Mo­tat looks to the future

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHITTAKER

BIG changes are com­ing for Mo­tat in an ef­fort to breathe new life into the 50-year-old mu­seum.

But rest as­sured that the old favourites like the trams will not be scrapped.

Mo­tat’s new five-year stat­egy aims to make it more rel­e­vant, chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Fraw­ley says.

Its vis­i­tor num­bers are com­par­a­tively low with 270,000 peo­ple pass­ing through its gates in 2013, whereas Auck­land Zoo at­tracts around 700,000 vis­i­tors each year.

The new strat­egy comes in re­sponse to Dame Ch­eryll Sotheran’s 2012 re­port which raised a num­ber of con­cerns about the mu­seum’s op­er­a­tion and di­rec­tion.

‘‘One thing [raised in the re­port] was that just hav­ing a few ob­jects, and some stuff you can maybe take a ride on, is go­ing to have a lim­ited ap­peal,’’ Mr Fraw­ley says.

‘‘You come along to Mo­tat when you’re be­tween 5 and 11 and you think it’s a fan­tas­tic place be­cause there is lots of things to see and you might get to ride on a tram.

‘‘But once you’ve done it once, it starts get­ting a bit bor­ing be­cause you’re not learn­ing any­thing new,’’ he says.

The aim is to take Mo­tat from be­ing ‘‘a col­lec­tion of things’’ and turn it into a ‘‘light­bulb in­sti­tu­tion’’, Mr Fraw­ley says.

‘‘We don’t want peo­ple to come here and see things, we want them to ex­pe­ri­ence it. We want vis­i­tors to have that sniff, scratch, smell ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

Mo­tat will be­come more of a sci­ence mu­seum fo­cus­ing on Kiwi in­ge­nu­ity.

Vis­i­tors will get to see how his­toric ob­jects like the penny far­thing bi­cy­cle gave rise to the elec­tronic YikeBike, or how Richard Pearse’s first plane helped in­spire mod­ern air­craft.

They’ll also get to see the sci­ence be­hind the in­ven­tions.

‘‘If kids come through here and see a tram or one of our old ob­jects, and hear these types of sto­ries, they might think ‘ OK, ac­tu­ally I’ve got an idea’. Then we’re cre­at­ing the in­no­va­tors of the future.

‘‘That’s what we mean by a light­bulb in­sti­tu­tion,’’ Mr Fraw­ley says.

The op­tion of a sci­ence mu­seum was pop­u­lar with vis­i­tors who were sur­veyed while the plan was be­ing de­vel­oped, Mr Fraw­ley says.

‘‘We’re keep­ing all of the old stuff but we’re us­ing it in a dif­fer­ent way.’’

A think-tank made up of New Zealand in­no­va­tors in­clud­ing Sir Ray Avery will ex­plore ideas for future ex­hi­bi­tions.

The leader: Mo­tat chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Fraw­ley.

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