MCG’s National Sports Museum set for major upgrade

The National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is to benefit from significant renovation work ahead of Australia’s staging of the Twenty20 World Cup next year.

Plans have been released for an Aus$17.1m (£9.4m/€10.8m/$12.2m) upgrade of the museum, a popular tourist attraction for fans visiting the MCG. The Victorian Government will contribute Aus$5m towards the project.

As part of the upgrades, the museum will embrace the latest technology and create a more interactive experience for guests. The ‘Game On’ gallery will benefit from a full revamp, while a new Australian football section will also launch, featuring a more interactive Hall of Fame.

New characters will be added to the ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ holograms, a new gallery will be introduced to reflect Australia’s sporting culture, and the education zone will be upgraded.

The number and diversity of sports featured in the museum will also be increased, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes and other under-represented groups to be showcased. Additionally, the museum will further celebrate Australia’s reputation as a sporting nation from grassroots to elite level.

“If the MCG is the home of Australian sport then the National Sports Museum is the heart of it,” Melbourne Cricket Club president Steven Smith said.

“Sport is about who we are as a nation. Everyone has a story and connection to sport and its pivotal role in Australia’s social, cultural and national identity. It’s part of our fabric.

“This upgrade will ensure a visit to the National Sports Museum is fun, exciting and interactive and offer a shared family experience that will encourage people to come back over and over again.

“The new-look National Sports Museum will be a leading-edge venue in the sporting and cultural landscape and we’re thrilled by the support from the State Government to ensure we create a vibrant and unique sporting experience for all visitors.”

The museum will close later this year to allow the renovation work to take place. It is scheduled to reopen in time for the Women’s T20 World Cup final, which will be held at the MCG on March 8, 2020. The men’s tournament will be held later in 2020.

The museum opened in March 2008 and houses Australia’s largest collection of sporting memorabilia. Smith said that more than 140,000 people visit the museum or take an MCG tour each year.