The Port Macquarie Museum, which was to celebrate 60 years at its state heritage site on Clarence Street on April 18, will now be temporarily closed to the public until the end of May to comply with health advise around COVID-19.
The celebration was to have included free entry for 60 days and a new exhibition for the Australian Heritage Festival - Looking Forward, Looking Back.
"This will certainly be a different celebration than we originally planned, or expected," Clive Smith, Port Macquarie Historical Society president said.
"It will also be a vastly different one to that of the museum's official opening back in 1960, yet memorable for its unexpected and unplanned nature."
The Port Macquarie Historical Society opened its first museum in the School of Arts building above the Municipal Library in Clarence Street in 1957.
The museum quickly outgrew its allocated space and the Society secured a lease of the old dilapidated Store building at 22 Clarence Street to open a dedicated museum.
Society and community members worked together to repair the historic 1830s building to a fit state and over the June long weekend in 1959 exhibits were installed in the ground floor of its new Clarence Street home.
By the time the Hastings District Historical Society Museum was officially opened on Easter Monday 18 April 1960, it had already welcomed well over 15,000 visitors.
"Over the years, the museum's historic Store building was purchased by the Society and facilities expanded, with extensions in 1968, 1977 and 1988 to accommodate growing audiences, collections and activities," Mr Smith said.
"In 1981 and 1982 our museum won Museum of the Year awards in recognition of its progressive activities and outstanding collections and exhibitions."
Those building extensions are no longer fit for purpose and during 2019 with the assistance of funding from the NSW Government's Regional Cultural Fund and Port Macquarie Hastings Council's Community Grants program, the museum developed a masterplan and schematic design for a new regional museum as part of a designated cultural precinct in Port Macquarie's CDB.
The museum's visionary plans for a new regional museum, cultural destination and community meeting place will be on exhibit in the Looking Forward, Looking Back exhibition.
"In the meantime, during our closure we encourage visitors and locals to experience our online exhibitions Our Rivers Our History and Tourists Paradise, our online tours on izi.TRAVEL and to explore our collection highlights on eHive or Trove."
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