Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Castlemaine Art Museum looks to the future

The team at the Castlemaine Art Museum was thrilled to receive grant funding from the state government. Photo: Supplied.

Allanah Sciberras, Castlemaine Art Museum looks to the future after receiving funding, 22 March 2021

Creating universal access for visitors and restoring its historical facade are some projects that are on the horizon at the Castlemaine Art Museum.

After receiving funding from both Heritage Victoria and Creative Victoria, the team at the museum said they were excited to see what the future brings.

Castlemaine Art Museum director Naomi Cass welcomed the grant funding and said it enabled the museum to push forward with different projects.

“It’s overall a really exciting time for the Castlemaine Art Museum,” she said.

“We are grateful for all the support we have received and it has really enabled us to now open with a full house of works.

“The standard and the breath of the work is really a great achievement and we are representing not only local artists but right through to international artists.”

Last week, the museum received $100,000 in state government funding.

The funding will be used to undertake master planning to redevelop, update and expand the museum, creating a new visitor drawcard for the region and an accessible venue for the whole community.

The project builds on in-depth audience research commissioned by the museum in 2018 to understand what the community wants and needs from the venue and key factors that attract visitors.

“The funding received will go towards engaging an architect to work with the board, the trustees and a range of experts,” Ms Cass said.

Opening this weekend, the Castlemaine Art Museum was filled with many visitors. Photo: Supplied.

“We will be looking at how this space can remain true and honour its original design and intent and yet be a fully functioning contemporary space.

“We will be focusing on universal access now because unless you are an able-bodied person, it isn’t easy to access the museum.

“We want one entrance for everyone, and we want to welcome everyone.”

Castlemaine’s century-old art museum came close to shutting its doors back in 2017 due to falling revenue and rising costs.

An eleventh-hour donation from an anonymous person saved the museum from immediate closure, with the $250,000 gift ensuring its doors stayed open for at least two more years.

Ms Cass said it was exciting to now be looking to the future.

“Through listening to the community, respecting the building, respecting the traditional owners of country and being active in generating financial support for the gallery, we have been able to demonstrate how we see the museum moving forward,” she said.

“We never wanted to put up a notice and say this is our vision and this is how we will get there. We want to do it now.

“It’s our job to provide nourishment for different aspects for our community.

“We opened on the weekend and it’s been a great pleasure to hear form the community there excitement about this new time for the gallery and we are really open to expertise and ideas from our local community.”

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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