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Armidale Folk Museum marks 90 years and steps into the future

Armidale Folk Museum has quietly marked its 90th Anniversary and released a virtual tour ahead of renovations to be completed in 2024.

The museum opened on 16 December 1933. It was the first ‘municipally controlled museum in New South Wales’ and was in a purpose-built building across from St Peter’s Cathedral (now the Old Neighbourhood Centre, next to the Armidale Regional Council administration building).

According to historian Bill Oates, the Museum was home to the Pike Collection, an impressive gem collection in temporary accommodation at Mittagong before the offer of a permanent museum facility in Armidale. When the museum was converted to a Control Centre for Civil Defence during World War II, the Pike Collection was moved to the New England University College.

“The Museum reopened as the Armidale Folk Museum in 1958 on the corner of Faulkner and Rusden Streets,” said Sarah Reddington, Armidale Regional Council’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Officer.

“Since then, the Museum has become a loved landmark visited by locals and visitors. It tells the story of the Armidale district and is a valued resource for researchers as well as amateur historians – including Armidale school students who visit each year.

”Thanks to State Government funding, the Folk Museum is about to undergo significant refurbishments that will ensure access and provide a foundation towards a more immersive 21st century museum experience.

“Before those changes are made, we were sure to take up the opportunity to capture the Armidale Folk Museum as it is now by creating a ‘virtual tour’,” Ms Reddington said.

“The tour provides virtual access to the museum outside our opening hours, to visitors from further afield, and is a resource for teachers preparing for a school tour and for students in their studies within the classroom.”

Council’s museum team partnered with New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) to create the virtual tour.

“NERAM loaned their professional 360-degree camera for us to capture the existing museum layout and displays,” said Ms Reddington.

“We’re excited to share the virtual tour and encourage everyone to share the link. Celebrate Armidale history with family and friends - and of course stop into the museum to see the objects up close when you can!”

To explore the Armidale Folk Museum virtual tour: HERE

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