Heritage House lights up

News Update 25 July 2023

Heritage House in South Perth is home to the South Perth Historical Society and the May Gibbs Art Museum, the building plays an important role in preserving and celebrating the City’s local history.

This year as part of the City’s capital works program, Heritage House received a significant upgrade with the installation of new exhibition lighting in their gallery.

Old halogen lights have been replaced with LEDs and tracking for the lighting has also been upgraded to ensure the gallery meet modern standards.

Artworks are sensitive and have different requirements. For example, oil-based painting require low light or low illuminance.

LED lighting is preferable because it gives off little heat and it is perfectly suited to enhance the colours of a painting without the risk of damage.

The new lighting system is controlled wirelessly. An app is used to program the lighting on each wall in the gallery and it can be changed in the touch of a button.

The Heritage House lighting upgrade was partly funded with a Community Heritage Grant from the National Library of Australia as part of ongoing conservation initiatives and has delivered important enhancements to conserve the significant cultural assets of the May and Herbert Gibbs Art Collection and local history for the City of South Perth and community.

The upgrade has improved the functionality of the lighting system, enhancing the presentation and quality of exhibitions and programs, and increased the opportunity to collaborate with other art collections.

Additional upgrades to Heritage House include a new humidifier in the artwork storage room to ensure works are kept at an optimal temperature; and an ‘air curtain’ fitted at the entrance to the building.

Air curtains are designed to create an invisible barrier separating zones of different temperatures. This prevents cool air from escaping in the summer and warm air in the winter. Previously, Heritage House staff would close the front door during very hot and very cold weather. The new ‘air curtain’ means the door can stay open all year round and visitors can enter freely.

Heritage House, formerly known as the 'Old Council Offices' and the Roads Board Building, was originally built in 1904.

It was added to the Sate Register of Heritage Places in April 1999. The building is an example of civic architecture in the 'Federation Free Classical' style, enhanced by its exterior featuring a central pedimented bay and classical mouldings.

Heritage House forms part of a precinct of early twentieth century public buildings surrounding the junction of Mends Street, Mill Point Road and Labouchere Road. These buildings include the Windsor Hotel (1898), the Old Mill Theatre that was formerly the Mechanics Institute (1899), the former South Perth Post Office (1900) and the former South Perth Police Station (1908). Red brick with contrasting cement relief work is a common feature.

Heritage House is open Friday 10am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday 1pm- 4pm.