The Australian Museum (AM) has received an Honourable Mention for its restoration of Australia’s first gallery, the Westpac Long Gallery, at the recent UNESCO Asia - Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage held on 14 October in Penang, Malaysia.
Recognising the efforts of organisations who have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage in the region, the UNESCO international architectural acknowledgement follows two other significant awards - 2018 Australian Institute of Architects (NSW) Award for Heritage Conservation and the 2018 National Trust of Australia (NSW) Heritage Award for Conservation - Built Heritage.
According to director & CEO of the Australian Museum, Kim McKay, “The Westpac Long Gallery lies at the heart of the Australian Museum. The first museum gallery to be built in the young colony in 1850, by State Government architect Mortimer Lewis, it is an integral part of Sydney’s history and the cultural landscape of the city.”
“Now, thanks to heritage architects, Design5, and AM exhibition designer, Aaron Maestri and main contractor – AJ Bristow, we have a beautifully restored permanent museum gallery, dedicated to telling the story of our region, providing residents and tourists with a world class experiences for understanding our nation,” she says.
Architect, Design 5’s Alan Croker says the conservation work and carefully considered new insertions at the Westpac Long Gallery allows it to be experienced as the original architects wanted – a grand architectural display cabinet.
“Using design elements from its original iteration – from 1850 to 1890, the restored Westpac Long Gallery is a wonderful example of strategic, design-led planning that showcases and complements the original architectural intent and detail,” Croker says.
“Taking cues from the gallery’s historic, architectural details and maintaining rigorous conservation principles, we have created a gallery that shows our collection in a seamless and harmonious environment,” says AM designer Aaron Maestri.