Hundreds of artifacts, thousands of photos and millions of pages of local history will be boxed up this week as the Sir Edgeworth David Memorial Museum prepares to relocate to its new home.
The museum - which has operated in the grounds of Kurri Kurri High School for more than 20 years - will be moving to the former Abermain School of Arts on Cessnock Road.
The building, a former Pokolbin school house which was moved to Kurri Kurri to house the museum, will be utilised by the high school.
For a centre that houses hundreds of resources on the history of the northern coalfields, its new home could not be much more appropriate - it is just 100 metres across the road from where the museum's namesake discovered the Greta coal seam in 1886.
Coalfields Local History Association (formerly known as Coalfields Heritage Group) has managed the museum since 1996, and the association's secretary Lexie Matthews is excited about the move.
"Sir Edgeworth David contributed money into the building fund to build the School of Arts at Abermain, so if we have to relocate from our home, this is the ideal place to go," she said.
The museum houses more than 5000 items, including newspapers, maps, instruments, radios and televisions, Aboriginal artifacts, and sporting, mining, farming and military memorabilia, while the resource centre contains more than three million pages of information, across 3000 binders, boxes and reference books, documenting the history of 666 Hunter Valley towns and settlements and 906 coal mines.
The relocation came about as the high school required the building for expansion, and Cessnock councillor Darrin Gray stepped in to facilitate the move to the Abermain School of Arts (a council-owned building).
Cr Gray - who tabled the proposal in a notice of motion in September - said it was "imperative to keep this priceless collection of history" in the Coalfields.
"The beauty of the location is, it will make it accessible to the public, and it is a tourism drawcard in the middle of Abermain, 100 metres from where Edgeworth David struck coal," he said.
As the building is in Crown Land, the Abermain School of Arts will technically be the museum's interim home, as council must complete plans of management for all Crown Land that it manages by June 2021.
The school of arts was vacated by Coalfields Neighbourcare last year, while Community Health nurses will continue to use the rooms at the rear of the building.
Ms Matthews said the new museum will be presented much differently than at its current site.
"It will be totally different to what we've been working with, but in the end we're expecting it to be a magnificent place to visit," Ms Matthews said.
A small band of helpers, including archivists from the University of Newcastle, have been working tirelessly to catalog every item in the museum before the big move.
Ms Matthews said while it will be sad to leave Kurri Kurri after such a long time, she sees a bright future for the museum in Abermain.
"We have many new members on board to help us bring the museum back into the news," she said.
"We will be, for the first time ever, where the public can see us as they journey through the wonderful town of Abermain.
"We are trying our utmost to make it a smooth ride as our journey continues to bringing history to the Hunter Valley."
The museum will be closed during the move, and hopes to re-open as soon as possible at Abermain.
And, in amongst the big move, the association's volunteers are also preparing to host the Lost Diggers of Weston exhibition and Field of Honour once again on the Anzac Day weekend.
The event, held in conjunction with Towns With Heart, drew hundreds of visitors to Kurri Kurri over the Anzac Day long weekend last year.
A presentation on the Lost Diggers will also be held at Kurri Kurri Library on Tuesday, February 18 as part of the Cessnock City Seniors Festival. The free talk will run from 10.30am to noon; call the library on 4937 1638 for bookings.