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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Museum’s push for new home

Maitland Regional Museum does not imagine a place filled with dusty glass cases full of stuffed animals.

Rather, it wants a potential new home to use technology to teach, inspire and tell the city’s stories.

The museum has pinned its hopes on the vacant lands’ office in East Maitland after the quest for a more suitable location hit a snag.

An application for a Regional Cultural Fund grant to purchase the old Maitland Mercury building in High Street, Maitland, was knocked back earlier this month.

However, the state government is in discussions with Maitland council over the possibility of handing the lands office to the community.

The museum’s executive will now meet with the council in early February.

Committee chairperson, Janece McDonald, said its vision had received incredible support.

“[We’ve had] a huge number of letters of support and we are continually being stopped in the street and supermarkets and asked by members of the public about our progress and given words of encouragement,” she said.

“Our vision is to create a museum that explores and displays Maitland’s history, built and natural environments, science and technology in a vibrant cultural hub.”

The museum views the lands office as the ideal site for many reasons.

Some of these include its proximity to the Melbourne Street precinct and transport; car and bus parking availability; highly visible location; park and picnic facilities nearby; and that it is already an established heritage hub.

Ms McDonald said the site would bring together like-minded groups in one space.

“Having the museum at this site will allow for the creation of a museum campus, which will include other groups such as the Clothing Museum, Maitland and District Historical Society, Maitland and Beyond Family History and a U3A office,” she said.

“It will be a one-stop cultural hub benefiting our community and the many tourists and researchers who visit each group individually.
“The sharing of this space makes it cost-effective for each group and will provide an income for the maintenance of the building.”

Ms McDonald added two large spaces would be suitable for exhibitions and could host travelling shows from museums and art companies.

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