On Monday night Council considered the future of the History House building in Gresson Street and how best to protect the museum collection. The following is a very brief overview of a matter which is very important and has been the subject of many reports, discussions and decisions over the years.
The Gresson Street building was closed in February 2017 due to earthquake prone concerns. In May 2018 Council agreed to proceed with the required earthquake strengthening works but doing these works triggers a lot of requirements under the Building Act, especially in relation to fire suppression, safe escape from fire and access and facilities for people with disabilities. This increases the cost of earthquake strengthening the building significantly.
The building underwent a Change of Use in August 2019 to become a storage building only and therefore it became exempt from having to be earthquake strengthened but the collection remains in a building which does not have suitable conditions to protect it, ie humidity and temperature control and appropriate lighting. Not to mention the building is earthquake prone and there is the very relevant risk to staff who are allowed to access the building for short periods only but it is still a risk to their safety.
In the interests of properly looking the collection and preserving it for future generations, Council decided on Monday night that it would be moved out of the Gresson Street building and put into suitable environmentally controlled storage containers or similar (location to be confirmed). By moving the collection out of Gresson Street, it also ensures staff safety when cataloguing the collection and accessing research material.
Council have deferred making a decision on the future of the Gresson Street building pending the outcome of a proposed feasibility study on a combined Library and Museum.
People who would like more information can read the full report in the 9 March 2020 Council agenda here: https://www.greydc.govt.nz/our-council/agendas-and-minutes/current-year/Pages/March.aspx