Museum shifts focus in search for permanent space
Despite hitting a wall with the East Maitland Lands Office, the Maitland Regional Museum has not given up in their hunt for a permanent home.
On Friday the museum will submit an application to the Regional Cultural Fund, seeking a $1.5 million grant to purchase the former Maitland Mercury building in High Street.
The building was vacated by the newspaper in 2012 and bought by developers to convert into apartments and commercial space, but plans fell through and the building has sat empty since.
If successful, the grant will cover the purchase of the building. The museum is currently fundraising to cover the cost of renovations.
“It was first talked about many years ago with the [Maitland & District] Historical Society,” Museum President Janece McDonald said.
“It’s always been sitting in the background of most the group’s minds.
“If we can pull it off it will be a coup for Maitland heritage.”
Although the Lands Office is in much better condition, Dr McDonald said she had been advised the building would not be available until well into next year.
Additionally, the Mercury building is much larger and would provide more exhibition and storage space upstairs which would be shared with The Clothing Museum, while the city’s cultural groups would be able to occupy the numerous downstairs offices.
“It’s all about collaboration between groups and sharing resources,” Dr McDonald said.
“You feed off one another.”