Fewer visitors to new museum than old one

18:30, May 28 2014

Napier's new $18 million museum has attracted fewer visitors than the old one over its first summer of operation.

The troubled MTG (museum, theatre, gallery) building, which opened last year, had 10,452 admissions in the January-March period.

The old museum on the same site, which closed in July 2010, had 14,448 admissions in the same period in 2010.

The lower visitor numbers are despite the city hosting nearly twice the number of cruise ship passengers over summer. Over the latest cruise season, from October to March, 94,283 passengers visited Napier.

In the 2009-10 season there were 49,393.

Asked for an explanation as to why the museum numbers were lower, Napier City Council tourism manager Neil Fergus said it could be because there was a "spike" in visitors in January 2010, when 14 cruise ships visited. This January just nine ships visited.

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A council spokeswoman said the low visitor numbers was one of the reasons a review of the museum was being carried out.

The review, which started in March, is expected to be completed soon.

It was instigated after the projected number of people entering the building was found to be highly exaggerated.

The council's 10-year plan of 2012 predicted 690,000 annual entries, but this appeared to have been based largely on people using the public toilets, as well as a shortcut that existed in the old museum building.

The latest estimate is 120,000, and the building appears to be on target to meet this, with 92,660 entries in the year to date.

Of these, 29,053 have entered the museum. The rest have gone to a movie, or entered the building, but not the museum.

The review will also tackle the revelation this year that the new building can store only about 40 per cent of the collection which is supposed to fit in it, and look at entrance charges, set at $15 an adult.

The Dominion Post