Plans are underway at the Albertland and Districts Museum, in Port Albert Road, Wellsford, to double the size of the current building.
Initial drawings will see the extension built at a right angle to the current museum, toward Memorial Park.
It will provide additional display space and storage, as well as a special exhibition area and a workshop.
“Past volunteers created a building fund and we thought it was high time we got things started,” long-time volunteer Lyn Johnson says.
Museum chair Paul Allen says plans are still at an early stage, but the project could cost somewhere around $1 million.
“We have around $200,000 in the bank and hope to raise the balance through grants and fundraising,” he says.
Only about a half of the museum’s total collection is currently on display.
As well as journals and ships’ passenger lists dating back to the 1860s, there are unpublished manuscripts and thousands of photographs, including around 10,000 in the Marsh Collection and 20,000 from the Coast to Coast newspaper collection.
Lyn says the addition of a workshop will mean that items within the collection can be refurbished and restored on site, and this could provide a learning environment for students and others.
“Being involved in hands-on conservation could mean we see more people actively involved with the museum, which would be really great,” she says.
The current museum was built 25 years ago and hosts around 1000 visitors a year, which often includes visiting academics and media. It is also an important resource for people from the district and further afield who are researching their family histories.
“While our emphasis is on the pioneering Albertland families, our collection includes a lot that relates to the wider Wellsford district,” Lyn says.