Exhibitions on hold at Toitu

Several thousand items need to be processed at the museum. Photo: ODT
Several thousand items need to be processed at the museum. Photo: ODT

New exhibitions at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin are on hold for at least a year so staff can focus on processing a backlog of items in its collection.

Staff were called to a meeting at which Dunedin City Council's community services general manager Simon Pickford and museum acting director Cam McCracken announced the decision.

Several thousand items need to be processed.

It was also announced museum director Jennifer Evans had taken voluntary redundancy and would step down from her role at the end of the month.

Ms Evans has been leave since early May and Mr McCracken has been managing the museum, art gallery and Chinese Gardens in her absence.

He will stay in the role for at least another 12 months.

Ms Evans had decided to voluntarily step down because the sole director role at the museum was to be disestablished.

It was not related to her performance, Mr Pickford said.

The decision to remove the role of director came after a review of the management of the council's culture institutions, he said.

''Across the museum, art gallery and the gardens there is a lot of stuff they have in common and out of the discussions we decided to discontinue the role of Toitu director.''

Ms Evans had been part of those discussions.

She would receive a final payout but the amount was confidential and she would remain on leave until her contract ended.

In the past two years there had been many successful temporary exhibitions at the museum but they had taken a lot staff time and resources, he said.

There would now be a focus on cataloguing and processing the several thousand items in temporary storage.

''These are Dunedin's treasures and we need to make sure we're doing them justice and keeping them for future generations.''

All of the items were stored correctly and there was no issue with their condition, he said.

A suffragists exhibition timed to coincide with the 125th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New Zealand would go ahead and would be on display longer.

Ms Evans could not be contacted yesterday.



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