NEWCASTLE Museum and Newcastle Showground could both have roles in the latest plan to revive the Newcastle Maritime Museum, which shut controversially in 2018.
At Newcastle Museum, director Julie Baird is working on major changes that would see maritime items integrated where relevant into its major exhibitions, with the "link" building converted to a "transport gallery" that would tell the stories of maritime, road and rail transport.
At Newcastle Showground, show chairman Peter Evans confirmed that negotiations were under way to store the bulk of the maritime museum's exhibits at the showground.
Newcastle Maritime Museum Society president Bob Cook said there was the potential for a "temporary" exhibition to be set up at the showground, and he was scheduled to brief Newcastle councillors on the latest proposals at a workshop meeting this evening.
Ms Baird is also scheduled to address the workshop on the Newcastle Museum plan, which is understood to have a budget of about $1.5 million. Mr Cook said the plan was for 19 maritime collection items to be transferred to Newcastle Museum.
As the Newcastle Herald has chronicled over the years, the maritime museum at Honeysuckle shut in 2018, and the collection has been in storage ever since.
Mr Cook said defence contractor Thales, which owns the buildings in Carrington where the collection is housed, needs the building back at the end of the year.
Mr Cook has waged a public battle against Newcastle City Council and the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation over the way the museum was evicted from Lee Wharf.
He said yesterday that the council had "done the wrong thing" during the closure and had "refused to negotiate" for the past three years.
Council chief executive Jeremy Bath disputed Mr Cook's account and said the maritime museum people had been unable to come up with meaningful proposals - or raised any funds to make their ideas viable - since 2018.
Mr Evans said Venues NSW had control of the showground and had rejected an initial plan to store the maritime materials in the Exhibition Hall near the Entertainment Centre.
He said Venues NSW had offered space under the grandstand "at commercial rents".