Record museum visitors

Popular museum . . . Port Chalmers Maritime Museum honorary curator Norman Ledgerwood (left) and Port Chalmers Historical Society committee member Brian McCormack prepare to hand Donald Fletcher's copy of Charles Kettle's1848 sketch of Port Chalmers from Koputai Bay. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The Port Chalmers Historical Society is celebrating a record-breaking season at Port Chalmers Maritime Museum.

In the 2016-17 year, more than 10,500 people visited the museum, up from about 7000 in previous years.

Port Chalmers Maritime Museum honorary curator Norman Ledgerwood said the jump in numbers was most likely due to cruise ship passengers from the three ships that stayed in port overnight to avoid bad weather.

“On those days, we had a lot more people wandering around in Port Chalmers, looking for something to do,” Mr Ledgerwood said.

The society had adapted by increasing its pool of volunteers and doubling up on days cruise ships were due in port, president Warner Gardiner said.

“You never know how many people will come in during the day, but it pays to be prepared,” Mr Gardiner said.

Mr Ledgerwood and fellow volunteers were working on a new exhibition, highlighting Dunedin’s historic harbour ferries.

A panel was also being created focusing on Port Chalmers’ historic Victorian stone churches – Iona Church, Holy Trinity Church, and St Mary Star of the Sea Church.

Port Chalmers Maritime Museum underwent a $375,000 redevelopment in 2014.

The project included earthquake-strengthening, redeveloping the interior, redesigning displays, the establishment of the Ian Church Archives and Research Centre, and a new boat shed section.

Mr Ledgerwood said the historical society was embarking on a fundraising campaign to raise about $150,000 to build a storage area.

“At the moment, we have just about everything in our collection on display, because we don’t have anywhere to store it.”