16 March 2022

Wagga's museum redevelopment on track for end of year open

| Max O'Driscoll
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Two men standing in front of a metal structure

Project Manager Tom Lemerle and Museum Manager Luke Grealy inspect the structural steel being installed for the new exhibition gallery at the Museum of the Riverina’s Botanic Gardens site. Photo: City of Wagga Wagga Council.

The structural steel for the new exhibition gallery in the $4.88 million redevelopment of the Museum of the Riverina’s Botanic Gardens site has been installed and the facility is on track to reopen later this year.

When complete, the redevelopment will deliver major improvements to the museum including a new exhibition gallery, community learning space, upgrade of the existing museum building and improve the overall access and visitor experience.

The capital works are planned to be complete by the middle of the year, and then the “return to site” process for the collection holdings from temporary storage will commence.

Museum Manager Luke Grealy spoke to the excitement regarding the future of the museum.

“These improvements will enable us to care for the 25,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection holdings and tell our city’s and the wider region’s story in new ways to wider audiences,” Mr Grealy said.

“We will have a collection storage facility, including cold storage object treatment and processing spaces, dedicated collection storage and staff office spaces.”

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The project manager for the redevelopment, Tom Lemerle, said that the new exhibition gallery is located at the front of the existing museum building. He suggested that while it’s only the structural steel that’s been installed, it gives an indication of the form the final building will have when complete.

“Once the structural steel is completed, the roof will go on and then we will proceed with the building fit-out and finishes,” Mr Lemerle said.

“In the existing museum building, the focus has been on plastering works and internal wall linings and that’s all completed ready for painting now.

“We are upgrading the existing building into a really good storage space for the museum’s collections.”

Business manager for the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber Serena Hardwick said that it was great to see the fruits of significant investment in a Wagga tourism attraction.

“It’s definitely a benefit to Wagga and the businesses that exist here,” Ms Hardwick said.

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“It will allow travelling exhibitions to come to town, so it’s enhancing the cultural diversity of what’s on offer here.

“Adding to the tourism offering means that Wagga has potential to service all different kinds of tourists that are coming to the city and it’s really this diversity that makes it the perfect place to come.”

The project is funded through the State Government’s NSW Regional Cultural Fund ($3.18 million) and the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund ($1.7 million).

At the time the funding was announced, Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens was “one of the most visited places in all of the Riverina”.

“This well-deserved funding will go towards renewal works at the precinct, including construction of a new exhibition hall, museum refurbishment and an upgrade to public outdoor spaces,” Mr McCormack said.

Original Article published by Max O’Driscoll on About Regional.

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