Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Katikati Heritage Museum collection goes into hibernation

ITEMISED: Volunteer Lorraine Hunt with the next item for museum manager Paula Gaelic to log in before being wrapped and packed into boxes.
Boxes have replaced tables and chairs in the Museum Cafe as every item in the Katikati Heritage Museum collection is being packed up ready for storage until a new home is found. After 14 years the community museum closed its doors on May 14. Western Bay of Plenty District Council reached agreement with the museum’s Charitable Trust to hold the collection in storage until a suitable location can be found in the future. Museum manager Paula Gaelic, who has been employed by Council, says she refers to the packdown as ‘relocation hibernation’. “When we re-emerge hopefully our first exhibitions will be called The Dreamtime,” she says.

WHIZZ: Volunteer Robert Hubble cleans artefacts in the museum collection.
The many volunteers involved with the museum prior to its closure have returned to help with the packdown. This involves each item being cleaned, numbered, photographed, wrapped in tissue paper, bubble wrapped and rolled in cardboard, when necessary, before being packed into boxes. The number of each item corresponds with each photo, which is downloaded onto a database where it is detailed and catalogued. The photo is double checked for clarity and that it corresponds with the item’s number, which is also written on the outside of the box, before it is closed up. Every item is wrapped in tissue paper regardless of what it is, Paula says. If the photo is not clear enough the item is taken out of the box and re-photographed.

ACTION: Photo historian Brett Payne has been contracted to photograph every item in the Katikati Heritage Museum collection.
Photo historian Brett Payne has been contracted by Council to carry out the photography work. Brett had volunteered previously to help with the Tauranga Heritage Collection for three years where they trained him in photographing and cataloguing their collection. Brett spoke at the History Day at the Katikati museum last year. A geologist by trade, Brett’s passion is old photographs, the photographers who took them, the equipment and technologies they used, the people and scenes in the photos, and the stories behind them. The Katikati collection is proving interesting.  Brett says there are a wide variety of items to be photographed, more than he expected and having visited. “This is not a conventional museum - it’s a community museum so you have to expect that.”

DELICATE: Volunteers carefully wrap items in tissue paper, before being bubble-wrapped and put into boxes.
The packdown system sees six volunteers working on large tables. Every knife, fork, spoon, butter pat, possum—everything is being wrapped carefully, catalogued and packed. “Nothing gets thrown out,” Paula says. She believes the volunteers are seeing how well the collection is being looked after, which has been good for their morale. “It’s been really good and it’s bringing us (the museum) in line. For the first time we will know what we’ve got in the collection. “Council is doing it properly.” Items from the museum shop are being sold at heavily discounted prices for two days only, yesterday and today.

Reproduced from The Katikati Advertiser, 12 June 2014
by kind permission of editor, Christine Steel

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