Museum plan for Horsham
Acommunity push for a state-of-the-art museum in Horsham is gaining momentum, with results of a feasibility study into the project due early next year.
Horsham Regional Museum working group chairman Dave Tyson said a heritage consultant had almost completed part one of a feasibility study following a community consultation session.
“We had a very productive community engagement session with a broad cross-section of representatives, including members of religious groups, Horsham Agricultural Society and historical societies,” he said.
“Enthusiasm for a museum venture was clearly evident. Rob Kaufman from LRGM Services is doing a wonderful job determining the feasibility of the project.
“He’s looking at the strengths and weaknesses of Horsham to see if the whole proposal is feasible.”
Mr Tyson said a group of six ‘interested people’ instigated a push for a museum in Horsham in April, 2016.
“Horsham Historical Society has a lot of displays but there is no dedicated museum in Horsham,” he said.
“We felt it was something that was missing and something that needed to be achieved if possible.”
Mr Tyson said Mr Kaufman was tasked with finding a ‘point of difference’ for the Horsham museum.
“Ballarat has Sovereign Hill and gold mining, Warrnambool has the Shipwreck Coast and we want something along the same lines,” he said.
“It might be pastoral for us, but if that’s not good enough and we can’t come up with a particular point of difference, we might be looking at a discovery centre.
“Discovery centres are also great because they are engaging, hands-on and the state-of-the-art ones are very interactive.”
Mr Tyson said modern museums were about more than displays of historical items.
“While they are about best practice and stateof-the-art displays of historical interest, they are also about bringing people together and engaging them,” he said.
“They bring volunteer opportunities and opportunities for cultural groups to share some of their identity with the region.
“They also provide spaces for training and research and they also need to be a commercial venture of some sort.”
Mr Tyson said Horsham Rural City Council supported the investigation into a potential museum, funding the feasibility study through a $10,000 community grant.
“Part one of stage one is due in January and then part two will start,” he said.
“Part two includes looking at costings and what type of building would be required.
“We are looking at a purpose-built, state-ofthe-art progressive design for Horsham and we will look into places that might be suitable locations. “It’s very exciting. We hope it is feasible.” Mr Tyson said if the consultant’s report showed the project was feasible, the group would go on to stage two, which would include sourcing funding and looking at business models and designs.
He said while the museum would be physically in Horsham, the project was designed to involve communities further afield.
“We want the region’s historical societies to feel empowered,” he said.
“The Horsham museum will not be their competition, but they can work together. The Horsham museum could showcase some of their displays.
“Throughout the process we will guage what collections are out there, in places such as Warracknabeal and Jeparit.
“We want input from dispersed historical societies around Horsham.”
Mr Tyson said input from Horsham Historical Society and Horsham RSL was pivotal for the project to go ahead.
“We have had strong support from both groups, as well as the Vietnam veterans,” he said.
“We’ve also had fabulous support from politicians Andrew Broad and Emma Kealy.
“Both have written us letters pledging in-principle support for the project.”
Mr Tyson said the wider community would have opportunities to have input into the project as it progressed.