Esperance Museum - Our Story

The Esperance Bay Historical Society established the initial collection of objects in 1975 and the collection has developed over time to include archives. The Esperance Bay Historical Society formally handed over the collection ownership, management and care to the Shire of Esperance and continues to support the Esperance Museum.

The Esperance Municipal Museum was officially opened in the Bonded Store and Goods Shed on 9th October 1976 and in 2001 the name was officially changed to the Esperance Museum. In 2010 an extension was added to the building to house a maritime section.

The Museum Park area was the towns original railway marshalling years and the main building, known as the Goods Shed, was constructed in 1896.

Since its inception the Museum has been supported by a team of dedicated volunteers and is recognised as a valuable community asset in regional and local strategic documentation and is highly regarded within the community as a whole.

The Esperance Museum is owned and managed by the Shire of Esperance and operates within the External Services Division. This ensures that the collection is properly managed and that adequate resources (financial and otherwise) are allocated for its continued care and management. External Services Division staff manage the operation of the facility.

The Museum Collection has evolved over time and a range of factors has led to the shaping of the Collection as it is today. Over many decades museum volunteers have built an outstanding cultural resource relating to the people, places and history of the area. The core Collection contains over 4,000 objects and over 8,000 items in archives that includes significant objects, photographs, published media, oral histories, artworks, research files and documents.

The Museum is highly dependent on a volunteer workforce to undertake key activities including front of house operations, research, collection management and conservation. The volunteers act as advocates for the museum and programs associated with the facility. There are approximately 50 active volunteers currently, with a wide range of skills, who are managed by the Shire. The Museum is an interesting, supportive and rewarding place to be involved in, which is vital in ensuring volunteer retention and growth.

In 2016 the Shire of Esperance commenced a strategic planning process for the Museum. This process has allowed the opportunity to reflect on the position of the Museum, establish a sense of purpose and set goals to achieve its full potential. At the Ordinary Counil meeting on 26 September 2016 Council adopted the Museum Strategic Plan 2017-2023. The plan provides guidance and a clear vision for the Museum that reflects the needs, constraints and ambitions over the next five years. To succeed we will need to work closely with our community members, businesses and stakeholders as partners, collaborators and visitors.