Future unclear for Newcastle Maritime Museum as lease ticks down

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WORKING FOR A FUTURE: Newcastle City Council, Hunter Development Corporation and the Newcastle Maritime Museum’s board are working on a solution for the site’s future ahead of its lease ending in May. THE future of Newcastle’s Maritime Museum is unclear beyond next month as its lease onthe harbourfront site it has occupied for a decade winds down.
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Newcastle City Council chief executive Jeremy Bath said the council was working on a solution, saying discussions were ongoing on how the council could keep the collection of 7000 items in the Hunter and public hands.

The lease runs out on the Hunter Development Corporation owned site in May, with a future home for its collection yet to be determined.

“Our focus is on understanding the current status; how things are positioned and where there maybe opportunity for Newcastle City Council to ensure the preservation of the Maritime Museum’scollection moving forward,” Mr Bath said.

“It’s important to note that any future direction or changes haven’t been established yet, and would require the support of the elected council.”

“Together with HDC as the landowner and the board ofthe Maritime Museum and its collections manager, we are working closely to find the best possibleoutcome.”

The museum’s future direction has been under consideration between the three bodies for more than a year.

Hunter Development Corporation chief executive Michael Cassel said the Maritime Museum had an important role.

“We are committed to finding a way forward for the museum that sees its collection of maritime artefacts enjoyed and celebrated by all the community,” he said.

Newcastle Maritime Museum President Ian Jones said the time was right to evaluate the museum’s future.

“The significant volume of artefacts is our number one priority and we welcome this opportunity towork towards a secure future,” he said.

“We are a volunteer organisation and it’s a tough job to keep the museum open and available forthe community, and from time to time we need some help.”

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