As we head into February, things are coming together nicely for the opening of the Napier Library at MTG on 7 February. Just this week the concrete was poured and the handrails installed for our new ramp leading into the Theatre Foyer: the connecting hub between the library area and the rest of the museum. This entrance point into the building, off Herschell Street, will provide the most direct access to the library.
The team of workers have done a great job on this within a very short timeframe and the ramp looks as if it has always been there, blending in beautifully with the building architecture. The reason I’m so excited about a ramp is not because of the look or efficiency with which it has been built (both of which have been great) but because of what it represents – genuine accessibility. Especially for library users during the day and theatre patrons in the evenings.
I’ve had the privilege of a sneak peek through the new library space and I think it looks stunning. Darran Gillies, Library Manager, and his team have done a fabulous job working within a smaller space to ensure they still offer a great range of books and services for their customers. Once the library is open, we hope visitors will enjoy being able to experience both facilities within one building, along with our new opening hours of 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Sunday.
But there’s not just preparations for the library opening happening. Our team have worked hard to ensure we’re ready for the Art Deco Festival as well. A small selection of beautiful kimono from the Art Deco period is on display in the Linkway Corridor (by the Century Foyer) and a number of gorgeous tea sets are on display in our Time for Tea exhibition, with an extra case of tea sets in the front foyer. At night some detailed shots of the chinaware from this exhibition are projected onto a wall by the mezzanine, so at night you can still get access to a taste of what is inside. Downstairs by the earthquake gallery there’s a small selection of Art Deco objects on display and Hei Manu Tioriori showcases bands from the jazz age.
We’ll have lots of musical events happening in the theatre and elsewhere over the festival period, including cabaret, jazz bands, pianists and solo singers. In the theatre you can be inspired by the beautiful songs of Marlene Dietrich and Cole Porter, experience a German cabaret or tap your toes to a jazz band. Out in the theatre foyer you can enjoy the creative genius of Gershwin with live piano performances or experience the beautiful voice of Charles Ropitini (formerly in charge of Maori Engagement at MTG) as he takes you on a singing tour of our Hei Manu Tioriori exhibition.
Whatever you choose to do over the Art Deco weekend we hope you’ll come in and enjoy some of what we have on offer. While you’re here you can also peruse the great range of books on Art Deco at the library.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 27th January 2018