A litany of luminaries have written an open letter to the NSW Government pleading that the Powerhouse Museum not be destroyed.
I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that: “Nowhere else in the world are governments moving major museums away from the heart of their cities.” I don’t agree with the statement that the Powerhouse is a world-class facility, but it certainly could be – and such a facility would be a major tourist attraction in the heart of our city.
There’s a deep irony in the idea that we are looking at taking a cultural and technology-learning pivot-point like the Powerhouse out of our city center at a time when the Federal Government has put innovation and cities at the heart of its policies.
Here’s what I wrote last October and it still reflects my views today:
The Powerhouse should not be moved, it should not even be fiddled with or distracted from its main game which, at the moment, ought to revolve around getting its current activities right – until they can fix their broken educational displays, I have little enthusiasm for them doing anything else. According to the Museum’s latest annual report, 2012/13 attendance was down by more 17.6 per cent on its 10-year average. Moving the Museum wont fix that; changing it, improving it and fixing the bits that are actually broken will.
Put directly: Sydney ought to have a world-class science museum in its CBD. Realistically that has to be built around the Powerhouse and resources should be put into making the Powerhouse great before anything is done that might dilute its efforts.
The letter is just one line of attack from the Powerhouse Museum Alliance who have well-reasoned arguments for keeping the Museum where it is, and a concerted campaign to achieve that end. They also have ways that everyone can support the cause including adding your name to the open letter and contacting your local member of parliament. Over ten thousand people have already signed a petition which will bring this matter before the Parliament this month – so now’s the time for something to happen.
I doubt the open letter is going to make the slightest difference to the NSW Government’s plans, simply because the Powerhouse site is worth so much money and the only visitors the government seems to care about are those visiting the casino. Nice to see someone trying though.