The Napier Library's temporary home in the MTG Hawke's Bay museum and gallery building was closed this afternoon
after the discovery of what was thought to be a possibly explosive substance in MTG collections.
Napier City Council media said police advised staff to vacate the premises, and specialists were called to examine the substance.
The substance was picric acid, and has been part of the collections for some time. It was found during a routine check of an historical medicine cabinet, the council reported.
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The substance had had several uses in the past, including as an antiseptic and a dye, and was commonly stocked in first aid kits as a treatment for burns. As it ages and crystallises, it can become unstable.
MTG director Laura Vodanovich said it was discovered at about 12.45pm and the library closed just after 1.30pm following advice from the police. NZ Army experts were due overnight to dispose of the substance, and the library was expected to reopen in the morning.
Only a few members of the public were understood to have been in the library at the time.
The MTG itself remains closed, as it has been for more than six months for the sprinkler system and repairs and is scheduled to reopen on July 24.