Ava Paterson, 10, checks out her painted face during the family fun day at the Nelson Provincial Museum on Saturday, as part of its 175 birthday celebrations. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Our museum celebrates its own 175 year history

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The adults may have celebrated the Nelson Provincial Museum’s 175th birthday on Thursday night, but when Saturday rolled around it was the kids’ turn.

The museum was filled with painted faces and chubby toddler fingers grasping balloon animals tightly at the museum’s Family Fun Day.

The kids had the run of the museum with face painting, a clown, balloons and art competitions that are being displayed proudly in the museum windows.

The museum’s chief executive, Lucinda Blackley-Jimson, says it was a fun day and the staff and kids all got into it.

“It was lovely seeing kids running around the streets of Nelson afterwards with their balloons and smiling, painted faces,” she says. “Our front of house staff really got into it and there’s been a real buzz with all the celebrations.

“We had so many children, parents and caregivers come and have fun and really enjoy themselves, it was great to see. We want to make the museum a really accessible place for the community to come, particularly the young ones.”

As New Zealand’s oldest museum, the Nelson Provincial Museum is the first in the country to reach this impressive milestone.

“We’re really excited,” say Lucinda. “It’s a great honour to be New Zealand’s oldest museum and its an exciting legacy to bring forward into the future.”

The idea for the museum was conceived by one of the early Pakeha settlers from England who started collecting items for the museum and library and grew it into the collections we know today.

For the slightly more mature celebrations on Thursday night, the museum was open late for a talk on Nelson’s Underbelly, speeches on the museum’s history, a birthday cake was cut and there was a performance from Nelson’s Mosaic choir.