Building Improvement Fund

You can help improve New England Regional Art Museum.

The New England Regional Art Museum originally opened its doors in 1983 following an inspirational fundraising campaign that appealed across the community for support to building a suitable home for the renowned Howard Hinton and Chandler Coventry Collections. Now over three decades later that building is starting to show its age.

The Building Improvement Fund will use your donations as well as funding from local, state and commonwealth government grants, philanthropic bodies and other sources to improve upon and maintain our building, to ensure its sustainability, provide a safe working environment for our staff and volunteers and give our visitors a premium quality museum experience.

Our aim is to make NERAM an attractive and sustainable facility hosting one of the most significant art collections in regional Australia attracting a diverse audience through a dynamic program of exhibitions and events.

The Building Improvement Fund will have a number of priority projects which will be set by the NERAM Board and in 2017 our priorities are:

Priority 1: Recladding NERAM exterior

The existing exterior fibre cement panels around NERAM, many of which are now over 30 years old, have commonly suffered from cracking through movement which has substantially affected the appearance of our building.  Trials for their replacement in 2015 also discovered that the old insulation batts have slumped within the wall cavity completely negating their thermal insulation properties.

The re-cladding of the building will provide an immediate “lift” to the external appearance of NERAM.  The work will also provide more effective weather protection for the gallery and its major art collections and, as part of a broader suite of sustainability measures we are pursuing, significantly improve its energy efficiency.

NERAM will soon be replacing its tired exterior wall panels with a new product which will present a new inviting and contemporary face to the world, while also improving the thermal insulation of the building. This project will cost $315,000 and  is being made possible through:

  • a grant of $240,000 from the Armidale Regional Council’s Stronger Communities Fund,
  • $60,000 from the Arts NSW Regional Capital Grants program and
  • $15,000 raised by our supporters and donors at the recent Future NERAM dinner.

December 2017 progress report:

The recladding of the exterior of NERAM is now complete and looks spectacular, our thanks to builders JNC Group for their work on getting this project completed so efficiently.

Watch their video about the project here.



Priority 2: Permanent Howard Hinton display

We are seeking funding to refurbish the East Gallery space by replacing the plaster walls with ply-reinforced gyprock so that we can safely and securely install a large-scale salon style permanent display from the nationally significant Howard Hinton Collection. This would provide NERAM with an ongoing display of up to 150 beautiful artworks which would present a high impact visitor experience and help us to attract tourists, present educational programs and raise funds by selling associated merchandise in our shop and online. Within the space we aim to tell the story of Howard Hinton and his generous philanthropy towards Armidale through an audio-visual component as well as eventually add an online interpretation application for visitors to interact with using mobile devices (smartphones, ipads etc).





Click on photo to watch video



This redesigned exhibition space will create a display space for up to 150 artworks hung in a salon style and will include updating the infrastructure of the space by:

  • removing the existing wall covering, recladding the walls with marine-ply panels and replastering to become a AAA rated gallery wall able to securely hold substantially heavier artworks;
  • design and construction of  movable gallery ‘walls on wheels’ for more flexible displays and presentations;
  • rewiring electricals and data throughout exhibition space;
  • new suspended exhibition LED lighting system;
  • replace existing skylights with light control windows/louvres, blinds and panels;
  • improved hanging system and security for artworks on display;
  • specially designed interpretation, graphics and display furniture (cases) for educational activities and trails for children/school groups.

The installation of this new display will present the artworks in our collection in a more sympathetic and attractive display and would help to reposition NERAM as a more significant and marketable tourism destination within the New England region, offering a consistent product and visitor experience. It would also enable us to produce expanded educational programs that would fit the national curriculum for all grades, provide opportunities to raise funds through Hinton Collection merchandise (cards, books and prints) as well as meeting the needs of our regular audience and their visitors to see favorite artworks including paintings by Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Margaret Preston and many others.

We estimate the costs of this project to be approx. $150,000 including design, demolition, construction, curatorial, exhibition design and installation costs.



To date we have raised the funds required to undertake the capital works on the project and construction has commenced on the walls, lighting and security systems.






We still need your support to make the new permanent exhibition HINTON: Treasures of Australian art as great as it can be. The exhibition is scheduled to open on 16 February 2018 and with your support we will be able to include the audio-visual content, educational content and installation/design costs.

Make a donation to using the BIF donation form or you can Give Now online. 


Future priorities:

  • Refit: cafe – kitchen, replacement furniture, improved accoustics, LED lights and new all-weather outdoors area
  • Refit: Richard Lalor Harris Gallery – replacement ceiling
  • Refit: Mazda Gallery –  storage, carpets, doorways
  • Refit: Workshop and Loading Bay
  • Displays: Museum of Printing
  • Carparking

We will be seeking funding support for these projects.