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MTG Hawke’s Bay – the Collection Returns Home!

Media Release: MTG Hawke’s Bay

Embargoed until Monday 6 May, 8.00am

The Big Move Begins For MTG Hawke’s Bay – the Collection Returns Home!

A journey of almost three years will come to an end this week as the Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery staff and collection begin the move back into their new $18 million home and begin the transformation into MTG Hawke’s Bay.

Director, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins says this is a huge milestone as every day of the last three years has been spent preparing for this moment.

“We moved out of the old building in 2011 after packing up the collection, and we’ve spent the entire time since preparing to move back in and for the re-opening. It’s hugely significant to have the building back.”

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott, has praised everyone involved in the project including Napier City Council staff and Gemco Construction and their building team.

“This is a landmark day for Hawke’s Bay and we can all be proud as this is such a significant asset to the community.”

“The face of Marine Parade is changing with MTG Hawke’s Bay and other excellent developments creating a true destination for locals and visitors from New Zealand and around the world to visit,” says Mrs Arnott.

The new MTG Hawke’s Bay name will be officially adopted at the same time. The name was chosen to reflect the new building housing Hawke’s Bay’s museum, theatre and art gallery.

While MTG Hawke’s Bay won’t open to the public until late September, the next five months will be spent breathing life into the building and installing the exhibitions, says Mr Lloyd Jenkins.

“We’ve seen it on the plans but now we will be able to experience the space. We’ve walked through it several times, but you don’t really get to feel the scale and how it’s going to work.”

Mr Lloyd Jenkins says people have been watching the progression, from it being a hole in the ground to being a closed in building.

“Now it’s time to start getting the collection out and preparing an opening exhibition programme that will celebrate some of the key works in the collection.”

Staff who have been temporarily relocated offsite, have been working on developing and curating the exhibitions and writing publications.

The design team, which will grow temporarily during the install, have been designing the look and feel of the exhibitions. They work with the access team to ensure all the objects are mounted correctly and framed and displayed up to museum standards.

The access team have been preparing all the collection objects, many of which have been away for conservation, ready for display.

They have also been working on cataloguing over 14,700 archival records and digitisation of 7800 historical photographs, which will be available for search online for the September opening.

The new building wing includes upper floor galleries, while downstairs in the lower basement level will house the 1931 earthquake exhibition. Additional design features include two 9m x 3m stairwell display cases that almost span the floor to ceiling height of the building holding decorative arts from the collection.

The museum’s spacious new wing and main entrance will draw visitors into a light-filled foyer and atrium. It opens onto Tennyson Street, with large glass windows overlooking the cultural precinct of Marine Parade, the Soundshell and the Masonic Hotel.

The redevelopment includes a mixture of old and new. A significant element of ‘old’ includes the restoration of the original Louis Hay Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery and Museum building built in 1936.In the late 1970’s the doors of the Louis Hay building were relocated to become the entrance to the museum’s newly developed Century Theatre building.

The original doors made their way back to their rightful home in Louis Hay’s design in January, and will provide a fitting welcome to visitors using the archive and associated gallery spaces of the new museum.

The new wing connects through a ground-level linkway gallery to the 330 seat theatre, and the original 1936 Louis Hay-designed gallery and museum building. The original entrance of this building has been reinstated as conceived by Hay, and the building will become the new home of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Archive and associated research and gallery spaces.

The $18 million redevelopment project has being funded through local and central government, as well as from contributions by the community including individuals, families and businesses.

Mr Lloyd Jenkins says we’re almost there.

“We’re just months away from being able to share MTG Hawke’s Bay with Hawke’s Bay and the world. This is what this entire journey has been all about”.


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