Alicia Laird has had a couple of birthdays since she helped close the Whanganui Regional Museum doors in September 2016.

On Saturday, she joined kuia Josephine Takarangi-Firmin who closed them with her over two years ago to reopen them.

Alicia Laird and Josephine Takarangi-Firmin returned to open the museum doors they closed in 2016. Photo/Bevan Conley
Alicia Laird and Josephine Takarangi-Firmin returned to open the museum doors they closed in 2016. Photo/Bevan Conley

Museum director Frank Stark said brass and guitar duo Tahupōtiki Pikimāui and Ben Thompson provided the perfect accompaniment for the opening and they were followed by Trish Nugent-Lyne playing the museum's1829 barrel organ.

Jerome Kavanagh provided sweet sounds from traditional Māori instrument taonga puoro and children from a number of local schools combined for a kapa haka performance led by Lisa Reweti.

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"I don't think they had even rehearsed together as a group and they were very well co-ordinated," said museum director Frank Stark.

The music continued with performances by Daniel Fitzsimmons and Ellen Young of Castlecliff Lights.

The Queenspark building which has undergone extensive earthquake strengthening and repairs was visited by thousands of people during the weekend and on Sunday there was a tour with senior museum curator Libby Sharpe and an introduction to the natural treasures with Keith Beautrais.

A highlight for many was Don Gordon from the Union Boat Club talking about Awesome – The Story Of The Army Eight exhibition in the new Samuel Drew Gallery.

All weekend, there were opportunities to explore the refurbished museum interior with interactive exhibitions, dress-up selfies and films showing in the new AV room.

Stark said he was looking forward to putting his feet up after welcoming an estimated 4500 visitors to the museum since Friday which started with a blessing and re-dedication ceremony at 5am.