Nightcaps Community Museum is for sale. The museum, which is just up the road from Otautau, has been around for about 15 years and houses a vast wealth of Nightcaps heritage including mining memorabilia and Kiwiana from ages past. It's a mindboggling experience for any visitor and harkens back to what museums were traditionally about - collections.
The primary reason for the sale comes down to money. The museum doesn't generate enough to pay its Southland District Council rates or insurance. There is also a notable lack of volunteers. Volunteers are the life blood of any community. Without them, a community museum has very little hope of keeping the town's heritage alive for future generations. Sadly, that seems to be the case here.
Gail Emmerson and her husband have run the museum for many years, adding to the collection and hosting visitors as they came through town. But over the last 12 months, they've had to make the unenviable decision of whether to continue on or sell.
Having decided to sell, they now must deal with the next challenge. Part of their collection is of general origin which will be easy enough to sell, but the other part is directly linked to Nightcaps heritage and ideally should remain in Nightcaps. Finding the original donors of these items or even finding a suitable place to store them for the future will be difficult. Some items are large like a dray and will need dedicated indoor storage. So far, there have been no offers coming from any sector of the Nightcaps community nor externally.
If anyone is interested to discuss this, please email Gail Emmerson.
We're open Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and by request. Your comments are always welcome!