The Nelson Provincial Museum’s interim chief executive Olivia Hall outside the newly-purchased area for a new collections facility. Photo: Supplied.

Museum buys up CBD land

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The trust which governs the Nelson Provincial Museum has purchased CBD land as part of plans for a new multi-million dollar facility to house the the region’s collections.

The purchase comes as the museum’s Isel Park Research Facility, which currently houses the Nelson Tasman regional collection, is at the end of its useful life and not suitable to safely store the region’s collection or staff.

Interim chair of the Tasman Bay Heritage Trust, Emma Thompson, says the newly purchased land, which is currently used for carparking and located on Church St, is an exciting step forward.

She says that the museum’s purpose is: “To care for, strengthen and make widely accessible, the taonga and heritage collections of Nelson Tasman; and to create unforgettable experiences that stimulate awareness, celebrate diversity, excite action and entertain.”

Emma says the upcoming capital works project will ensure the safe and appropriate storage of the history of our region.

“Securing this land brings us one step closer to the realisation of this important goal.”

Interim chief executive Olivia Hall says the project has been underway for a number of years, including undertaking feasibility studies, assessing future storage requirements, and working with the councils to establish the best location.

“Now, with the purchase of the land, the next phase is to not only fundraise and firm up the details of the capital works building project, but also to take the concept to the community for their input.”

The Isel Park facility was opened in 1973 and houses the region’s archive and research library of rare, original and one-off manuscripts, books, maps, photographs and records, as well as conservation of various heritage objects and taonga spanning more than 100 years.

A series of reports have addressed the issues of appropriate collection storage, including a detailed engineering evaluation which revealed areas of concern in meeting building standards.

The total build cost of the new facility is projected to be between $11 to $12 million and will require funding from a variety of sources.

Nelson City Council has earmarked $3 million in its 2018-2028 Long Term Plan (LTP), and Tasman District Council has noted their intention to review a contribution to the building in the next review of their LTP.

Both councils continue to support the activity of the museum through yearly operational grants.

Olivia says she is looking forward to progressing the plans with the community.

“To ensure that the new archives, research and collection storage is reflective of their aspirations for the care and protection of the past, and the future of their region.”