Search Centre not easily found, museum study finds

Clare Wilson
Clare Wilson
Otago Museum officials are scratching their heads about the best way of redeveloping the museum's somewhat neglected Search Centre.

A recent museum study involving public attitudes to the centre showed ''a lack of awareness of, and engagement with'' it, a recently tabled museum report noted.

At the centre, located near the museum's Discovery World Tropical Forest entry desk, visitors can learn more about museum artefacts, as well as science and humanities topics, by consulting reference books and fact sheets.

Museum collections, research and experience director Clare Wilson said the lack of public involvement appeared to result from the centre being ''obscured'' by the Discovery World desk and generally ''overshadowed by the more highly visible parts of the museum''.

The research also questioned the role of a ''hard copy'' research facility, given that most research these days was conducted at home via the internet.

Ms Wilson said the museum would trial the centre in a new location, in the People of the World Gallery, from mid-year.

The aim was to see if making the centre more visible and its function clearer to visitors increased their involvement with it.

Work had also begun to identify key aspects of the current centre that were of ''high value to visitors'', and to include these in the relocated facility.

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