Whanganui Regional Museum will this weekend close its doors for 18 months.

The museum's doors will be shut at 4.30pm on Sunday, ahead of its move to temporary premises in Ridgway St. The museum will open in Ridgway St on September 19.

The museum building in Queens Park will be closed will necessary earthquake strengthening work is carried out.

This weekend, the museum is holding a gala to allow the public to have a good look around the museum collection before the move.

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On both Saturday and Sunday there will be a new Museum Explorer for the kids, a Q&A session with museum director Frank Stark and the chance to go in the draw to win a VIP preview of the new museum when it re-opens in 2018.

On Saturday a highlight will be a performance on the first barrel organ ever brought to New Zealand, made in 1829. This magnificent instrument will be played by collection manager Trish Nugent-Lyne, and senior curator Libby Sharpe will talk about its history and how the organ works.

On Sunday kids get to curate and make their very own "museum in a box", taking inspiration from their favourite things in the galleries. At 4.30 pm the doors will close, accompanied by karakia and karanga to mark the occasion - meet by 4.15 pm in the museum atrium if you would like to take part.