for Aboriginal people within the Project through training and employment, and in the supply of goods and services for the construction and commissioning phases of the project.  These goods and services will relate to a number of areas of building supplies and services including construction, furniture and equipment installation as well as Museum content-related products and services and Museum operations products and services. 

Project Aspirations

People First

The New Museum is being developed with a philosophy of ‘People First’, ensuring the people of Western Australia are at the centre of its development and content.

Community voices will be incorporated, whether physically in the new displays, through outreach programs, or virtually through our digital and technological connections. It will embrace our State’s diversity through individual and shared stories and multiple perspectives will be encouraged to generate discussion, debate and meaningful connections.

Everyone will be welcome. The New Museum will be a unique place for meeting, gathering, remembering, interacting, playing, exploring, thinking, and contemplating. 

Portrait of people hugging

Western Australia

The New Museum will be a gateway to exploring Western Australia and a place where locals and visitors will begin their journey of discovery.

Innovative and engaging spaces will create a sense of WA’s unique character through its environment, landscape and people.

Visitors will explore our State and share the sense of wonder that we feel about this immense, ancient and amazing place!

Above all, we want to demonstrate Western Australia’s place in the world and showcase its extraordinary past and its exciting future.

Karijini National Park

Design Excellence

The New Museum will be an innovative and exciting place appealing to, and welcoming all Western Australians and visitors to our State.

It will be a landmark destination that will significantly contribute to the vibrancy of Perth and its Cultural Centre by creating a unique presence that reflects our city and the whole of our State.

The building, its content and programs will be designed to provide a diverse range of activities, whilst encouraging a rich mix of partnerships that will contribute to a dynamic cultural precinct.

As we develop the New Museum, we will be investigating and implementing the latest techniques in design, sustainability, new technologies, accessibility and visitor engagement to create a museum that will inspire people to explore and discover WA for generations to come.

Painted shields from the Museum collection

The Activated Museum

The Activated Museum is our concept for an ever-changing, dynamic and creative visitor experience which contains flexible, active and content-rich spaces throughout. Content will include collections, commissioned art, interactive exhibits, dynamic and immersive multimedia, participatory opportunities to create content and, of course, visiting exhibitions from around the world.

This activation includes spaces for debate, ideas, memories, conversations and creative responses. It will provide opportunities for people to reflect on their lives and the future of Western Australia, and explore ways to take action for change.  

Family playing with ipads in Museum

Q&A Fact Sheet

What is the budget for the project?
Approximately (AUD) $428 million.

Who is funding the project?
The New Museum is a major project for the State Government of Western Australia and significant funding has been committed in the State budget forward estimates.

Where will it be built?
The New Museum will be built in the Perth Cultural Centre on the existing WA Museum site, with a new building integrating with the existing heritage buildings.

When will the New Museum be open?
The expected opening date is in 2020.

When will the building construction start?
Early works may start in the second half of 2016.

How can I get involved?
You can have your say on the Museum website, sign up to our regular newsletters and contribute to our stories and at the Museum and online.

Why do we need a New Museum?
The Museum’s main buildings in Perth are showing their age and our State Government recognises the importance of developing cultural infrastructure, both for the benefit of Western Australians and to attract investors, employers, workers and visitors. The New Museum project will provide better physical, sensory and intellectual access for all Western Australians and new opportunities to explore past, present and future of this great State.

Who is managing the project?
The New Museum team comprises the Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australian Museum and is led by the Department of Treasury, Strategic Projects and Asset Sales.

How big will it be?
The New Museum will be up to 22-23,000m2 comprising of a new building, refurbished existing heritage buildings and public space.

Can I make a cash contribution?
Yes! Although the Government is providing funds to build the Museum, we are seeking to build  an endowment which will help fund the exhibitions, activities and research that will ensure that the Museum remains exciting, relevant and vital for many years to come. Please visit the Support us page on this site or contact the Western Australian Museum Foundation.

How can I find out more?
This website is updated regularly with project information.  You can also register to receive updates and information through the Your Say section of this site or join us on Facebook, Twitter of Instagram. 

Keep in touch:
Email -
Facebook - /wamuseum
Twitter - @wamuseum
Instagram - /wamuseum

Location of the New Museum 

The New Museum will be developed in the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre on the corner of James and Francis Streets, Northbridge.   The current  Museum is still open. Find out What's On today! 

Western Australian Museum - Perth Map


Museum staff