THE Golden Dragon Museum’s bid to expand could benefit from the outcome of a federal tourism grant.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands the iconic museum has applied for a Department of Tourism T-QUAL grant.
Applications closed in April and an announcement of recipients is expected in the coming weeks.
The grants program seeks to encourage private sector investment that develops tourism products, services and experiences.
Applicants must match dollar-for-dollar funding up to $100,000.
The Golden Dragon Museum announced plans for an expansion costing more than $20 million at its 20th birthday celebrations last year.
The vision includes three levels of new space for the museum and touring exhibitions, plus a restaurant, gift shop, function space and internal courtyard gardens.
The outside shell of the building would symbolise the Chinese wheel of life, wrapping itself around the existing museum, creating the Sun Loong Gallery as the centrepiece.
The T-QUAL grant would help the museum obtain schematic designs and complete a cost analysis, which could be used to lobby for state and federal funds for construction.
Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson visited the Golden Dragon Museum in October last year.
“The Golden Dragon Museum is very impressive, one of the best examples in Australia,” he told the Bendigo Advertiser during his visit.
He said planning the expansion could cost up to $60,000.
Bendigo MP Steve Gibbons said he brought Mr Ferguson to Bendigo after the Bendigo Chinese Association approached him about its museum expansion plans.
He said he would support and advocate for the expansion.
Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack earlier this week told the Bendigo Advertiser the museum was at capacity.
She said the museum needed more room to accommodate an expanded collection, which included the largest piece of jade in Australia.
The museum is storing the jade, which was donated, in Adelaide.
“Whilst it’s all stored correctly and beautifully away in our archive system, we are at maximum capacity,” Ms Jack said.
“We have a donor who has a collection and is quite keen to bring it here, but we’re just simply too full.”
Two central Victorian projects received T-QUAL grants last year.
Bendigo Park Lane Holiday Park received $110,000 to help with construction of an indoor children and youth activity centre at Junortoun.
Harcourt’s Livingstone Family Trust received more than $62,000 to help build a new kitchen and tasting area at the Harcourt Valley Vineyards.