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Strong year for Central Stories

The Central App

Aimee Wilson

10 June 2024, 5:30 PM

Strong year for Central Stories Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery is making progress with its visitor numbers. PHOTO: File

Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra has had a strong year with increasing numbers of visitors coming through the door each month.

A report from staff to the Vincent Community Board presented yesterday showed that average monthly numbers each month had increased from 2340 back in 2021/22 to 3127 people over the past year.

As well as regular art exhibitions and six school holiday programmes, Central Stories also hosted several events during the year including science expos and an astro-tourism conference, as well as completing the redesign and refurbishment of the foyer and shop.

Children enjoying one of the school holiday programmes offered at Central Stories. PHOTO: File

Cr Martin McPherson noted the substantial growth and said staff were doing a great job.

Central Stories made a profit of $27,000 over the past year, compared to just $11,000 and $13,000 in previous years, but still relies on funding from the Vincent Community Board each year.

Alexandra District Museum Inc (ADMI), operating as Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, received $108,667 from the Vincent Community Board for the 2022/23 financial year. 

Of that funding, $82,000 was its annual grant, which contributes to operational costs of the museum and art gallery.

A one-off payment of $26,667 was also made, to align the organisation’s funding cycle to the board’s annual grant round (November 1).

In the financial manager’s report, it was noted that at the start of the 2023/24 year they only had one fulltime employee and a part-time contractor, and to operate efficiently, and not be reliant on excessive volunteer time, the organisation required at least two full time equivalent staff. 

There are currently 18 volunteers involved with the organisation.

Central Stories has now secured funding from Lotteries for another part-time staff member and the team was planning for a sustainable future.

The report said although the museum would prefer $167,000 in annual funding, it had been told to only budget for $82,000 in the next funding round.

“Where we are at the moment is not sustainable in the long term,” administration and collections manager Andy Davey told the board.

“It’s not just a museum, but more than that with the relationships we have been building up around Central Otago.”

The Museum 100 project with the Central Otago Museum Trust and five other museums around the district coincided with its multi-year project to digitise the collection, with help from the volunteers.