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Government announces funding for Auckland Museum

SUNDAY 12 MAY
MEDIA RELEASE

Government announces funding for Auckland Museum

Today, The Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage announced the Government’s decision to fund the completion of Auckland War Memorial Museum’s development with a grant of $26.5 million (inclusive of GST) towards the construction of new facilities in a domed atrium at the southern end of the building. The total project cost is $52.7 million (including GST).

Government’s funding will enable this project to commence at the end of 2002, the Museum’s 150th birthday year. It will provide much needed collection storage and care, improved education and public amenities, and completes work unable to be completed in the 1950s when the Second World War Memorial portion of the building was constructed.

Museum Trust Board Chairman, Mr Bruce Anderson said: “This generous decision is proof positive of the recognition Government has of the central role this Museum plays in the conservation of New Zealand’s heritage; the education of tens of thousands of school children annually, the enjoyment of Aucklanders, travelling New Zealanders, and the hundreds of thousands of in-bound tourists who visit each year. The Trust Board is delighted with the decision, and with this recognition of the special nature of Auckland Museum. We particularly appreciate the keen support of this project by the Prime Minister.”

Museum Director Dr Rodney Wilson, said: “The Completion Project will provide safe, accessible storage for Auckland’s renowned collections, proper workshops for staff, a first class education centre for children and adults, international quality special exhibitions galleries, a small theatre and greatly improved visitor amenities including a restaurant, café and toilets, members and volunteers rooms and so on. More parking will also be available in an out of sight, underground car park.”

Construction is anticipated to be finished by December 2004.

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For more information contact:
Bruce T.W. Anderson, Chairman
Tel: 09 575 5788 Dr T L Rodney Wilson, Director
Tel: 09 309 0443 (bus) / 09 418 2000 (private)


MEDIA BACKGROUND

Auckland Museum’s Completion Project will provide the first significant extension to the Museum building since 1960, when the curved southern end was completed.

The development, with an adjacent underground car park, will provide much-needed amenities serving the Museum’s collection maintenance, educational and public exhibition roles.

For many years the Museum has suffered from inadequate, poor quality collection storage; no classrooms or educational facilities; small workshops and insufficient staff offices; no theatre, volunteers or member facilities; poor quality special exhibitions galleries and insufficient toilet, retail and food services. All of these shortcomings are addressed in the Completion Project. A new large Applied Arts Gallery will also be provided, as will a workshop where visitors can see Maori artists and craftspeople at work and an enlarged collection conservation laboratory.

Providing a total of 8,900 square metres of additional floor space, excluding the adjacent underground car park, the development will be accommodated within the existing building footprint, and, below ground level, on the eastern side of the building. A low dome will grace the southern end of the building, rising to the same height as the northern, main facade.

The development will be constructed in an existing unused courtyard, and will include two basement levels, a ground floor and three above-ground levels. Within the development, an atrium will provide a grand semi-circular space, four storeys high, crowned with a glass perimeter drum and copper dome. An enlarged area for public assembly, and the arrival of large tour and school parties will be provided.

Preparatory work will be commenced immediately with site preparation and construction commencing in March 2003. Construction and fit-out will be staged with final completion dependent upon the completion of fundraising. The first phases are expected to be open by Christmas 2004.

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