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Abbey Museum’s future looks bright

Posted: 12pm 24 Jun 2022

An Art Gallery and café will be built at Caboolture’s Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology thanks to funding in this week’s 2022-23 State Budget.

The State Government has committed $2.1 million to the museum, of which $1.7 million will be used to build an art gallery and café and $400,000 will be spent on infrastructure.

It is hoped the art gallery and café will be completed before the 2023 Abbey Medieval Festival.

Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology Director Edith Cuffe says the State Government grant and money raised in the community over many years for an art gallery would be used to complete the project.

“We’re hoping to build a very nice little art gallery and café that provides a different experience for people who come to the museum,” Ms Cuffe says.

She says it will attract a different audience to the museum site and she hopes visitors will return often to see different collections on display.

“We have a number of collections – the Old Masters Collection has paintings which date back to the 14th century and the Icons Collection dates back to the 13th to 14th century,” she explains.

“What this means is that we can change the exhibition more often. We could potentially bring in external exhibitions.

|“It allows us to do something that our current museum doesn’t allow us to, so we can attract people to come back and view the art collection and museum collection in a different way.”|

She says many visitors ask if the venue has a café and she can’t wait to be able to offer this facility to enhance their experience.

In her view, there’s something special about discussing art or museum pieces over a cup of coffee.

“I anticipate that it will make the museum more of an immersive cultural experience,” she says.

Supporting an icon

State Member for Pumicestone Ali King says the Abbey is an iconic destination in the Moreton Bay Region that attracts thousands of visiting families, school groups and medieval fans to the region.

“We need to make sure the Abbey Museum can grow visitor numbers and be sustainable into the future,” Ms King said.

“The new art gallery will showcase the museum’s unique Old Masters and the café will keep visitors on site longer and generate extra income.

“I’ve worked hard with the Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe and the Lady of Abbeystowe Edith Cuffe OAM to bring this project to life.”

Ms King says the funding will create construction jobs and be a boost for tourism while supporting local businesses and helping build the region’s identity.

“Visitors won’t just don their medieval garb at festival time, they’ll visit year-round, making sure Caboolture isn’t a drive-through but a destination,” she says.

“I am delighted to see the Abbey Museum get this funding and become even more of an icon in our beautiful region.”

Seating a priority

The museum is still deciding how it will use the $400,000 in infrastructure funding, but Ms Cuffe says permanent grandstand-style seating and lighting are at the top of the wishlist. A power network is also something she would love to see installed.

Either way, she is feeling optimistic about the future thanks to support from Moreton Bay Regional Council, the Federal Government and now the State Government.

“It has been a remarkable year for us. We’ve come from a place of late last year questioning our future to a place where we’re now about to hold our festival,” she explains.

“We feel remarkably positive. We’re not just surviving, we’re about to thrive and provide something special here.”

This year’s festival

Tickets are selling fast for this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival (July 9-10), and Ms Cuffe recommends visitors book now online, so they don’t miss out if organisers have to cap numbers.

She is also urging patrons to park and ride – either taking a shuttle bus from Caboolture Train Station or parking on land allocated at Pumicestone Rd and riding the shuttle bus to the site from there.

Parking will be limited on the festival site.

For more information, visit the website

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