Swan Reach Museum has just completed the second stage of major display redevelopments. Focused around local community themes, the displays have completely revitalised the display spaces. The district’s history is now more easily accessible, both in terms of getting around the displays and in their content.
The new displays are allowing the museum to clearly and attractively tell some key stories, including the particular contributions to the town and district of individuals and businesses and the effects on Swan Reach of the 1956 floods. The project has taken 3-4 years to complete and has required significant grant funding as well as a lot of financial input from the museum itself and an enormous number of hours spent by museum volunteers in planning, writing and developing the displays. Graham Barlow from Swan Reach Museum says about the project:
‘To begin Stage 2 we had to do take on a few other projects to make room for the display cabinets, These included partially insulating one of our storage sheds, which is another ongoing project, and shifting a compactus, some stationary engines and other machinery to this shed. A new storage cabinet for our photographic collection was also constructed so they could be shifted out of the new display area.
As we are a reasonably new museum, 10yrs old in October and as our town is not all that old, 110 years old this year, our collection relates to these more modern years and we tended to cram as much as we could into a small area.
With the assistance from History SA and their Community Museums Program Grants, grants from the Dept. Veteran Affairs, National Maritime Museum and Mid Murray Council we have now managed to co-ordinate our collection into various themes, build new display cabinets and with the help from exhibition designer Peter Templeton install new text panels throughout the museum.
With the completion of Stage 1 & 2 it has brought our museum from a very basic one to a high standard tourist attraction, with the praises and compliments we receive each week from the museum’s visitors, it makes all our efforts worthwhile.’