From Friday August 11 the Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM) will shut due to a lack of funding. The museum has not made it clear when it will reopen but emphasised the museum is not going out of business and that the closure is temporary.
The museum is currently funded by Creative Victoria and the Mount Alexander Shire Council but neither one can increase funds to keep the museum open.
The museum, founded in 1913, is run by private trustees and a board, and has been facing financial difficulties for some time now. Lack of funds has meant the museum has struggled to maintain the building’s condition, climate control systems and catalogue collection. During the closure the board will figure out a plan for future operations.
The gallery’s permanent collection will not be relocated. CAM will use what limited financial resources remain to preserve the building and collection during the closure.
That collection includes Australian art and historical artefacts reflecting the early history of the area, as well as contemporary pieces by artists such as Patricia Piccinini, whose hyper-real sculpture Graham was acquired with help from private donors.
The Meet Graham exhibition has been open for less than a month, and along with other current exhibitions – such as a showcase of Australian studio ceramics called Gifted – will be cut short due to the closure.
Concerned locals have started up a Facebook group to try to save the local tourist destination, and an information session for all financial members will be held on Wednesday August 2 at the Castlemaine Town Hall.
Buda, a historic house and garden, will remain open to the public as it is managed independently and held by the CAM Trustees. Board chair Jan Savage told the Age the gallery may reopen by March 2019.
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