Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

WA Museum Transition

Alec Coles, Director WAM with his favourite object – the Diprotodon fossil.

Western Australian Museum Media Release, The WA Museum is changing – come celebrate what you love!, 17 September 2015

The Western Australian Museum is entering the most exciting phase of its 124-year history with the creation of a New Museum at the Perth Cultural Centre.

WA Museum CEO Alec Coles said as part of the preparations for building work next year, the valuable and historically significant objects currently on display at the Museum’s Perth site would need to move to safe storage at the Museum’s Collections and Research Centre in Welshpool. But before they leave the building, every Western Australian is invited to come back to the Museum’s Perth site and celebrate their favourite object, gallery, space or experience and share their ideas about what they want to see in the New Museum in 2020.

“This is a very exciting time in the history of the WA Museum, and a great opportunity for the people of Western Australia to share their stories,” Mr. Coles said.

“The WA Museum has a long and proud history in the Perth Cultural Centre and we look forward to displaying our amazing collections and sharing the stories of Western Australia in new and spectacular ways, when doors to the New Museum open in 2020.”

These stories belong to all Western Australians and the Museum wants to give people the opportunity to have their say and nominate their favourite object. Today, the Museum launched its #faveobjects campaign where people can take pictures of their favourite object and upload them to the Museum’s website or share it with the Museum’s social media platforms.

“I’m kicking off the campaign with a picture of me with one of my favourite objects in the Perth Museum, the excavated fossil skeleton of a Diprotodon – an extinct giant wombat-like creature,” Mr Coles said.

“In fact, this specimen is a bit of a cheat because the skull and the rest of the skeleton are from two different animals – both fossil animals were found in the Pilbara and to me, they are so important because they represent a species of our unique extinct ‘megafauna’.

“Many people have heard of mammoths and wooly rhinoceroses, but these are northern hemisphere animals from glacial periods – in Australia we had our own unique marsupial megafauna, including the warm climate Diprotodon. This is an important story we need to tell the world.

“I encourage everyone to visit and take as many pictures as they want, telling us what they love about their WA Museum – Perth.”

Mr Coles said to allow the New Museum to be created in and around the beautiful heritage buildings that make up the current Museum’s Perth site, the site would be handed over to the Managing Contractor and would close, temporarily, to the public from mid June 2016, until the new building opened.

“Let me state very clearly that the WA Museum is not closing for business – we have five more public sites including our Maritime Museum and Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle, and three regional sites in Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Albany which all have a huge range of museum experiences and activities for people to enjoy,” he said.

“We also plan to deliver pop-up experiences around WA while building is going on. This, combined with online access to our collections, research and information, and our wide program of public engagement will ensure the Museum continues to reach a diverse range of audiences in the lead up to the New Museum opening in 2020.”

Refurbishment of the heritage buildings in the Perth Cultural Centre and critical upgrades to the Welshpool Collections and Research Centre are well underway. These works form the beginning of the redevelopment project, to which the State Government has committed $428.3 million.

Galleries at the Perth site will close progressively from the end of this year, and the Museum will keep visitors informed through media, site signage, its website and social media platforms so people will know what is happening and when, to give them the best opportunity to celebrate the objects, spaces and memories they love.

For further information visit the WA Museum website.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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