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Outstanding year for award-winning Otago Museum

December 2

Outstanding year for award-winning Otago Museum

One of New Zealand's oldest museums has had one of its most distinguished years since opening to the public 136 years ago.

Otago Museum in Dunedin won the New Zealand Tourism 'mark of quality' award and was judged New Zealand's best culture and heritage attraction in the 2004 New Zealand Tourism Awards.

They also recently won the Otago Chamber of Commerce's 'Supreme Business of the Year' and 'best large tourism business' awards.

The Museum opened in 1868 and was moved on to their current site in 1877. The Otago Museum was considered the finest teaching museum in the Commonwealth in the early 20th century and is regarded as one of the nation's best museums 100 years on.

The museum underwent a major $18 million redevelopment and expansion two years ago. Today it attracts over 300,000 visitors annually.

Major exhibitions this year have included Temple of Doom - a Ritual Sacrifice in Ancient Peru and Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest and Beyond.

The Hillary exhibition is open until March 21 2005. Director Shimrath Paul said one of their most popular innovations is having schoolchildren 'sleepover' in the museum.

``The kids spend the night with the tarantulas in our Discovery World,'' he said.

"It's a great memory for them to stay somewhere people are usually not allowed to be after hours. Tucked away in Dunedin, the museum is a true cultural treasure.’’

Next year will see the construction of a three level ‘tropical habitat’ as part of the museum becoming a home for 'live exhibits' to complement its top natural history collection.

With close to two million collection items, the museum is similar in scale to Auckland and Canterbury Museums and Te Papa.


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