Site secured to give history a new home

Watch this space . . . Standing in front of the future site of the Wynd ham and Districts His torical Society’s new museum are members (from left) Margaret Crump, Karen Milne, Angela Gibb, Southland District Councillor Paul Duffy, President Malcolm Sinclair and member George Smith. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

The 4000-item collection at Wyndham’s museum now has a future after earthquake risks forced it to close four years ago.

The Wyndham and Districts Historical Society has bought land for a new museum to be built in Edendale on the corner of George St and Ferry Rd.

President Malcolm Sinclair said there was a lot of work to do, but it was hoped to have it open within seven years.

“This will be a built-to-purpose museum. It’s lifting the museum to a different level.

“We have taken Waikaia museum sort of as a model. Theirs is a modern museum so that’s what we’re looking for.”

The chosen site was the best of the three that had been considered, he said.

“It’s on the Wyndham side of Edendale. We’re telling the story of the wider district, so it’s a central spot.”

It was also less prone to flooding, which had been an issue with the old museum.

“The land area is large enough. It’s accessible, good for parking and visible on that road.”

Many people used Ferry Rd, so the site was ideal for attracting patrons, especially those with ties to the area.

There was even some historical significance to the site.

It straddled the former railway line, which went from Edendale to Glenham via Wyndham, he said.

After four years without a museum, there was a real need for a new one in the area.

“Young parents are now talking about [how] they want a museum for their children.

“History is becoming so much more important.”

The next step was fundraising, he said.

The team had raised $148,000 for the project so far, but the total amount needed was still unclear.

“We’ll have to get a plan drawn up and then get quotes.”

Rising construction costs also added to the uncertainty and made the fundraising effort that much more urgent, he said.

Southland district councillor Paul Duffy said a feasibility study done by heritage consultant John Coster had given confidence in the plan.

“He looked at different sites too and he said this was the best site as well, so that confirmed our thinking,” Cr Duffy said.

Their latest fundraiser involves a challenge for readers of The Ensign

In the Summa Spell-it-Rite competition, spelling mistakes would be hidden in some adverts in next week’s paper.

Those who spot the errors can enter to win $250.