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Published: 2004-08-04 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted $10,000 to Whitianga’s Mercury Bay Museum to develop a natural history exhibit.

The Museum is housed in the former Mercury Bay dairy factory building and opened in 1979. The Historical Society operates and manages the museum on behalf of the community and it is staffed by volunteers.

With over 6000 visitors per annum, the museum is the most visited on the Coromandel Peninsula. The society is in the middle of a new project to expand the museum to allow greater display space and updated exhibits. It holds significant collections relating to Captain Cook's arrival, the kauri and gum industries and gold mining, industrial and social history displays.

The planned Natural History Exhibit is part of the overall renovation of the museum, with a modern visitor interactive display area and a local information resource for DoC.

The $70,000 exhibit will include a 15-minute multi-media display that begins on the seabed, and moves in sequence to the seashore and up through the bush to the top of the ranges. A 3 m tall Moa will highlight the exhibit and commentary will be in several languages.

The Entomology Department at the Auckland Museum is making some models and preparing some insect specimens for the display.

The society hopes to have the official opening correspond to the Pohutukawa Festival in November.