The state government will invest $21 million in preparation work for the new Museum of Western Australia in the 2014-15 financial year - starting with an upgrade of the Welshpool Collections and Research Centre.
The Welshpool centre houses more than 4.5 million artefacts and specimens, including the famous blue whale skeleton that will go on display when the new museum opens its doors in the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre in 2020.
The $17.5 million Welshpool renovation will include world-class laboratories, storage and fit-for-purpose preparation spaces, which Culture and Arts Minister John Day said was a key part of the new museum infrastructure.
“The Welshpool improvements are vital to the operation of the new museum and the management of the state’s valuable scientific and cultural heritage collections,” he said.
“They will improve the safekeeping of the state’s collection, increase the storage capacity for future collecting needs and improve the ability to conduct research.”
The new museum is planned to be almost four times larger than the current museum.
The $21 million state government investment is part of the total $428 million earmarked for the new museum. Last week's state budget revealed $25 million would be spent on the project in 2015-16, with investment increasing to $140 million in the 2017-18 financial year.
“The new Museum WA will develop the Perth Cultural Centre as one of the city’s great tourism precincts,” he said.
The new museum is a critical component to the Tourism Council WA’s Destination Perth tourism plan that hopes to double Perth’s visitor economy to $7.1 billion per annum and create 11,000 jobs by 2020.