This month the Complete Parts and @ The Coalface $500 Community Gift goes to the Mudgee Historical Society. Every day of the week, volunteers from Mudgee lovingly look after the Mudgee Museum and work to improve its buildings and surrounds.
The Mudgee Museum, at 126 Market Street, is based in the former West End Hotel which was constructed in 1856.
Vice President of the Mudgee Historical Society Sue England said it was one of the most intact buildings in the town of Mudgee and the hotel was acquired by the Mudgee Historical Society in 1966 for use as its headquarters.
“The grounds, which now comprise approximately one acre, also house a brick meeting room, a slab hut with the communications display, a large, corrugated iron shed, a corrugated iron church, a buggy shed, and a farm machinery shed.
“These are set in attractive grassed areas with a cottage garden at the front of the building and a new low-maintenance garden at the rear.”
In the main building several theme rooms have been established – a parlour, bedroom, bar and kitchen of the late nineteenth century – this is in recognition of the building’s former function.
There are approximately 60,000 items in the collection and Sue said the focus of most of the Society’s active members was the maintenance of the museum and grounds and restoration and conservation of movable heritage.
Once a week, every Tuesday, a group of passionate members assemble for a working bee which involves administration, curating (displaying and cleaning exhibits), grounds maintenance, and a wide range of restoration activities.
“The working bee has also developed as a harmonious informal social structure with great benefits for the society with the restoration and conservation of items at risk,” Sue said.
Apart from the occasional grant, the museum and the historical society rely on donations to help preserve and expand the collection.
“We’re particularly after donations at the moment to help with our research projects.
“We’d also like to be able to install further secure cabinets to be able to preserve the most precious and fragile artefacts.
“The society is finding, as a result of greater awareness of our restoration/conservation projects, that members of the community are becoming more aware of the value of retaining items which would otherwise be destroyed or thrown to the tip, and instead are donating significant items.
“Many items in the museum are, in fact, of local provenance and are identified as relating to local people, places and events, for example two manual Mudgee lucerne presses which were invented in the early 1900s by a local farmer, an interesting display of memorabilia pertaining to the long-demolished Mudgee Gaol which includes a photographic display of prisoners from the Gaol.”
Popular exhibits include the Steadson Doll collection, all in unique costumes designed and made by a Mudgee local, a replica vintage shop, bridal gowns worn by local brides spreading over 100 years, and an old Mudgee ambulance restored to working condition.
|The museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 2pm with research days held on Mondays. |