THE “extreme” vulnerability of 45,000 of Bendigo’s historical artefacts may lay the groundwork for a museum to be built in the city.

A report on how to manage the large number of items being cared for by a shrinking number of volunteers in collection groups including the Bendigo Historical Society, has delivered recommendations which include a feasibility study for a museum.

Councillors will vote next Wednesday to release the study for public comment.

If council acts on the recommendations, it could transfer artefacts contained in community collections that are
at “risk of being damaged or lost” into a preservation facility staffed by industry professionals and accessible to the public.

The report suggests completing the original plan for the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre on Nolan Street centre.

Before that, though, artefacts held by the Bendigo Historical Society should be moved from “unsafe and overcrowded” shipping containers at Nolan Street, into modular portable units.

Additionally, the report says the society is storing materials within the centre that are potentially exposing the public records there to pests and mould.

The report suggests planning for the contingency if a group folds.

But it described consideration for a museum as a high

“The community groups in this study are extremely vulnerable, due to shrinking member and volunteer numbers,” the report said.

The study included Bendigo Historical Study, Eaglehawk Heritage Society, Elmore Progress Association, Heathcote McIvor Historical Society and Huntly and Districts Historical Society.

“There is considerable risk that one or more of these community groups, or similarly other collecting groups in greater Bendigo, may cease to operate at some stage in the future and that their collections may end up, beyond the group’s control, in an adverse situation such as loss or destruction, relocated outside of greater Bendigo, or taken out of public hands into private ownership,” the report said.

“All of these outcomes would result in these local history and heritage collections being irretrievably lost or inaccessible to the greater Bendigo community.

– Sharon Kemp