We're so excited that from Monday all the community will be able to come in and enjoy MTG Hawke's Bay without paying an entry fee.

It's been a desire of ours to make the museum free for a long time and we're so very pleased and grateful that councillors and council senior management have now brought this to fruition.

There's been overwhelmingly positive feedback about removal of the entry charge and we're delighted to see the message is spreading far and wide on social media.

And more good news, I'm also pleased to say that we're in the running for another design award - this time the 2017 Designers Institute of New Zealand, Best Design Awards.


Two exhibitions, Indra's Bow and A Glimpse of India, were put forward as a combined entry in the Spatial Design section and we've been selected as a finalist in the category of Best Exhibition or Temporary Structure.

These two displays showed how design can completely transform a space, and were described as "stunningly beautiful".

Indra's Bow showed a great example of collaboration, with MTG staff working with artists Tiffany Singh and Jo Blogg to create an immersive and sensory art installation.

The adjoining collection-based exhibition, A Glimpse of India, evoked a sense of place through architectural detailing and bold use of colour.

We are the only museum to be a finalist, with winners announced at an awards function on October 6. We'll certainly let you know if we win!

While these exhibitions have finished, with free entry everyone will have a chance to see future displays that may be up for awards, and not miss anything.

And on the subject of being free, MTG is open with free entry from 7pm-10pm today as part of the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival White Night event.

Come along and enjoy art created by award-winning tape-art pioneers, talk to a curator and have a mini-tour in a gallery, enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, with a pop-up bar, and some tasty Paella-a-go-go out on the forecourt.

This international trend of having cultural facilities open and free for an evening provides a fun way to explore Napier at night and have a different experience.

If you've ever been tempted to have a look through all the galleries in town now is your chance and we hope people will take the opportunity to explore the rich range of cultural experiences available in the centre of Napier.

And Monday, October 2, is the perfect day to move to permanent free entry - just in time for the school holidays.

As always, there are things for children to do at the museum, with activities in some of the galleries, a large colouring wall in the front foyer, an activity trail and our drop-in zone with crafts and books to enjoy - and a place for parents to stop and rest.

Removing the entry fee allows everyone to visit as often as they like and we hope to welcome many new faces into the museum.

White Night - tape art, talk to a curator, pop-up bar and paella for sale. Tonight, Saturday, September 30, 7pm-10pm. Free entry.

• The Kugels, playing Klezmer Music, in the Century Theatre as part of the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival. Tonight, Saturday, September 30, 5.30pm. Tickets from Ticketek and door sales.

Beauty Matters, David Trubridge weaves storytelling and performance in the Century Theatre as part of the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival. Tonight, Saturday, September 30, 8.30pm. Tickets from Ticketek and door sales.

Keeping the Faith, author Jenny Pattrick speaks with Paula Murdoch about her novel, Leap of Faith, in the Century Theatre as part of the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival. Sunday, October 1, 11am. Tickets from Ticketek and door sales.

• National Secondary Schools Brass Band with guest cornet soloist Kyle Lawson. Saturday, October 7, 4pm-6pm. Tickets from Ticketek.

• Kids' drop-in zone will be open throughout the school holidays with craft activities, colouring, a story corner and a museum activity trail.

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