Writing in 1955, Grainger explained that the contents were assembled with, “the main intention of throwing light upon the processes of musical composition — as distinct from performances of music — during the period in which Australia has been prominent in music, say from about 1880 on”.
The original single-storey brick pavilion faces Royal Parade and features a central entrance, glass block clerestory windows and a hipped roof clad in terracotta tiles. Radiating wings were added panopticon style in 1938, enclosed by a semicircular gallery, creating a segmental enclosed courtyard to the rear. Grainger was closely involved in the design of the building, as well as selecting and arranging its contents.
By 2003 the museum was in need of attention. In 2006, we completed a conservation management plan, followed by a master plan. We then undertook conservation, refurbishment, adaptation and extension works. New landscaping was designed by Oculus Landscape Architecture & Urban Design. The museum reopened in October 2010.
The east gallery has been adapted to accommodate seminar rooms, and a new rear courtyard cafe constructed on the east side of the building. Conservation works were carried out on all the brick facades and the concrete roof of the 1938 phase, and a comprehensive upgrade of building services undertaken to achieve museum quality standards. Mechanical plant is housed above the new cafe structure.
The project was shortlisted for a heritage award in the 2010 AIA (Victoria) Awards.
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