case study - regional collection access program



Grant amount: $147,647
This project will enable Burrinja Cultural Centre to complete the dehumidification of its gallery spaces, allowing more of its collection of Aboriginal and Pacific Island art and artefacts to be displayed, and increasing loans from state and national institutions.

the problem

The installed system extended the current dehumidification capacity of the Burrinja Gallery spaces. Our galleries are three distinct spaces, connected via internal glass doors within the galleries. This design was implemented during a redevelopment in 2019. Due to budget shortfall for the 2019 project, only one of the three galleries was fitted with dehumidification. Thus, the project supported through the Regional Collections Access Program extended the current system, with capacity to create museum accreditation standard conditions in all three gallery spaces.

This has resulted in a significantly more stable and safe environment for the display and exhibit of sensitive artworks and collection object housed at Burrinja. During summer 2021/22, the Burrinja gallery spaces were experience significant fluctuations in humidity, sometimes peaking at almost 90%. This was due to the internal layout of the galleries, with one dehumidifier servicing one gallery an insufficient system (humidity travels between spaces!)


Funding provided through the Regional Collections Access program enabled the design and installation of an expanded dehumidifier system to Burrinja gallery spaces. This work was inclusive of dehumidifier unit, additional duct installation, new controller unit, environmental sensors and final works.

We were fortunate enough to work with the environmental specialist who designed the original system during the 2019 redevelopment, which meant that the project was underpinned by a level of expertise, industry skills and specific design awareness of Burrinja. All of these elements allowed the project to be streamlined and delivered to a high standard. For instance, the technician was able to install the dehumidification system as an extension to the current system, not a new stand along system with its own autonomous operation.

Recent humidity reads from the gallery (shown right) show a significant stabilisation of humidity and temperature within the gallery spaces.

Burrija Humidifcation

Our works are safer on the gallery walls. In extreme situations, we were previously experiencing small amounts of moisture underneath glass framed artworks. This has ceased.

In July 2023, we had a major retrospective exhibition of Rover Thomas works, inspired by two pieces from the McLeod Gift Collection (managed by/at Burrinja). Both the collection works and the loan works (some 14 pieces) are incredibly valuable, and sensitive to environmental conditions. This has been enabled through a stable environment within our gallery spaces.

Ongoing, into 2024, Burrinja is planning a number of exhibitions that feature works from the Collection housed at Burrinja. These works can now be assured as being cared for the museum standard

This dehumidification project has completed the original 2019 vision of significant transformation of Burrinja. It will continue to enable the organisation to deliver exception exhibition of delicate artwork and artefacts from our own and other collections, to internationally recognised museum standards.

RCAP was a distinct funding opportunity, which supported a project Burrinja would never have been able to raise the capital for. The outcomes of the project will continue to bear fruit for our creative program for decades to come.

The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.