Museum hopes rest with funding

ORANGE residents pushing for a museum for the city hope the next round of Regional Development Australia funding will deliver a grant for the project to go ahead.

Grant funding is expected to be announced in a fortnight.

The first meeting of the Orange Regional Museum Working Party, formed to steer the development of a concept design for the museum, will be held on Wednesday.

The working party will be made up of two representatives each of the Orange Region Museum Advancement Association (ORMAA) and Orange and District Historical Society, and one representative each from the Orange Regional Arts Foundation and Orange Aboriginal Land Council.

Council representative on the committee councillor Neil Jones and ORMAA representative Marie Hammond are optimistic the project will progress now a concept has been developed, following months of consultation.

Council Community and Cultural Services director Scott Maunder believes a stand-alone museum,  potentially located on Byng Street near the Visitor Information Centre, will enhance the area as a cultural precinct.

He said the concept involved a multifunction facility and the potential for a large screen to be installed in the area and a cafe.

He said the challenge was for council to work with stakeholders to secure funding. 

He said the figure of about $7 million to build the facility was achievable.

“However, that will involve council securing grant money, the in-kind contribution of the value of the land on which the museum is to be located and a community or corporate contribution of around $1million,” he said.

Mrs Hammond said the working party was not fazed by the prospect of having to raise funds.

“We have already kicked off that process by holding barbecues and, of course, we realise that is just a starting point,” she said.

Councillor Jones is confident the project is ready to move to the next phase.

“I think the formation of the working party and the application for funding is an excellent step forward,” he said.

“Everyone seems very happy that this will now be a stand-alone building, as the idea of connecting it with existing facilities, such as the art gallery, did create some discord.”

Mrs Hammond said Orange’s record of preserving its history was taking a back seat to Bathurst.

“They have about five different museums and busloads are coming in and out of Bathurst all the time. They’ve really done it well,” she said.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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