Refurbished museum opens at Mystery Creek

By: Media Release

The NZ National Fieldays Society is pleased to announce the opening of The Barn, signalling a new focus of incorporating New Zealand’s rural past into its future.

Used to house the society’s donated collection of heritage artefacts, The Barn has been refurbished to enhance the displays of these important pieces, resulting in new education opportunities to connect school students with their rural roots through the society’s education programmes.

Society CEO Peter Nation says this is an exciting refocus for The Barn, as well as the entire Heritage Village at Mystery Creek.

"This year has seen the start of a process that refocuses and resources effort back on Heritage and back on our collection," says Peter. "The collection housed in The Barn has been moved and stored and new viewable collection stores have been created. It is all being cleaned, displayed, refined and catalogued."

"We have a huge amount of Waikato’s rural history here on site and we’re thrilled to be able to dedicate such a great space to such a great endeavour.

"We’ve revitalised our education programmes over the past 12 months, with over 10,000 school children coming through the village, learning about their heritage.

"By refurbishing and opening The Barn, this gives us another excellent space to develop the next generation by utilising the gifts of previous generations.

"We also have an aim to integrate this great resource into our major events – Fieldays, Equidays and THE Expo – by showcasing the backstories of New Zealand’s history."

The Heritage Village at Mystery Creek grew out of Waikato’s historical buildings that no longer had a purpose. The Bledisloe (the old Hamilton Winter Show Building) purchased for $1 from Hamilton City Council in the 1970s, housed the Clydesdale Museum collection, made up of heavy horse-drawn farming equipment from Matamata. Queen Elizabeth visited while on a royal tour in 1977. With over 100,000 people visiting in its opening year, the Clydesdale Museum was extremely popular.

Around this, the Heritage Village took shape, with the old Ngatea Church, Kihikihi Jail, Whitehall School and Waikato Hospital being transported on site. A replica garage and blacksmith’s forge were also added to the village, the fire station was built and the National Dairy Museum opening in 1979.

While Farmworld, a multi-media and live animal show, was opened in 1985, by 1991 the emphasis had shifted to education, families and school groups under the banner of the Agricultural Heritage Museum.

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