Queensland Museum set for major upgrade and expansion to research facilities

31 January 2020

Queensland Museum is about to embark on a major upgrade and expansion to its research facilities that will ensure valuable objects and specimens are stored to the latest international standard.

Queensland Museum CEO Dr Jim Thompson said the redevelopment of collection storage facilities will ensure that the museum is able to stay at the forefront of important international research both now and for many years to come.

“As the keeping place for more than 15 million collection items, including objects, specimens and research items, collection care is a priority for us,” Dr Thompson said.

“Our items are used by scientists from around the world to answer big questions about biodiversity, and for us to maintain and extend this position it is vital to be at the forefront of international standards around how we care for and preserve these items. 

“An upgraded facility will also allow for improved design in workspaces to ensure more efficiency in research activities, as well as provide us with the much needed additional storage space.”

The areas to be upgraded include collection stores, laboratories and research offices at Queensland Museum at South Bank.

Dr Thompson said one of the most crucial parts of the redevelopment would be the move of the wet stores (fluid preserved specimens) at South Bank to a new facility at Hendra.

“Our wet stores are vital to our museum business. It is often surprising to people when they find out that what you see on our museum floors is not the extent of what we actually look after, and that the vast majority of our specimens are held in our collection storage facility at South Bank,” Dr Thompson said.

“To move these specimens to our Hendra campus is going to be an enormous undertaking. We will need to pack, carefully transport and store what will be tens of thousands of bottles and jars and it certainly requires a lot of planning and precision.” 

The work will be undertaken as part of a State Government grant of $16.1 million over four years (2019 – 2023). Works are on track to be completed by mid 2021. GHD Woodhead has undertaken the design and will also be doing the engineering. The firm have been chosen for their expertise in these sorts of large complex developments.

During the redevelopment project, there will be a temporary change to access to Queensland Museum State Collection between February 2020 and mid 2021. Loans of objects and specimens for research or exhibitions will be unable to be accommodated during this period and Queensland Museum will be unable to host researchers in the Collection during this time.

“This is a major project for the team at Queensland Museum and the result will be a state-of-the-art collection storage facility,” Dr Thompson said.

During this temporary closure, our collections at Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville, Cobb+Co Museum at Toowoomba, and The Workshops Rail Museum at Ipswich will be operating with business as usual through this period, and our Education Loan program will continue to operate across the state.  

For any queries regarding arrangements, please contact the Museum through Contact Us.  

We look forward to reopening our Collection Stores in mid 2021.

Media Enquiries:


Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, 3840 7789/0417 741 710

Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, 3842 9388/0434 565 852