Museum of the Riverina Redevelopment
The Museum of the Riverina's Botanic Gardens site at 127 Lord Baden Powell Drive is ready to grow.
A redevelopment project currently underway aims to make major improvements to the museum's exhibition spaces, collection storage and staff areas. These will help Museum of the Riverina to conserve the objects in our care, and tell our region's story in new ways to wider audiences.
Landscaping of the outdoor display area and the construction of specialist outdoor displays will make it easier for everyone to enjoy the museum's collection of agricultural machinery.
Many significant pieces of agricultural machinery will be protected from the elements for the first time.
New storage and work spaces will allow the museum to stabilise and conserve important collection items out of the weather.
Important items, such as the state-significant Cook’s Galley, will be relocated to a dedicated indoor exhibition space and made more accessible to the public.
A new office for the Wagga Wagga & District Historical Society will preserve the special relationship between Museum of the Riverina and its parent society.
- Exciting new exhibitions for all ages exploring the people and environment of Wagga Wagga and surrounds.
- New pathways indoor and out will give better accessibility to wheelchairs and prams exploring the museum.
- Twice as much storage will mean the museum's 25,000 object collection will be better cared for in climate-controlled conditions
- A specialist classroom will facilitate workshops, meetings and school programs.
There are lots of good reasons to upgrade the museum - here are a couple.
1. We're bursting at the seams
Museums are like icebergs - most of the work happens below the surface, out of sight to the public. At any one time you can see hundreds of fascinating objects on display, but thousands more are being carefully stored in our storage areas and sheds. We actively care for about 20,000 objects, but we have run out of space to do it properly.
One third of our collection objects are textiles - which are especially tricky to preserve. The upgrade will double the amount of climate-controlled storage space we have, and will include a walk in freezer - essential for killing off bugs and weevils that might take up residence in old fabrics!
2. Museums should be for everybody
Some of the most interesting and significant items in our collection are large agricultural machines - ploughs, tractors, and plenty more that you might not recognise. Presently, visitors need to traverse our steep, slippery, rocky outdoor display area to see them.
Terraced, accessible pathways will be installed to guide visitors of all abilities through our outdoor displays.
At the bottom of our site, a large storage shed will be constructed to help us protect some of the more fragile machines from the elements.This will also have space to allow restoration teams to stabilise and protect our region's agricultural heritage.
3. To pass on stories to future generations
Part of our job as a regional museum is to support the amazing work done by historical societies and volunteer-run museums right across the Riverina region. We also play an important role in providing educational experiences to visiting school students.
A dedicate workshop/classroom will help us to share history skills and stories with volunteers and students from near and far, to ensure that our whole community benefits from the work we do.
When will it happen?
2018 - Development of concept design and grant funding receipt.
January 2019 – Museum closed for commence of the relocation of collection into safe, temporary storage locations.
2019 - Detailed design completed and procurement commences.
First quarter 2020 – Procurement completed and construction contract awarded.
March 2020 - Construction start.
December 2020 - Construction completion.
2021 - Fit out and relocation of the permanent collection back onto the redeveloped site.
2021 – Museum grand reopening
The Museum redevelopment plans and concepts are on public exhibition. Feedback and comments close on 19 August 2019.
A 25 tonne crane was in action this month to assist with the huge task of relocating the majority of the Museum of the Riverina’s collection to a safe, off-site storage location.
One item that will remain on site is the heritage-listed Cook’s Galley. Council successfully secured a $20,000 heritage grant from the Office of Environment & Heritage to fund the professional conservation of this significant object.
Work started in March and continues this month to relocate historic agricultural equipment from the Museum of Riverina Botanic Gardens to an off-site storage location. A collection of ploughs, cultivators, rakes and a 1920s McCormick-Deering tractor (pictured below) were among the historic pieces moved; some of which are historically significant to the area.
The careful relocation and secure storage of the museum’s collection is an important stage in the redevelopment project. Architects are currently preparing a design for the redevelopment which includes an extension to the current building, modifications to the existing building and site landscaping.
More than $900,000 has been allocated for the delivery of a new project to enhance the Botanic Gardens precinct, with funding from Wagga Wagga City Council and the NSW Government's Regional Growth and Environment Tourism program.
The project forms part of the overall Botanic Gardens Master Plan and will:
- Provide an accessible footpath with interactive stations to connect the Botanic Gardens and the Museum of the Riverina, so that visitors can move between the two precinct areas with greater ease.
- Enhance the Bamboo gardens, improve and refurbish some of the animal enclosures at the zoo and install engaging and informative signage to educate visitors.
Below: Team members from the Botanic Gardens and the Museum of the Riverina take a look over the gardens' master plan at the announcement of a $900,000 project to improve the popular facility.
Architects have started community consultation as part of the detailed design phase of the project. At the November meeting Councillors voted to accept Panovscott Pty Ltd’s tender for the detailed design stage of the redevelopment.
The detailed design stage of the redevelopment will commence after a resolution by Councillors in the 29 October meeting to accept the successful tenderer.
Note: The site will be closed from 29 January 2019. Visitors are reminded that the Museum’s Historic Council Chambers site will remain open.
Video: Architectural concept showing the revamped outdoor display areas which will be incorporated into the upgrade of Museum of the Riverina's Botanic Gardens site.
Passers by will see more than 50 metres of mesh wrapped around the site's fence.
Work has begun in the outdoor display areas of the museum. With landscaping works set to begin in early 2019, many of the display objects will need to be moved into safe temporary storage over coming months.
The below preliminary concept depicts terraced walkways carved into the hillside, enabling safe and easy access of the museum's outdoor display areas.
Specialist outdoor displays will showcase some of the more significant items from the museum's collection of agricultural innovations.
Proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Wagga Wagga City Council.