Resounding success . . . Port Chalmers Maritime Museum
honorary curator Ian Church (left) discusses aspects of
stage one of the museum's redevelopment with Port Chalmers
Historical Society president Norman Ledgerwood (centre) and
secretary John Moodie. With stage one of the redevelopment
virtually complete, the museum has reopened to the public
and cruise ship visitors. Photo by Brenda Harwood
Light, space and neatly arranged artefacts greet visitors
to Port Chalmers Maritime Museum now that stage one of the
museum's redevelopment is complete.
"After major construction and thousands of hours of volunteer
work, we are ready to welcome the public and cruise ship
passengers once more," Port Chalmers Historical Society
president Norman Ledgerwood said.
Finished on time and within budget, at a cost of about
$120,000, the work has transformed the museum, making it
spacious and inviting.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the result, and the people
who have seen it so far have been amazed by the change," Mr
Construction work by Naylor Love builders had extensively
remodelled the museum's public areas, including shifting a
staircase and opening up a large mezzanine space in the main
The ground floor housed an extensive maritime collection,
while the mezzanine focused on the military history of Port
Chalmers, Mr Ledgerwood said.
Also on the ground floor, a small cinema space has been
created and two rooms have been combined into one large
space, which now houses a Port Chalmers social history
Upstairs, the rooms that were formerly quarters for the Port
Chalmers postmaster have been re-named the Ian Church
Archives and Research Centre.
This includes a maritime reference library, where materials
are being digitally catalogued by librarian David Cameron,
and a work room for researchers.
Fire protection had been upgraded throughout the building.
"We are still working our way through boxes full of
fascinating items from early Port Chalmers maritime history -
it is an extensive collection, " Mr Ledgerwood said.
Since preparation for the redevelopment started, in April, a
team of dedicated volunteers had put in more than 2300 hours
of work, he said.
This had included moving and protecting displays during the
construction, cleaning and setting up displays afterwards and
cataloguing thousands of documents, artefacts, magazines and
The work had been done under the expert guidance of local
historians Ian Church and Celia Wright, with expert advice
from Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.
"We have been very fortunate to have such a great team of
keen volunteers who have been willing to tackle this enormous
task," Mr Ledgerwood said.
The historical society, which owns the museum, plans to
complete the redevelopment in the new year, when about
$55,000 worth of earthquake strengthening will be done.