The Esperance Bay Historical Society recognised the need for Esperance to have a museum to preserve its rich history and heritage. The Esperance museum was opened on the 9th of October 1976, after funding was secured from the Commonwealth Government.
The money was then used to purchase the old railway station area, converted into the Esperance Municipal Museum. The Good Shed main building was then constructed in 1896.
The Esperance Bay Historical Society handed over the ownership, running, and management of the Esperance Municipal Museum to the Shire of Esperance. However, they continue to support the museum. It operates under the External Services Division. In 2001, the museum’s name was officially changed from the Esperance Municipal Museum to the Esperance Museum.
The museum went on to purchase a train. The W919 steam-engine train that previously travelled between Kalgoorlie and Esperance was purchased from Westrail and is kept in static display in the museum until today. In 2010, an extension was added to accommodate a maritime section.
Other items on display in the museum include the United States’ Skylab space station, which crashed onto Esperance on the 12th of July 1979, vintage machinery leftover from life in the 1800s, items left over by the early settlers in Esperance, and remains of the Sanko Harvest which crashed onto a reef and spilt oil onto the banks of Cape Le Grande on the 14th of February 1991.
The museum is a valuable asset to the community. Within the community, it is highly regarded. It ensures strategic documentation of both local and regional and cultural materials related to the people, the places, and the history of the area.
A community of volunteers runs the Esperance Museum. Since the inception of the museum, it has been greatly supported by dedicated volunteers. There are currently approximately fifty (50) active volunteers working at the museum, having a wide range of skills.
The volunteers carry out activities like research, conservation, front-of-house operations, management, and collections. They also play the role of advocates, both for the museum and for the facility’s programs. We ensure to create an environment that is supportive, rewarding, and interesting for our volunteers. This has been vital in ensuring a high rate of retention in our volunteers and growth.
An Ordinary Council meeting was held on the 26th of September 2016. In the meeting, a Museum Strategic Plan for the years 2017 to 2023 was adopted. The plan gives a clear vision and a guide that reflects the museum’s constraints, ambitions, and needs for the next five years.
The museum will work closely together with the community members, stakeholders, and businesses as collaborators, partners, and visitors for the plan to succeed. The Esperance Museum is known to many people and visitors today as the best museum in the region and the state.
We are the custodian of the history of Esperance. The museum is open daily between 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm.