To celebrate its 50th anniversary, not-for-profit Sovereign Hill Museums Association has launched the first phase of a 20-year Master Plan, comprising four phases delivered between 2021 and 2030.
Phase one of the Master Plan will be implemented by mid-2022 with the launch of a nationally significant Centre for Rare Arts and Forgotten Trades (CRAFT). Visitors to CRAFT will be able to take part in hands-on workshops ranging from 30 minutes to five days across a diverse range of areas – from leather to metal and from paper printing to textiles. Dedicated to keeping near forgotten trades and skills alive and thriving, CRAFT will draw on Sovereign Hill’s existing showcase of rare trades and invite new artisan partners to collaborate.
Phase one of the Master Plan will also incorporate the launch of the Gold Pavilion and the Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections. Upon entry to Sovereign Hill, the Gold Pavilion will house three distinct exhibition spaces and deliver an enhanced orientation experience allowing visitors to curate their journey and maximise their connection to the gold rush. The Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections will build on Sovereign Hill’s rich collections and provide visitors with greater accessibility to the culturally significant collection. The Australian Centre for Gold Rush Collections will be built in close proximity to CRAFT providing an opportunity to connect contemporary practice with the richness of the entire museum collection.
The Master Plan has been developed through extensive consultation and engagement with Ballarat youth, the local business community, the museum’s partners, educators and disability advocates. In addition, key insights were given by Sovereign Hill’s staff and volunteers and those involved with Sovereign Hill over many of the formative years.
Building on Sovereign Hill’s milestone of 50 successful years, the Master Plan aims to develop stronger connections to community, become a leader in environmental stewardship and focus on greater diversity and inclusion. While continuing to inspire future generations, gold will continue to play a pivotal role in the museum’s story amplified through rich stories of ingenuity, resilience and humanity. Vibrant seasonal programming will also be introduced along with a focus on regenerative practices driven by Sovereign Hill’s aspiration to create a better future.
The Master Plan will significantly enhance and expand the not-for-profit organisation and by 2040, Sovereign Hill’s outdoor museum annual visitation is forecast to grow from 527,000 to 1.4 million.
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