Returning to work after a break over the Christmas holidays, I can certainly say I've had to hit the ground running.

Our fabulous customer service team has been exceptionally busy over the holiday period, with the number of visitors in the first week of January higher than the entire month of January last year.

Our team continues to do a great job providing the best possible customer service.

Feedback from our visitors tells us that they appreciate the assistance our team provides and that the museum is highly valued, with 93 per cent of visitors in December rating the museum experience as positive or very positive.


While the Survivor Stories film continues to be one of the highlights for visitors, all the galleries and programmes are well appreciated.

Some specific comments include - "Great earthquake exhibit, especially Survivors Stories, quite moving", "I was impressed with the depth of information on the Two Sisters", "Tea exhibition – excellent", and "Good activities for kids".

Free entry is a regular feature in feedback and continues to positively influence the number of visitors to the museum.

As always, we gather and review suggestions on what we can do better, monitoring these for patterns and ideas to provide a service and experience that is always evolving and improving.

Things have also been very busy behind the scenes with items arriving to set up the new library space.

Both teams, MTG and the library, continue to work hard to ensure everything is ready to run as smoothly as possible on February 7 – the library's opening day.

It's been great over these last few months getting to know the library team better and we're looking forward to working together.

In the meantime the library summer reading programme is already up and running at MTG.

If you've been looking for the reading programme it's in the education room – just off the front foyer of the museum. And there are plenty of other things for families and children in this space, with lots of fun craft activities to complete.

Our popular activity trail continues to keep children engaged and entertained as they go through the galleries.

And more is happening - with a ramp under construction on the Herschell St side of the building.

We're thrilled to see this work under way. A ramp leading to the Century Theatre Foyer has been on my "wish list" for a long time. This will make the library and Century Theatre more accessible for everyone, just as it should be.

We're also working on developing a Strategic Plan for MTG, so we can look ahead and determine where we want to go next.

You can be sure that visitor engagement and community satisfaction will remain top priorities and we'll be asking stakeholders and community groups what they'd like to see the museum achieve next.

The team here will continue to work hard and provide the best possible customer service and museum facility for the region. One, we sincerely hope, you are proud of and happy to recommend to others.

It already looks like a full and busy year ahead and we're excited about the opportunities and possibilities it holds.

• Laura Vodanovich is the director of the Museum Theatre Gallery (MTG) Hawke's Bay.