In a moment of contemplation this week, as Newcastle Museum celebrates 10 years at its Honeysuckle location, museum director Julie Baird didn't hesitate when asked about her memories of the last decade.
The first thought in her mind: the "40 people who made music happen in Newcastle" project as part of the Midnight Oil exhibition (celebrating the band's impact over 40 years).
And then, the emotional 1989 Newcastle Earthquake exhibition.
"Not a single week goes by where there's not something the museum can do to bring people together," she said.
The overall theme of the museum this year is "neighbours". One key show reflecting that theme was isolation: Portraits of Newcastle during COVID-19, a series of large-image photographs of Newcastle people on their home turf, shot with a 4x5 flash format camera by Newcastle photographer Luke Kellett.
(The 2022 theme for the museum is fluidity - "everything about water").
Newcastle Museum was originally established in 1988 in the restored former Castlemaine brewery in Newcastle West as a major Bicentennial project. After closing in 2008 to prepare for the move to the former railway sheds in Honeysuckle, it re-opened on August 4, 2011. In the first six months it welcomed 100,000 visitors.
In the past 10 years, Newcastle Museum has welcomed 1,423,972 visitors and accepted 2615 object donations. The museum holds about 12,500 objects in total, and nearly 40 per cent of its collection is on show at any one time.
For Baird, the measure of success is not purely in the attendance figures (which COVID impacts), but "visitor satisfaction". She is particularly appreciative of what she calls "pearl diving": small, deep engagement moments.
Among the most significant donations, as Baird sees it, was a shell fragment from the 1942 bombing of Newcastle by a Japanese submarine, and an original Henry Dangar map of Newcastle.
Current exhibitions at the museum include the self-curated The Castanet Club: an exhibition you can dance to! and a travelling exhibition from the Monash Gallery of Art showcasing the work of John Gollings, Australia's pre-eminent photographer of the built environment.
On Sunday, Baird was present for a session of evening recordings, where local bands were covering Castanet Club songs on the stage of the exhibition in the museum.
On Tuesday, she was involved in the planting of new bushes, as part of the museum's new Living Labels exhibition.
Never a dull moment.
The museum's transformation will continue following the mass planting of various native tree species in four sections of Museum Park.
"The trees and shrubs planted relate directly to objects within the museum's collection and offer a new way to interpret and understand Newcastle's geography and history, providing a living connection between the natural landscape and the stories of our past," Baird said.
"We plan to celebrate the museum's significant milestone with activities across the next 12 months, kicking off with a 10th anniversary exhibition showcasing specially commissioned works by local artist Trevor Dickinson."
Newcastle Museum, 6 Workshop Way, is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.