Monday, May 25, 2009

Queen Victoria rises again on the Tamar

Just back from a quick visit to Launceston, where exciting things are happening at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. The Museum extended itself onto the Inveresk Railyard site 8 years ago, and since then there has been some pressure to relinquish the original Museum site in Royal Park to avoid the ineffiencies of a dual campus. However Patrick Filmer Sankey, who was appointed director in 2008 has conceived of the idea of clearly separating functions, so that the fine and decorative art and design collections (the Gallery function) are retained at Royal Park and the historical and natural science collections (the Museum function) are exhibited at the Inveresk site.

The active support of the City Council and the State Government has quickly seen $7m thrown into the equation, and the Royal Park site has now closed for its revamp with a late 2010 opening planned.

The even more exciting thing about this plan is that it will allow all the internal additions and linings from this late Victorian /Edwardian purpose built gallery to be removed and the original spaces reclaimed. I had a dusk tour with project development manager Glenda King yesterday showing me tantalizing glimpses of what is going to be possible.

So with the revamped QVMAG , probably the country’s finest regional gallery, coming on line next year along with the privately funded MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) at Morilla on the outskirts of Hobart, Tasmania is going to be a significant cultural destination.

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