Museum cuts number of activities

Kate Wilson
Kate Wilson
Otago Museum organisers plan to reduce some of the museum's activities and displays in a belt-tightening exercise, but are confident the quality of "visitor experience" will not be undermined.

The museum's latest annual plan, for the financial year starting this month, was recently approved by the Otago Museum Trust Board and has been sent to the Dunedin City Council and the museum's three other contributing district councils.

The city council has not increased its operational funding for the museum in the 2011-12 year as it seeks to limit its own overall costs.

Museum exhibitions, development and planning director Clare Wilson said the museum was caught "between a rock and a hard place" over funding issues.

The museum faced limited funding and the effect of inflation, as well as higher insurance premiums after the Christchurch earthquakes, and rising energy charges.

The museum had had to cut back some of its activities, but the high quality of experience for museum visitors would be maintained, she said.

The final form of the annual plan shows targets for several activities are being reduced: with four display cases to be developed for the museum foyer, instead of the initially proposed six, and one externally sourced exhibition being presented in the special exhibitions area (initially two).

Four exhibits will be refurbished or created for Discovery World (initially six), and at least 20 of the museum's mobile Starlab planetarium sessions will be offered throughout Otago-Southland (previously 30).

Paid promotions of museum programmes and activities will be reduced, as will market research (the latter involving two special exhibitions, instead of four).

The annual plan also envisages a series of capital projects being undertaken during the year, including $100,000 for the "revitalisation" of the museum's Animal Attic and "targeted improvements" amounting to $20,000 each at the Southern Land, Southern People Gallery and the Pacific Culture Galleries.

The museum will also soon begin installing hardware and attaching 1000 exhibit identification tags for its new, computerised Radio Frequency Identification Devices system, to improve the efficiency and security of its artefact management.

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