Amongst the many events happening this weekend during Wellington’s 150th birthday is the official unveiling of a plaque (below).
The plaque commemorates 150 years since the founding of Te Papa’s predecessor, the Colonial Museum, and the role of James Hector in setting up and running the museum, amongst many other things. (Hector was an amazing scientific and administrative multi-tasker and you can find out more about his many roles on the Te Papa website.)
I’m helping out with the ‘Behind the Scenes’ birthday event at Te Papa, so I’ll miss this historic event. To make up for it, I strolled down Museum Street yesterday to take a sneak peak at the plaque. I don’t want to give away its exact location until it’s been officially unveiled – but here are some clues to where you can find it (which is near the Colonial Museum’s original site).
If the museum were still in Museum Street, visitors today would get this view of the Beehive’s backside.
This 1930s view from Hill Street shows the museum’ original location, on the corner of Bowen and Museum Streets (right, with lawn in front).
I took a photo from near the same spot, as a comparison (below). The Terrace is in the middle distance but trees along on Hill Street obscure the view. Today, Museum Street is a ‘no exit’ parking precinct behind parliament buildings.
The Colonial Museum also moved with the times. In 1936, it relocated to new buildings on Buckle Street in Mount Cook, alongside the National Art Gallery. And then fifty-two years later, the two merged to open as Te Papa by the waterfront on Cable Street. That’s where you’ll find us today.