BY SORAYA PEREZ MOHAMMED
Last Tuesday’s hearing over the controversial plan to move the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo to Parramatta left many shocked and angered. After months of debate and protest, the Upper House Inquiry into Museums and Galleries finally decreed that the move will go ahead.
Protestors were given hope when the case was temporarily stopped in April, with the Government promising to consider other options. Among them was the idea to build a new museum in Parramatta, but still keep the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo.
Now it seems that at best, a small collection my remain at Ultimo. The Minister for the Arts Don Harwin is fighting to salvage the site as an arts space of some kind, though no concrete plans are yet in place.
“[One option] was picking up the site at Ultimo and moving it to Parramatta with the collection at the museum. Instead of doing that, what they’re trying to do is look at whether it’s more viable to keep some kind of arts space at Ultimo, or make a smaller Powerhouse site. But the one at Parramatta will be the flagship site for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences,” said Mitchell Compton, a spokesperson for the Minister.
He said the best way to implement the move is still being evaluated, because when the fromer Premier Mike Baird made the commitment, no budgets or strategies had been prepared.
Rebekah Waite, Communications Manager of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences said that Tuesday’s session had only resulted in “a report with recommendations for government consideration, not a decision on how the project will move forward.”
Though a small comfort, at this rate it seems the museum will not leave Ultimo for some time.