Visitors to the WA Museum are hesitant to pay the general admission fee from October 10, as the free offer ends
Tech Updates

Visitors to the WA Museum are hesitant to pay the general admission fee from October 10, as the free offer ends

Visitors to the new WA Museum will start paying for general admission after the grand opening offer ends, sparking calls to extend the freebie as households struggle with a high cost of living and emerge from COVID hibernation.

When construction of the state-of-the-art WA Museum Boola Bardip was nearly complete in December 2019, Arts Minister David Templeman announced free admission for the first 18 months of the operation to celebrate its opening.

The $400 million contemporary complex, which wraps around historic buildings, opened in November 2020, so the freebie was set to end in May this year.

A government spokeswoman told The West Australian on Friday that it had been extended until the end of October’s school holidays to encourage people to visit the city and support local hospitality and small businesses.

WA Museum visitors baulk at paying general admission charge from October 10 as free offer ends | PerthNow

“We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit this incredible new attraction in the coming months,” she said.

“Starting October 10, children 15 and under will remain free, with a modest admission fee of $15 for adults and $10 for concessions that go directly toward the museum’s operating costs.”

Shadow Culture and Art Minister Peter Collier said the charges were fairly modest but called on the state government to extend the free offer for another 12 months, saying it could afford to do so with its large budget surplus and to get praise from the public.

“The intent of the new museum was to make it as accessible as possible to all Western Australians,” said Mr C.ollier.

“To get out of COVID… an environment where everyone has been in the closet for the past two years… if we want to get people out, return to places like Northbridge where you have community involvement, you couldn’t have a more in-depth example of that than the museum.”

Several visitors to the museum agreed, including Raymi and her son, 10-year-old Byron, who have been there half a dozen times after waiting four years since the old one closed.

Camera icon Visitors to the new WA Museum are hesitant to pay for general admission after free entry ends, saying they are already looking for a parking space, warning that this will deter visitors to Northbridge. Credit: WA Museum/Delivered

“That’s really sad because it’s just such a wealth of knowledge and an amazing museum,” she said when she heard the free entry was ending.

“The extension could be a little longer.

“I just think it’s tragic – I know a lot of families who haven’t had the chance.

“With COVID, many people wouldn’t have gone out and are just getting started. With visitors, it’s just great to show how it’s been revamped.

“I know they need profitability, but the public deserves a little longer for free. We just paid for parking.”

Raymi, whose husband Paul was visiting the museum for the first time, said the couple would “definitely” hesitate to call for $30 each.

“We would limit it — there are budget constraints,” she said.

“I don’t think they will get that many people through the door.”

The first-time visitors, Daniel and Michelle, said they wouldn’t come again if they had to pay.

“We (WA) are in such a good position financially, so it doesn’t really make sense,” he said.

“I’d look for something else to do.

“Keep it free.”

But another couple, visiting for the first time with their 15-month-old son Isaac, said the price was reasonable for such a great museum.

“I don’t think it will stop us. We study history, and we appreciate these things,” said David.

“And there are lovely places inside to break out and have your own quiet time,” Janet added.

David, an architect, was particularly impressed with the design of the building.

“It’s fantastic. I love how they’ve combined the old building with the new one and how it really frames the city,” he said.

“From the higher levels, you can see the entire city skyline captured in a long landscape window.

“It’s rooted in its place, in WA and the city of Perth itself.”

Recent state budget documents revealed that $7.5 million would be spent above forward estimates to cover increased operating costs for Boola Bardip and the extension of free access.