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The Dome is Here!

The Dome is Here!

MEDIA RELEASE 15 November 2006

9 December 2006

At 10am on Saturday 9 December, after twelve years of continuous building work and fundraising of roughly $113 million over the same period, Auckland War Memorial Museum will proudly throw open the doors to the brand new Dome bringing the Stage II Grand Atrium Project to a glorious and welcome conclusion.

But this is much more than opening a building addition. It is the culmination of a story that has taken 154 years and sixty million people to tell, for that is how long Auckland Museum has been collecting the history of our nation and our people; and it is thanks to the approximately sixty million folk who have visited that history in the current building. It is a celebration of the nation’s most significant collections, and the generations of people who dedicated their lives to the preservation and interpretation of those objects, never ceasing in their quest to turn those objects into stories. Auckland Museum is beloved like no other iconic building. This development not only increases the Museum’s ability to showcase, interpret and celebrate our history, but has added another dimension to what is already a favourite sight on the city’s skyline.

Christmas 1999 saw the Museum complete the first stage of its redevelopment; a five-year restoration of its landmark heritage building, introduction of new building services, and replacement of 9000m2 of natural history, cultural history and war memorial exhibits. Stage I restored the existing building and replaced the exhibits but it added no new spaces or amenities. As was known at the outset, a second and final stage would be necessary to address fundamental visitor needs, educational amenities, and the safe care and access to the Museum’s leading national collections.

The Stage II Grand Atrium Project, now known as The Dome, is a natural progression from the Stage I refurbishment project and has filled in the southern courtyard of the Museum. The complete development comprises two basement levels, a ground floor, and four above ground levels. Seven stories in all, crowned by a magnificent copper and glass dome, turning what was an 1800m2 courtyard full of huts and scrub into a 9,500m2 world class facility which is increasing the Museum’s existing footprint by 60%.

The Dome will be dedicated on the night of Friday 8 December by Helen Clark, Prime Minister, at a grand opening celebration being held to thank the vast array of supporters and sponsors who have made this achievement possible. It is impossible to thank everyone involved in a press release, but the Museum would like to pay special tribute to the Government ($27 million), ASB Community Trust ($12.9 million), The Lion Foundation ($1.5 million), New Zealand Lottery Grants Board ($1.3 million), the Stevenson Family and Stevenson Charitable Trust ($1.5 million), whose generosity ensured the completion of this spectacular gift to Auckland.

One of the most important aspects of the completion of the project is the completion of the basement storage facilities that will allow the complete Museum collection to be returned from its current offsite storage facility. Auckland Museum is the guardian of New Zealand’s most significant national collections, and the new storage will allow the return of between five and six million objects to their rightful home. The registration and conservation teams have spent three and a half years packing to come home!

Auckland Museum invites all of the region to help them celebrate this stunning milestone in their history. An Open Day will be held on Saturday 9 December with activities, tours, events and the opening of the landmark exhibition Vaka Moana in the brand new Special Exhibitions Hall (separate press release available).

The Dome belongs to all Aucklanders. The Museum could not have completed this project without the ongoing and often overwhelming support of not just government, local authorities, donors and sponsors; but the families of Auckland, who now, more than ever, visit the Museum in their thousands to be inspired by a treasure house that has filled generation after generation with the stories of our land, our people and our darkest hours in times of war. It will continue to do so for generations to come.

Auckland, this is your Museum. On the following pages is some of our story. We thank you and invite you to visit soon and find your story. Welcome Home.

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