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Latest Brisbane Marketing News
Nov 6, 2020
Very large text size After months spent desperately trying to keep it afloat, the Queensland Maritime Museum is expected to close its doors permanently on New Year's Eve, after the coronavirus sunk its revenue. The pandemic severely affected the volunteer base, with about 40 of the 150 volunteers being COVID-19 "vulnerable" citizens who cannot be on-site, and its revenue flow can not meet expenses. The Queensland Maritime Museum's history spans almost 50 years and it is one of the nation's largest maritime museums, featuring the warship Diamantina and Jessica Watson's Ella's Pink Lady. The museum temporarily closed at the start of November and will remain closed the entire month, while a survival plan is created and decisions are made to preserve the museum’s collection. Advertisement In a letter to members, volunteers and stakeholders on Friday, museum chief executive Emma Di Muzio said there was no financial lifeline on the horizon. Loading "Careful fiscal planning and projections have QMM closing its doors permanently on December 31, 2020, to avoid insolvency," Ms Di Muzio said. "Since March 2019, QMM has been working closely with our state government and Brisbane Marketing to meet with potential investors. "QMM has also been lucky to receive a long list of grants from all levels of government as well as private organisations which have helped our museum to achieve some major milestones. "However, securing ongoing operational funding has continually eluded QMM. "Even a small percentage of the Australian National Maritime Museum's $20 million per annum from the federal government would make a huge difference to QMM. "Unfortunately, with no confirmed income at this point in time, QMM's board and management will use November's closure (and time of reduced expenses) to plan as best as possible for the future." Ella's Pink Lady - Jessica Watson's boat from her solo round the world journey. Once COVID-19 restrictions were eased, the museum recruited 40 new volunteers to replace those vulnerable volunteers, implemented a COVID-safe plan, and reopened to the public on weekends. However, since reopening in mid-September, it has had 30 per cent of regular visitor numbers and had to bear the brunt of costly cleaning fees. "QMM received three instalments of $200,000 from the Queensland government for the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years," Ms Di Muzio told Brisbane Times. "This funding was gratefully received and had helped to start turning the museum’s fortunes around, with slowly increasing visitor numbers and new external partnerships being developed. "We are continuing to work with stakeholders including all levels of government to ensure the museum’s future." The origin story of the Queensland Maritime Museum stretches back to 1969 when the Queensland branch of the World Ship Society was formed. This led to talks around establishing a maritime museum in Brisbane. Residents formed a volunteer group, and in 1971, the Queensland Maritime Museum was formally founded. Loading The state government then agreed to the South Brisbane Graving Dock as a site for a museum. After the site was damaged by the 1974 Brisbane floods, volunteers repaired and cleared the dock. The QMM display hall, which was a converted diesel workshop, was opened in December 1979 by then-governor Sir James Ramsay. The Royal Australian Navy donated the decommissioned World War II frigate HMAS Diamantina and in 1981 the ship was placed in the dry dock and the restoration began – which continues to this day. Following Expo 88, the building built for the exhibition's Pavilion of Promise was donated to the QMM as a new museum hall. The building is still open to the public. The state government funded an extension to the building in 2001-02, which transformed QMM into one of the largest maritime museums in Australia. In recent years, the museum has continued to grow its collection and now boasts the largest collection of lighthouse artefacts in the country. Save
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