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Tourism Boost for Murray Art Museum Albury

Ken Raff, The Stage (detail), 2021. MAMA Installation View. Photo Jeremy Weihrauch
Murray Art Museum Albury

Murray Art Museum Albury is one of the busiest art museums in NSW, with visitor numbers in Autumn this year the highest on record since the Museum’s 2015 opening.

‘The border closures and stay at home orders have certainly impacted visitor numbers’ says Director Bree Pickering, ‘but the COVID-normal periods, such as March to May this year, have been our busiest ever’.

The art museum continues to be a key attraction for the Murray region, recently receiving two major tourism grants aimed at helping the region’s visitor economy recover from the stressors of the last 18 months. Destination NSW have provided funding for two projects, $105,000 will go towards a new dedicated children’s gallery and activity area, and improved visitor services. An additional $40,000 was awarded to improve the promotion of the museum within the region.

 ‘"We often overlook the value of tourism here in Albury, but the reality is that we’re on the busiest highway route in Australia. 50% of visitors to the museum come from outside the region. They’re stopping in on their road trips, or visiting friends and family, and while they’re in town they are spending money. Whether its just petrol and lunch, or whether they stay a few nights with friends – everyone benefits."

Bree Pickering

MAMA plans to use the funds to upgrade the ground floor of the museum to include a more open and engaging entryway, an acknowledgement of Wiradjuri Country at the entry, and a new dedicated children’s gallery and activity space for families. The upgrade will enable a transformative experience for all visitors and add to the overall appeal of visiting Albury and the Riverina Murray region.

‘What we now understand is the value of drop-in-anytime activities for kids and families. Coming to the Museum at a specific time for an event or class with kids is really hard. This way, families can come and hang out at the museum anytime and know that there will be a special place for them.’ Pickering continues, ‘The children’s gallery space will be designed by artists and regularly reimagined to keep the space fresh and engaging. This new space will provide a valuable anchor for families to visit the Albury CBD.’

The improvements to the visitor services at entry will include opening the area up for greater access to the store, a new bank of public lockers, and functional improvements that will enable the museum to operate guided tours and tourism experiences that are increasingly in demand from travellers.

 ‘We’ve had 5 years operating in the current facility and we’ve really learned what works and doesn’t work in the original design. Tourism has become even more important in the last 5 years, and we have an opportunity now to expand our offering and help the Murray Region make the most of the domestic tourism growth that is happening.’

The refurbishments are scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, subject to trade availability and procurement processes.

This project received support from the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, through the 2020 - 2021 Experience Enhancement Fund.