By Kristian Pisano
The little-known Museum of Perth has big plans to be a drawcard at Elizabeth Quay.
Executive director Reece Harley, a City of Perth councillor and board member of Heritage Perth, is developing a plan to take advantage of the expected growth of foot traffic in the surrounding streets that lead down the Quay.
The Museum of Perth, which provides a chronological display of the city’s history, is inside the heritage-listed Atlas building on The Esplanade, across the road from the planned REX development at Elizabeth Quay. It opened two years ago yet remains largely unknown to the public.
“We have a lot of phone calls from people who think we are the WA Museum,” Reece Harley said, referring to the WA Museum in the Perth Cultural Centre which is closed for major renovation and expected to reopen in 2020. Along with permanent displays, the smaller Perth museum is currently showcasing the “Picture Places of the Golden West” exhibition, which explores the history of film in Perth and links with the building’s own art deco style.
“One of the reasons we established when we did was that we knew the WA Museum would be closed for about four years and so we saw an opportunity to develop this museum now when there was more of a need for one in the city,” Mr Harley said.
The Atlas Building it sits in has a colourful history of its own – it was a bomb shelter during World War II, due to its strong construction. Another building across the road was also a designated bomb shelter and housed the Premier’s office during the war.
A statue that once sat on the top of the building, which was moved to a garden in Dalkeith, is expected to be returned and shown off at ground level for all heading to Elizabeth Quay to see.