How to keep tabs…

Earlier this week, after Te Papa had closed, the staff in the exhibition preparation team took down all the creatures hanging from the ceiling (ranging from small diving petrels, to albatross, swordfish, sharks and seals). Most will be cleaned and rehung in a new configuration for the new colossal squid exhibit.

So how do you keep tabs on the hundreds of taxidermied creatures and models that are in Mountains to Sea?

Usually in the case of the birds they get a tag with an accession  (tracking) number put around a leg – but this can be easily lost in the move and installation, understandably driving the collection managers and curators nuts. 

So when it came to install objects in Mountains to Sea over 10 years ago a curator hit upon a cunning plan…

Can you see the tag? © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

Can you see the tag? © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

All the birds accession numbers were written on very small tags each getting pinned up inside the birds cloaca… no chance of losing tags there :-)

There it is! © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

There it is! © Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

So while the birds are at ground level waiting to be rehung for the new colossal squid exhibit, Gillian our Collection Manager Birds has taken the opportunity to double check the records with all these secretly hidden accession tags.

I’m glad we’re not kept track of that way :-)

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