Museum Café and Historic Corridor

Monday 30, September 2019 | News |

As part of the strengthening and restoration project for Rotorua Museum, the opportunity will be taken to upgrade key amenities in the building to enhance functionality, accessibility and the overall visitor experience.

One area of the Museum that was prone to congestion was the corridor outside the Museum Café. As well as being the entry to the café and the toilets, it was where people queued for Rotorua Stories Cinema and the lift to the mezzanine level. This made it difficult for people moving towards the exhibition galleries in the North wing.

Engineers, architects and heritage specialists have been working to ensure the space becomes more efficient and restores as many heritage features as possible.

Redesigned Café

The café is located in the original site of the Rachel Bath (shown below). The new design will be a nod to its earlier function, with a full height historic image of the baths at one end, floor treatment topped with glass outlining the site of the original pool, and reinstatement of the tiled dado.

A mezzanine increases capacity and provides a new fire egress (exit) from the viewing platform. The contemporary glass and wooden platform clearly differentiate the old from the new.

Re-Established Historic Corridor

When first constructed in 1908 the north wing corridor was dominated by a dramatic raked ceiling with exposed rafters and sky lights.

The project will see the removal of the current suspended ceiling to expose the original raking and sky lights that are still intact. Heritage light fittings and the east wall tile dado will be reinstated.

Several of the previously closed heritage doorways will be re-established aiding flow through the Taking the Cure exhibitions, while other original door openings will be marked with painted outlines.

The hallway floor will be repaired and replicas of the original floor grates will be installed.

Extended Toilet Facilities and new Flexible Gallery Space

To meet current building compliance standards the toilet facilities have been moved and extended to include a parent’s suite with nursing room, disability toilets and increased capacity.

The old lift has been removed to make way for the required extended toilet facilities and a new exhibition space. 

A new full-sized lift will be installed on the other side of the Museum foyer and will allow lift access from the mezzanine all the way down to the Mud Bath Basement exhibition.