History beckons for draft Lake Mac strategy

Lake Macquarie’s rich history will be preserved, promoted and celebrated under a draft Heritage and Museum Strategy now on public exhibition.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism Jacqui Hemsley said strong community feedback pushing for better recognition of the city’s heritage – both pre- and post-European settlement – had prompted the new document.

“We’re at an exciting junction right now, with our first purpose-built museum at Cameron Park almost complete,” she said.

“That will be one of the focal points in telling our city’s stories, from Aboriginal history and culture to mining, industry and day-to-day life.”

“We want to ensure our local heritage is valued, enhanced and celebrated for generations to come.”

Council already maintains a variety of sites that form part of Lake Mac’s ‘museum landscape’, from libraries capable of hosting small-scale exhibitions to the landmark Museum of Art and Culture, yapang (MAC), at Booragul.

Ms Hemsley said the upcoming Sugar Valley Library Museum would dramatically increase Council’s capacity to store and exhibit historic items.

“There will be capacity to care for more than 7000 objects onsite,” she said.

“We’re hoping to have three annual exhibitions, as well as state or national travelling shows.”

Under the draft strategy, Council will develop tourism-focused museum and heritage programs, and will work with local Aboriginal groups to recognise and preserve sites, places and collections.

Greater efforts will be made to engage with state and national institutions and organisations to secure top-shelf exhibitions and educational opportunities.

And expanded opportunities will be provided to Lake Mac residents to tell their own personal stories.

“That might involve curating temporary exhibitions that tell those local stories, engage with local people and display personal items of historic significance,” Ms Hemsley said.

The draft Heritage and Museum Strategy 2022-2026 is open for public feedback until 25 September. An information session will be held at MAC on 14 September from 5.30-6.30pm.

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