Causeway display advance

The Toitu Otago Settlers Museum is close to awarding the contract to construct its planned ''Ghosts of Wall Street'' exhibition, focusing on a historic timber causeway uncovered on the site of the Wall Street mall.

Organisers at the Dunedin City Council-owned museum expect the installation to be completed by late September or early October.

Museum director Linda Wigley told a museum board meeting yesterday the museum display would be immersive and involve a ''time tunnel''-like concept.

Toitu visitor experience manager Jennifer Evans said later design work for the new displays had been completed by Workshop e, a Wellington-based museum exhibition design and development firm that was involved in the museum's recent $37.5 million redevelopment.

Associated audiovisual material had also been completed, and there would be four audiovisual displays, three inside the exhibition area and another nearby.

The exhibition would be created off-site and reassembled at the museum to minimise disruption, she said.

Many display cases in the darkened exhibition area would reveal a ''treasure trove of evidence'', including items such as leather boots and ceramic items found during archeological work at the mall site, and reflecting Dunedin's first few decades of settlement, officials said.

Some of the causeway timber would also be displayed at the museum.

The mall area had originally been a swamp that formed a barrier between the Octagon and flat areas in North Dunedin, and the initial causeway was built in the 1850s.

In May, it was estimated the cost to the council of preserving the remnants of the causeway was $153,000 and could total $200,000.

City councillors are yet to decide whether to proceed with an earlier plan to display some of the causeway's remains under a glass floor inside the mall.

Council staff have warned that such a display would require the installation of a full temperature and humidity control system, which officials said in May could cost another $140,000.

City Property assistant manager Rhonda Abercrombie said yesterday City Property, the Toitu museum and the Historic Places Trust were discussing causeway display options at the mall.

City Property was aware of concerns about the high cost of displaying and protecting material there and a range of options would be considered, with a decision likely in coming months.

Even if any big new display was opted for, nothing would be done at the mall site until next April to avoid any disruption to mall tenants during a busy shopping period, she said.


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