Lower entry fee still an issue for museum

CAROLYN VEEN
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2014

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The director of Napier's much-criticised Museum Theatre Gallery has said he would like to see no entry fee for it.

After a highly critical review of the $18 million MTG building, which opened 10 months ago, Napier City Council decided last week to lower the entry fee from $15 to $10 for adults.

But director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins said, if he had his way, entry would be free, as it is for most similar museums and galleries in New Zealand.

"The cost of admission is not up to me; it is set by the council," Jenkins said. "The review also said people wanted to see more items on display, which is something we had already been working on . . ."

Technical problems in part of the building were close to being solved, and that would allow it to display a further 200 items, he said.

Initially, the overall plan included an area of displays for children, but that was put on hold to help keep the budget down. "We will be installing a special children-focused exhibition experience in the area that really was only a holding pattern while we caught up. We had only been open seven months when the review was done," Jenkins said.

City council chief executive Wayne Jack said the council initiated the review with the aim of finding the right path forward for the museum. "Our priority is for MTG to realise its full potential; we want to get it back on track so it will be embraced by locals and visitors alike."

As well as suggesting lowering the cost of admission, key findings in the report recommended MTG review its strategic approach; include more regional exhibitions; further enhance its taonga Maori and social history displays; increase the number of items being exhibited and the space available for mounting them; and look at additional storage options.

Jack said the council would look at a "Friends of the City" annual membership scheme, which would allow access into all facilities, including MTG and the National Aquarium, for one price. 

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- The Dominion Post

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