The Museum of the Riverina is one step closer to the construction phase of its redevelopment after an on-site crane marked the start of the demolition process.
Regional museums officer Samantha Leah said they were well underway with moving the collectables to a safer location.
"At the moment we are moving our collection off site to multiple secure storage facilities, depending on the needs of the collectables and also as part of that we need to remove the sheds and demolish a lot of the old buildings which were built around a lot of the objects we have," she said.
The process was delicate, according to Ms Leah.
"It's been a really thought-out project, we've spent a lot of time working out the condition and significance of the objects before we made a decision of where they'd be stored and how we'd move them," she said.
"Some of the more significant pieces will have a conservator come over from Canberra to supervise the relocation."
In other news:
Ms Leah said the project was essential to keep the museum running at its full potential.
"We did a survey of our collection in 2017 and inside storage spaces were at 165 per cent capacity, and the collection only continues to grow overtime to preserve the heritage and history of the region," she said.
"The lack of space was limiting our ability to care for and share objects with the community."
According to Ms Leah, the collection storage space will almost double in size, and plans for new exhibits are in the works.
"We are starting interpretation planning for exhibits to tell the full history of the Riverina, from Wiradjuri and dreaming stories, working in consult with community groups, and showcasing some of the more significant objects," she said.
Working alongside Ms Leah, project manager Thomas Lemerle said the redevelopment plans were being fine tuned before they entered the construction phase.
"We just started the detailed design phase now, and are working with a Sydney-based architecture firm Panovscott," he said.
"We expect the design will be complete in mid July."
Following the design completion, Mr Lemerle said there will still be a bit of time required before the onsite work begins.
"The tender process will take a bit of time, we hope it will go out to market by the end of July or early August, then it generally takes about six weeks to engage an eligible contractor, so we could start construction as early as October," he said.
With an estimated construction time of eight months, the next step is preparing the fresh site for public viewing.
"It could take up to 12 months after completion to get the exhibition fit out, new exhibitions launched, landscaping done and all of those factors, so we are hoping to open the doors back up to the public in July 2021," Mr Lamerle said.