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Akaroa Museum receives earthquake recovery grant


Akaroa Museum receives earthquake recovery grant


Christchurch City Council's Akaroa Museum has received a special one-off grant of $500,000 from the Government to help with earthquake repair and strengthening work that will allow it to fully re-open next year.

The museum partially re-opened in July last year following temporary repair and strengthening work after its closure a year earlier when it was found to be below 34 per cent of New Building Standard. However, most of the museum's exhibition spaces remain closed, awaiting repair and strengthening, and most of the collection is still in storage.

In his letter to Museum Director Lynda Wallace, the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson says that although smaller museums such as Akaroa Museum are not usually eligible for the Regional Museums Policy grant round process, he had taken into account "the unique circumstances and responses needed to stimulate earthquake recovery in Canterbury".

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she is delighted to receive the funding, which ensures the Council can fully re-open one of Akaroa's most popular tourist attractions.

"We're very grateful to the Government for this grant, which will help us to move forward with the repair and strengthening this building needs to ensure visitors to the museum can once again experience all it has to offer.

"Since the earthquakes, Akaroa has become the gateway to the region for many cruise ship visitors and the town is also a popular getaway for Canterbury residents. A fully re-opened museum will be a huge boost for the town."

Museum Director Lynda Wallace says repair and strengthening work will begin this year and it is hoped the museum will be fully open in time for the 2015/16 summer season. It will open with improved climate control systems and rejuvenated exhibitions.

"Since the museum was partially re-opened last year, we've made the most of the space we've got, particularly in the adjacent historic Court House which now contains a small theatre and new interpretation. However, much of the museum's collection - which includes photographs, family histories and objects from some well-known Peninsula families and tells the story of the town - has been in storage. We can't wait to be able to be able to share more of our collection with visitors again."

As part of its 2014/15 Annual Plan, the Council this week confirmed entry to the museum will now be free.

Mayor Dalziel says the Council recognised the $5 entry fee was a barrier to tourists and residents visiting the museum. It also recognised the visitor experience was impeded while the museum was partially closed.

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