Community Heritage Grant helps Gallery prepare works for relocation

Published on 14 May 2020


No one would dispute that building the Rockhampton Museum of Art is a huge job but there is another mammoth task that is going on quietly behind the scenes at Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Preparing and moving the entire collection is no small feat. The Gallery’s nationally significant collection is not something you can just put in a van and drive down the street.

The Rockhampton Art Gallery has received a Community Heritage Grant from the National Library of Australia to buy 22 solander boxes, which will enable the Gallery to re-house approximately 330 artworks from the Works on Paper collection to the best industry standards, in preparation for their relocation to the new Rockhampton Museum of Art in 2021.

The solander boxes have been built by a small Australian company based in regional Australia, Artifact Conservation. Artifact Conservation are conservators who hand make all their solander boxes using the highest quality archival materials.

The housing of the Works on Paper collection to conservation standards in sealed, durable solander boxes will greatly assist gallery staff in protecting the collection from thermal shock, kinetic shock, dust and light as the collection goes through the process of packing, transport and relocation in the new gallery.

The arrival of these conservation storage materials coincides with the reassessment of the paper collection. This will include the removal of Fomecore backings and the separation and sorting of artworks by size and media, to ensure that the differing media do not negatively impact each other.

Conservation housing for the Gallery’s Works on Paper collection has been a result of Rockhampton Art Gallery’s 2016 Significance Assessment, the 2018 public announcement of the new Rockhampton Art Gallery, and the performance of a 2019 Preservation Needs Assessment.

Rockhampton Regional Council Community Services Portfolio Spokesperson Councillor Drew Wickerson thanked the National Library of Australia for the grant which enabled the purchase of the boxes.

“The 2019 Preservation Needs Assessment highlighted what we needed to do to ensure the care of Rockhampton Art Gallery's nationally significant collection. Thanks to the National Library of Australia Community Heritage Grant, we have been able to source these solander boxes which is a step in ensuring the protection and care of the collection, not only in permanent storage, but also in preparing it for transport to the new Rockhampton Museum of Art in 2021,” he said.

Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.


The Community Heritage Grants program is funded by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia; the Office for the Arts; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

The Rockhampton Museum of Art is jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government in association with Rockhampton Regional Council.

PHOTO: Preservation Australia conservator Tegan Anthes demonstrating a solander box.