After a three-month hiatus, The Nelson Classic Car Museum is back in business with a new name and a fresh look.
In May, the World of WearableArt and Classic Car Museum was forced to shut down due to the economic effects from the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the colourful costumes remain mothballed, the classic cars – covering more than 100 years of automotive history – are back in place and open to the public.
Museum spokeswoman Sarah Wilson said it was great to have the doors open again.
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“It’s been stressful, but it’s been a lot of fun to be able to do things [we couldn’t do before].
“There’s been an opportunity to reorder things, as it had got very organic before with ordering of the cars.”
While about the same amount of cars are on display at one time as before (roughly 150), the entire collection had been reordered and also filled the space left over by the WearableArt section of the museum.
Volunteer and Cartel Works design director Mike Wilson said the new format allowed the collection to breathe.
“It was the first time for a long time we were able to reorder the cars where we wanted them to be.
“Everyone has a favourite car, but if your favourite is wedged in the corner it can be pretty disappointing.”
Wilson said while the museum display would remain at about 150, there would be opportunities to rotate through the 165 vehicles in the collection.
The new format includes themed sections, from the 100-year-old “veterans” to American muscle cars and the Jaguar “cat cage”.
Also returning is the museum cafe, now called the Little Engine Eatery.
Sarah Wilson said the cafe, which is under the same ownership as before the closure, had undergone a substantial overhaul.
“That’s a huge asset for us and its fantastic for them to open at the same spot – they have a lot of loyal customers.”
She said while it was a clearer message for the museum to be able to focus on one collection, it was sad to say goodbye to the WearableArt collection.
“It worked really well before – because it was this crazy partnership.
“I’d get crusty old guys at the front desk saying they’re here for the cars not the frocks, and you’d find them later having spent an hour in the garments section.”