11 responses to ““Otago” —musing the provincial social history museum

  1. Elizabeth

    Given Otago’s history it makes perfect sense to combine the neighbouring cultural complexes – more sense than the “toytwo” and pet rock debacle.

    Topically, of course, the Chinese Garden has turned into red carpet for the proposed hotel at 41 Wharf St. Optimisation of stepping stones either side of the railway shunting yards!

    Should the Council provide a function space at the Garden, to be in direct competition with existing privately-owned Chinese dining and function venues in the city ? (And, we’re told, the proposed hotel will have a banqueting hall.)

    Besides, isn’t the ‘hire space’ at the settlers museum now large enough to cater to all cultural groups and others, isn’t that some of what the debt spending at the museum is all about ?

    Why didn’t the former mayor Chin and former general manager ‘Community Life’, Graeme Hall, not see the need for a larger ‘tea house’ at the Chinese Garden as essential to the Garden’s viability, when the Garden was still on the drawing boards, and prior to finalisation of plans for the staged redevelopment of the museum ?

    Settlers museum, Chinese Garden management merged
    Moving the gift shop to the front entrance, to maximise returns, and building a function space at the back of the garden, with room for 100 guests, were also being investigated by the council’s city property staff, as ways of boosting revenue. The function space would allow the garden to host “commercially viable” conferences, dinners, weddings and other events, regular restaurant dinners, and a “more substantial” cafe during the day.
    ODT Link

    • Elizabeth
      January 24, 2013 at 1:06 p

      You say “Why didn’t the former mayor Chin,… not see the need for a larger ‘tea house’ at the Chinese Garden as essential to the Garden’s viability, when the Garden was still on the drawing boards, and prior to finalisation of plans for the staged redevelopment of the museum ??”

      Elizabeth. The original concept for the Chinese Garden provided for restaurants as well as extended Settlers Museum interpretative facilities and linked to the garden. It was always expected that the commercial facilities would be developed by the private sector. These were envisaged as being 2nd and 3rd stages. Obviously for a variety of reasons they did not materialise.

  2. Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    Toitū Otago Settlers Museum a Big Hit

    This item was published on 09 Dec 2013

    Toitū Otago Settlers Museum has attracted 320,884 visitors in its first year of operation. The Museum underwent a four-stage, $37.5 million redevelopment which began in 2008 and finished last year. The redeveloped facility, which has doubled in size, had a civic opening on 7 December 2012. Toitū Otago Settlers Museum Acting Director Jennifer Evans says, “The response from visitors has been fantastic! The team here are thrilled with the very high visitor numbers, which are more than four times as many as before the redevelopment.
    Read more

  3. Of course it would attract many visitors. It is an impressive display of Dunedin’s history and development. I myself have been several times, each seeing more and more detail. But, not to put too finer point on it, at $37.5 million (of debt) plus undisclosed staff and running costs, is it really a financially viable project for Dunedin? Especially on top of the Stadium and the Dunedin Conference Centre. Indeed, if there was some revenue to help service the costs it would make it a more sane development. But of course, being Dunedin as soon as you charge entry the crowds melt away. You would have thought the charge – no charge exercise that was tried pre update would have shown that. Good luck with its chances of survival once the true costs emerge.

  4. Elizabeth

    “We’re still learning how to drive the building.” –Jennifer Evans

    ### ODT Online Sun, 3 Aug 2014
    Inspiration from [Otago Settlers Museum’s] past
    By John Gibb
    Attendance at the Otago Settlers Museum is high, after a major redevelopment, but recently appointed director Jennifer Evans still draws some of her inspiration from earlier, tougher times. Ms Evans (51), who became director this week, still vividly remembers meeting a previous museum director, the late Elizabeth Hinds, in the 1980s, and subsequently being impressed by her vision and commitment.
    Read more

  5. My guess is that Jennifer Evans will be carrying the “L” plate on her windscreen for a long time. How do you learn to drive an establishment with debt over $30 million, next to no income and operating costs in the $thousands? The only answer is the money in your tank ‘sweetie’. The ratepayers will have to push her to the next millennium.

  6. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz August 6, 2014 – 6:50pm
    Nightly interview: Jennifer Evans
    There is a new director at Otago Settlers Museum, who will also oversee the management of the Dunedin Chinese Garden. Jennifer Evans was recently appointed to the role, having been the acting director since September. She joins us to talk about the museum’s future.
    Video

  7. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 5 Sep 2015
    Museum collection going online
    By Craig Borley
    People from around the world will soon have access to more than 100,000 of Otago Settlers Museum’s hidden treasures as the collection heads online. Testing is under way for the major project that will result in most of the museum’s collection being available online within a year.
    Read more

  8. Elizabeth

    Josephine, the historic railway engine, remains the star of the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum foyer, but a new touchscreen interactive display nearby also provides a wealth of Otago railways information for visitors.

    Sat, 18 Jun 2016
    ODT: Otago rail story at fingertips
    ….The new interactive “information station” includes more than 1000 high-quality old photographs and many video clips, some showing comments by retired railway staff. The new information facility invites visitors to view the different railway lines that used to run around Otago and celebrates the much bigger role once played by the railways in Dunedin and Otago. Exhibition developer William McKee said the Otago railway system peaked in the early 20th century, between 1900 and 1910, when more than 100 trains a day left the Dunedin Railway Station. At that time there were more than 200 railway stations throughout Otago as the railways opened up the region, providing access to many far-flung places, including the station at Kingston, beside Lake Wakatipu. Cont/

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