ORANGE should develop a “newseum” in the Crown land building in Kite Street instead of a building a multimillion dollar museum, former lands office employee and history buff Tony Callaghan says
With most historical data now available online and major museums turning to the internet, Mr Callaghan believes physical records could be transferred to the historic building which he thinks should be renamed the Orange Regional Archive Newseum Genealogy Exhibition Centre or ORANGE.
“All the best museums are digital,” he said.
“You don’t have to actually visit. It will attract virtual visitors.”
“Museums aren’t about artefacts. They’re much more in the information age.”
Mr Callaghan said the function of the Crown Lands Office had all but disappeared and revamping the 1909-era building was a more realistic option instead of building a new one,
“The Lands Office is nearly empty so they should buy the building,” he said.
“It’s at a point of flux where the state government has no money and they’re trying to cut the public service.”
Recently, Orange mayor John Davis named the museum project as the council’s number one priority with attempts to source funding from the state and federal government.
He said the proposal to move into the Land Office had been discussed unofficially but had not reached a council meeting.
“On face value you’d think it would be fantastic museum but I don’t think it would be practical ... or big enough,” he said.
“[The museum] interest group deserves a facility that if it’s not custom built, within reason you’d say you’d rather wait a couple of years.”
Mr Callaghan acknowledged the Land Office would be much smaller than the new museum proposed but said it should only house the city’s most precious pieces.
The council recently allocated $50,000 for designs for the museum project but Mr Callaghan said the group behind the push for the museum did not realise the project would take 10 to 15 years to get off the ground.
A Department of Primary Industries spokesman said “at this stage” there were no plans to sell-off the Crown lands building or relocate staff.
“There are currently seven Crown lands staff and two land and property management information staff working at the site,” he said.
“The cottage attached to the building houses members of the Soil Conservation Service.”
A restructure of the department in June last year meant a number of positions were relocated to Dubbo but the spokesman said most administrative positions transferred from Sydney to Newcastle and Dubbo.