Thanks to a $72,300 grant for the Regional Museum announced today by the NSW Government’s Minister for the Arts, Coffs Harbour’s ‘hidden’ histories can be uncovered and given their rightful place in the story of our local heritage.
“Every community is made up of people with diverse life experiences and many different perspectives on what it means to live there,” said Cath Fogarty, Cultural Development Gallery and History Services Coordinator. “Too often, a place’s history is presented from a limited viewpoint that does not represent the lives of many members of a community.
“We want the new Coffs Harbour Regional Museum in the Cultural and Civic Space to reflect the diverse history of this city and the inclusive nature of the present community. We want to make sure that the history of those who belong to, for example, the Gumbaynggirr, former refugee, farming, youth and LGBQI communities, are given the same recognition as other – historically more visible – groups.
“This is why the funding will go towards a project to recruit temporary Community Curators who will work alongside museum staff to locate stories and objects currently missing from our collections.”
Along with the $500,000 NSW Public Library Infrastructure Grant (PLIG) announced in June, this grant boosts funding support for the Cultural and Civic Space project.
In announcing today’s funding, Minister Harwin said that the arts make a vital contribution to the liveability of our communities and enjoyment of our everyday lives.
“The NSW Government is committed to supporting and strengthening arts and cultural activity – we know it drives community, improves wellbeing, provides employment, and more broadly benefits the many in NSW, which is particularly important for those impacted by this year’s unprecedented events,” he said.
The Museum’s Community Curators will be trained in the essentials of museum practice, then work with arts and cultural workers, such as historians, writers and photographers to create content for the new Museum.
Through this process, new stories will enrich and diversify exhibitions, public programs, educational activities and more. At least one third of the new Community Curators will be designated for Gumbaynggirr applicants.
“The more lived experiences we can present, the more people we will attract to the new Museum. It will be a place for everyone to come together and share local stories, celebrate our history and broaden our horizons – locals and visitors alike will love this vibrant new place that tells the story of Coffs,” added Ms Fogarty.
Expressions of interest for the new Community Curators roles will be developed and advertised in due course.