Australian Museum, Sydney
Glittering Prize: The Minerals Gallery
Goppion worked previously with the Australian Museum in 2017, providing showcases for its beautiful restoration of the grand Westpac Long Gallery. In 2022 we were invited to collaborate once more, this time on the brand new Minerals Gallery project.
The AMRI mineralogy and petrology collection has been an integral part of the nation’s natural history collection since the Museum’s inception in 1827. Since then, it has built up a world-class reference collection of almost 80,000 registered specimens of rocks, minerals and gemstones – more than 1,800 of which are on display in the new permanent Minerals Gallery today.
There, visitors are given a dazzling introduction to the Earth Sciences, with iconic specimens on display including crystals, rare gems, meteorites and some of Earth’s oldest rocks.
Working again with the Museum’s exhibition designer Aaron Maestri, Goppion provided 13 wall-mounted showcases and four special mounted cases positioned around the gallery’s ornate supporting pillars, which are such a distinctive feature of the Museum’s interior architecture.
Goppion also realized the supporting structures beneath the showcases, while all the cladding and the internal panels were provided in-house by the Museum. Close integration between the two design teams’ work was required to match these respective components seamlessly.
A particular challenge was engineering the four ‘pillar’ cases. To ensure structural resistance, these cases are not directly fixed to the pillars, but instead are supported by a robust surrounding structure that ‘hugs’ the pillars. These structures were realized on-site, following the production drawings made by Goppion.
Commenting on the new gallery, Australian Museum director and CEO Kim McKay said: “Visitors will not only gain a deeper appreciation of the gems and rare minerals that they know and love, but they will also learn about ‘out of this world’ meteorites and the key aspects of mineralogy and the critical roles minerals play in everything from transport to smartphones”.
The new Minerals Gallery was inaugurated in December 2022 and is free to the public.