The WA Down Under Gallery Aquarium project was chosen as the winner of the Foundation for the WAM Museum 2022 Impact Circle Grant. Thanks to the generosity of the Foundation’s Impact Circle Members, the Foundation was in the position to award not one, but two grants in 2022, with the Xantho Gallery Refurbishment project announced as the runner up project.
On 18 August 2022, the Foundation for the WA Museum’s Impact Circle Members voted for the project they wanted to see supported at the Western Australian Museum. This year, three projects – all based at the Museum’s Fremantle sites – were vying for the Impact Circle Members’ votes.
Under ‘Otto’, the blue whale in Hackett Hall at WA Museum Boola Bardip, Impact Circle Members, Foundation Board Members, friends and guests came together to hear more about the Maritime Museum Nyoongar Welcome project, the WA Down Under Aquarium project and the Xantho Gallery Refurbishment Project.
The WA Down Under Aquarium project, represented by Gill Harrison (Manager of Fremantle Museums), was chosen as winner of the 2022 Impact Circle grant, with the Xantho Gallery Refurbishment Project, represented by Tanya Edwards (Manager Exhibitions and Interpretive Projects) announced as the runner up.
About the WA Down Under Aquarium Project
The WA Maritime Museum is largely focused on boats, maritime sporting achievements, naval history and stories of immigration and trade in the Indian Ocean region. These are all very important stories that the Maritime Museum in Fremantle should tell. But the WA Maritime Museum has found through visitor feedback and the huge success of temporary exhibitions, like ‘Plant Shark’ and permanent displays like ‘Megamouth’, that audiences are crying out for more stories and trusted information about our marine environment.
The WA Down Under Aquarium Project seeks to meet these visitor expectations by broadening the content and appeal of the Maritime Museum through the addition of exhibits in the WA Down Under Gallery that focus on marine biodiversity and engage visitors with pressing ideas and topics that define our times, such as ocean pollution, wildlife extinction, food security and climate change. The Impact Circle Grant will go towards:
- Installing two large aquariums representing the unique biodiversity of the South West Temperate region and the Swan River Estuary system. These ecosystems are fascinating and fragile, and visitors will get the opportunity to explore and connect to them, and in doing so, care about their future and survival.
- Creating a space that is more immersive, informative, and interactive, where visitors can touch, and study preserved marine specimens and 3D printed ones and examine them under a microscope linked to a digital screen in the gallery.
- Creating the feeling of being submerged in the gallery space, through the installation of barnacles on the gallery support structures/beams, enhancing the overall flow and immersive feel of the gallery. The hulls of the boats and ships above visitors and the marine soundscapes in the gallery will help create this immersion and theatre.
- Engaging school students and increase school visitation by developing and offering science programs, centred on the new gallery exhibits, that are curriculum linked to science outcomes for primary and secondary school students.
About the Xantho Gallery Refurbishment Project
The Xantho gallery was established to give the public the opportunity to observe the SS Xantho engine and machinery conservation and restoration works in real time. With restoration completed in 2006, it is now time to interpret the Xantho story not only as an example of technological advancement but also in terms of the development of the State, the challenges of sailing along the WA coast, and a contemporary understanding of the era.
The Xantho gallery holds important – and difficult – stories connected to its owner, Charles Broadhurst, his wife Eliza, and their place in Western Australia’s colonial history.
The Impact Circle runner up grant will support
- an upgrade of signage and labelling;
- a new platform for the existing touch-model;
- a re-orientation of the existing content and the integration of additional material from within the Maritime Archaeology and Maritime History collections.
This work will transform the former working space into an engaging permanent gallery experience.
The Foundation for the WA Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of all Impact Circle Members, our corporate Impact Circle Member, Churchill, and the Impact Circle Committee.
To view our event photo gallery, please click HERE.