Museum tackles 'discomfort' issues

Otago Museum officials are planning several measures, including adding a small conservatory near the ground floor cafe, to keep wind out of the building's foyer.

Museum chief executive Shimrath Paul said work was under way with Naylor Love to resolve the "longstanding issue" of cold air entering through the main ground floor doors and a nearby smaller external entrance to the cafe.

These problems caused "significant visitor discomfort" in winter, Mr Paul told a recent Otago Museum Trust Board meeting.

Conditions could also be unpleasant for staff working in the entry areas, and leaves were being blown inside, officials said.

Mr Paul said several solutions had been previously considered, and the "preferred method" had been to pump extra heat into the foyer.

However, given increased energy costs, it had become "feasible and sensible" to revisit the issue.

A proposed solution being costed involved using "air-curtain technology" at the entrance vestibule for the main doors.

The small conservatory addition would have an entrance area to break the flow of air into the main cafe area, and underfloor heating.

This conservatory, with a planned east-facing external door, was being designed by McCoy and Wixon, and would be "in sympathy" with the museum's Centennial Wing.

The conservatory would also add further seating capacity, which could be used for group bookings and generate more revenue.

Museum organisers said the conservatory could cost about $70,000 and the air curtain about $15,000.

Costs would be met from museum funds, and not from rates income.

It was envisaged the air curtain would be installed first, and it was hoped the lightweight metal and glass conservatory could be added before the end of the winter, officials said.


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