Dust the cobwebs off museum pieces

Bringing Orange’s regional museum to fruition has been one of the Orange City Council’s most long-winded projects.

News that council has finally settled on an architectural firm to design the $7 million building will be welcomed by many community members who have followed the ups and downs of the long-term project.

It’s easy to understand the frustration of many involved in the project who have waited 15 years since council closed and sold the museum in McNamara Street back in 1998.

Since then the collections of both the Orange and District Historical Society and the council’s own extensive civic collection have been gathering dust in storage.

The last time the public had the chance to see draft plans for the museum, drawn up by government architects in 2009, the proposal was panned.

Hopefully the new designs live up to the expectations of the many groups involved in the push for the museum.

The looming April 11 deadline for the fourth round of the federal government’s Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) has proven to be a strong motivator for council, especially when the lack of plans meant Orange missed out on the funding in 2011.

It is good to see the museum project has already reached the next stage and by July we will know if the project has secured a chunk of the $175 million funding pool. 

Despite council giving architects less than two months to submit their tenders, 25 firms answered the call and hopefully a wide variety of designs have been considered.

Although it may be easy to forget, Orange’s library and regional gallery won the prestigious Sulman Award recognising architectural excellence in public buildings when they were built in 1986.

The two buildings may prove a hard act to follow for the designer of the new museum but hopefully the long wait will be worth it and Orange will have a landmark facility they can truly be proud of.

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