In response to consistently low visitor numbers during its late night time slot, Te Papa will no longer be open late on Thursday nights, effective from Christmas 2015. The museum’s new opening hours will be 10am – 6pm daily.  Previously the museum had remained open until 9pm on Thursdays.

The museum will continue to open late for the annual Wellington free day, as well as for other special events.  The Friends will also continue to hold events in the evening.

Chief Executive Rick Ellis said the decision was a practical one. “Te Papa is proud to be a free museum open 365 days a year.”

Mr Ellis said the low interest in late night Thursday has been a consistent pattern over many years. Of the 374 average visitors that did come on a Thursday night, most were coming between 6pm and 7pm. Only around 50 people an hour enter the museum between 7pm – 9pm.  “We’ve made a call that it’s just not practical to be open until 9pm every Thursday for the relatively small number of people who come at that time.”

“We know that for some people Thursday nights have been their ‘secret time’ to come to Te Papa and avoid the crowds.” His advice was for people to come later in the day if they prefer to visit when things are less busy. “On both weekends and weekdays, the last hour or two of the day are usually the quietest,” Mr Ellis says.

Feature Image: Photographer Michael Hall, © Te Papa