THE Bendigo Historical Society needs a new space for thousands of artifacts harking back through time.
Victoria's Public Record Office has asked the society to move out of the overflowing Bendigo Regional Archive Centre in Nolan Street.
It will be the fourth time the society has had to move its collection since 1999 as Bendigo struggles to find a suitable space big enough to hold it.
The society and the City of Greater Bendigo are in the early stages of planning but any move will depend on the search for potential buildings.
The council is drawing up lists of buildings now and has left the door open to a decision by the end of the year.
However, historical society president Jim Evans has reserved the right to hold off any decision if there is a risk to Bendigo's priceless history.
He said the Nolan Street site is climate controlled, making it ideal for protecting vulnerable items in the 40,000 strong collection.
"There's no real comparison between it and anywhere else at the moment," Mr Evans said.
That said, he accepts the need for a new space.
The historical society moved its collection there 2011 along with other groups that collectively have maxed out space there.
The centre is now 30 per cent above capacity and the society's overflow is being stored in on-site shipping containers.
A spokesperson for the Public Records Office said the department is committed to working with the society and Bendigo's council to find a solution.
The council's community partnerships manager Stephen Abbott said a range of potential sites have already been suggested.
They range from existing museums to unused office spaces, he said.
"I don't think anything will be perfect for what the society wants, necessarily, but there are many, many options available," Mr Abbott said.
Finding the right site could allow more members of the public to see historic works and help drive education and tourism opportunities, Mr Abbott said.
The archives centre is one of two spaces the historical society is searching for.
It has also been forced to move its community museum and public research centre out of Hargreaves Street's Specimen Cottage while law courts rise next door.
A document shared with the Bendigo Advertiser shows the historical society is open to moving into up to two new buildings, though it would like to combine a museum, store, research centre and workspace in one place.
The document does not specify the need for a much larger exhibition space but the society has long hoped for one.
It backed a 2018 campaign to create one at the soon to be decommissioned Bendigo law courts.
The document notes that the council and historical society might be forced to adapt existing rooms and buildings at any sites chosen, which might not be ideal.
"The condition of the collections under BHS [Bendigo Historical Society] custodianship is heavily reliant on their storage environments.
"Items in the BHS collection cover almost every type of 'material' - paper, metal, leather, ceramics, glass, timber and so on. Overall, the collection is in fair to good condition and considerable attention has been paid to preserving items to a high standard.
"Some of the paper items are showing signs of deterioration however the Society is quick to get appropriate packaging when required."
Mr Abbot, of the City of Greater Bendigo, stressed that any decision to move would be made by the society, not the council, and would come down to the group's specific requirements.
The council would set up a working group to help with any move, building works, permits and other assistance needed, he said.
"They have our full support. We want this to be a really exciting opportunity for the organisation," Mr Abbott said.