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Civic Opening of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Civic Opening of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Dunedin (Friday, 7 December 2012) – A day of celebration marks the civic opening of the country’s newest museum - Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin.

After four years in the making and two years since the Museum closed its doors to complete its building phase, excitement is running high at today’s civic ceremony. The day’s events include a mihimihi and whakawatea, an official opening and opportunities for official guests to view the exhibitions.

The public is invited to take part in a weekend of opening celebrations for the Museum tomorrow and on Sunday. Starting at 10am on Saturday 8 December, the Museum will fling open its doors to welcome the community into its refurbished fold.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, who officially re-opened the Museum today, says it will be a touchstone for the community.

“Most of us, of anything like my age, can recall the old style of museum where displays and exhibits had been put into glass cabinets at some indeterminate time in the past and had stayed exactly that way for the next several decades. The only new things that entered were the visitors. The only thing swept out was the dust.

“Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, on the other hand, has become more like an evolving database of snapshots, of historic vistas, of personal, family and cultural stories.”

Historical museums are a living archive – growing and recording as cities change.

Museum Director Linda Wigley is thrilled with the result of everyone’s hard work, passion and creativity.

“The project has considerably increased the size and scope of the Museum and we now have a world-class museum and a visitor attraction we can all be tremendously proud of.”

One of the first things people will notice when they enter the vast new reception area will be a pounamu touchstone and a state-of-the-art audiovisual display in the Museum's new Kāi Tahu exhibit.

The four-stage $37.5 million redevelopment project began in 2008 with the construction of a new building to house the museum’s collections for items that are not on display. This was completed in November 2009, providing a 3000sqm state-of-the-art facility which meets international standards for collections care. The second stage was the development of the New Zealand Rail Road Transport Bus Garage, the third stage the refurbishment of the existing brick heritage building and the fourth stage was creating the new entrance foyer featuring Josephine, the Museum's unique steam locomotive, the museum shop, Ironic @ Toitū Cafe and new function spaces.

The Museum first opened its doors in 1908, for the 60th anniversary of the founding of Dunedin and the Otago province, so it has been part of the community for more than 100 years.

Live music and dance from a wide range of cultural groups will feature at the Museum throughout the opening weekend and residents and visitors are encouraged to come along and take part in the festivities.


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