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The Otago Museum will close public and research access to its collections stores for six months from January 1 to June 30, 2020.
The closure will allow the museum to undertake earthquake and pest protection work in the storerooms, and to improve honorary researcher rooms, workrooms and labs.
Otago Museum director Ian Griffin said the museum had seen a threefold increase in the number of access requests in recent years.
"Work to support these requests, as well as to support a busy programme of exhibitions and collections-based interventions and to digitise and care for the collections, has hindered efforts to address basic storage and work space issues or to undertake much-needed earthquake mitigation work,'' he said.
"By closing the stores to public and research access, collections and conservation staff can concentrate on improving collection and work spaces that will support better, more efficient access in the future.''
Otago Museum staff will continue to respond to access requests until November 30.
During the closure, item, receipt forms, existing requests and events and any inquiries that do not seek access to the stores will be attended to as usual.
Otago Museum's honorary curators will continue to work in their usual capacities.
The scheduled work includes completing the furniture store rehousing and fit-out of the packing room; improving workflow in the imaging room and work and researcher rooms; installing improved infrastructure in the stores; assessing and auditing layout, textile and isolation rooms, and the conservation lab; and finding a solution for housing the spears collection.
As time allows, work will progress on data collection and management alongside the physical works.
"It is not uncommon for museums to close access to stores to undertake these jobs,'' Dr Griffin said.
"For example, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum has just completed a similar closure to allow them to address a backlog of accessions work.
"We anticipate six months of very focused work which will result in a much better experience for all who use our collections,'' he said.
- Staff reporter