Transitional museum space on way

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    The site for the transitional Southland Museum & Art Gallery/Invercargill Public Art Gallery, cnr Don and Kelvin Sts, Invercargill. Photo: Supplied

    WORK is about to begin to develop a transitional museum and art gallery in Invercargill.

    Southland Museum & Art Gallery (SMAG) and the Invercargill Public Art Gallery (IPAG) are collaborating to develop the space.

    “Establishing a museum and art gallery space to the standard that Southland deserves is exciting,” SMAG manager David Luoni said.

    SMAG was closed in April last year and IPAG’s former location at Anderson House was closed in 2014 after both buildings were deemed earthquake-prone.

    The transitional museum and art gallery space was being set up while decisions were made about establishing permanent facilities.

    Luoni said building consent for the building on the corner of Don and Kelvin Sts was issued last month, so work could now begin.

    The transitional museum and art gallery was expected to open early next year. At the start of the year, they had hoped to have the transitional space ready by last month, but that proved to be overly optimistic, he said.

    “Gaining a building consent took significantly longer than anticipated.”

    The fit-out was estimated to cost $666,000 (excluding GST).

    Mr Luoni said funding for the project had come from existing SMAG funds and contributions from the Invercargill City Council, Community Trust South, Southern Trust, Invercargill Licensing Trust and ILT Foundation.

    “SMAG and IPAG would like to thank all these funders for their support and helping ensure that we will have a space to share the region’s heritage and art until permanent facilities are established.” IPAG manager Sarah Brown said an important element of the transitional space was the design of a climate control system which would enable them to display fragile collection items and host touring exhibitions.

    They planned to rotate exhibitions every four to six months to make it a more engaging space.

    Luoni said collections staff were cataloguing and packing the largest collection items at the closed museum site in preparation for relocation.

    The rest of the collection would remain in the closed museum until alternative storage was finalised, he said.

    As it was a secure, climate-controlled facility, it was the most appropriate place to store the collection until long-term storage could be found, he said.

    Cleaning, sealing and painting the closed museum’s pyramid roof was expected to be completed this summer.

    Luoni said this work was required to ensure collections were not compromised.

    “It is important from a collection care aspect to ensure the site remains weather tight.”

    The roof repairs was the only scheduled maintenance planned at this stage, but they were committed to maintaining the site until a decision was made about its future, he said.

    Brown said IPAG’s art collection had been removed from Anderson House, and was now safely stored at the Invercargill Public Library.

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