Posts categorized as Conservation

Can you see through paint? Examining a hidden wall mural using infrared reflectography


Linda Waters, Conservator Paintings, shares a technique used in her work to look through layers of paint and uncover a painting that would otherwise remain invisible. Recently we had an opportunity to try to see through paint in the foyer of a building in Taita to find a mural underneath. Bronwyn Holloway Smith from Massey University… Read more »

Catwalk couture in detail

2001 cartoon commentary on Te Papa's Versace exhibition.

Catwalk glamour This week I’ve been working on couture garments that are destined for display at Expressions in Upper Hutt. The Catwalk to Cover exhibition will include fashions from Te Papa’s collection by international and New Zealand designers alongside photographs that capture the dynamism, creativity and glamour that epitomize the runway fashion show experience. The… Read more »

Prepping a 1905 replica All Blacks jersey for the road

Rugby jersey [1905 replica], 2011, New Zealand, by Robertina Downes, Deborah Cumming, Manawatu Knitting Mills Ltd, New Zealand Rugby Museum. Commissioned 2011. Te Papa (GH017325). After padding out for display.

Recently I blogged about preparing an 18th century gown (now on display in European Splendour).  A few weeks ago, the same skills were applied to a very different type of garment—the replica All Blacks “Originals” 1905 jersey. The jersey will be on display in Hamilton until January 8th in the Waikato Museum exhibition Fernz: an exploration of… Read more »

The power of lace – making European Splendour 1500-1800, Te Papa

Maker unknown, lace collar, linen, Europe. Gift of Mrs M W Aitken, 1970. Te Papa (PC001724). © photographer Justine Olsen.

Lace is fascinating for its changing and divisive role in history. Desired for its beauty and admired for its technical expertise, the best quality was restricted in use for monarchs and nobility.  While sumptuary laws during the 1500 and early 1600s claimed to protect local industries, lace actually helped identify social rank of the individual…. Read more »

It’s a Bug’s Life – Impact of the project for Imagine Childcare

Making bird feeders, Photograph by Imagine Childcare, © Imagine Childcare

The ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ education resource is on its way – but what has been the impact of this project so far? In this post, we hear from Imagine Childcare – one of our three ECE partnership groups. They are using the expertise they gained through our research to inform their Department of Conservation (DOC) ‘Habitat Heroes’ project… Read more »

How to deal with human DNA contamination of your DNA sequencing: an example from a Malawian dance garment.

Dance garment, c. 1900, Malawi (Chewa culture), Photograph by Kate Whitley. Copyright Te Papa MA_I.374711

You’ve probably seen forensic scientists on TV taking swabs and fingerprints from crime scenes. They aren’t wearing labcoats, hairnets and gloves to look cool but to prevent them contaminating their forensic evidence with their own DNA. But how do scientists deal with items that are already contaminated with unwanted human DNA? I recently encountered this… Read more »

A glimpse of ancient Mauritius: Ile aux Aigrettes, restoration island

  • White-tailed tropicbird chick being hand-fed, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Mauritius fodies: male (left) and female (right), Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Pink pigeon, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Telfair's skink, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

I first heard of Ile aux Aigrettes at a conference on island pest eradications held in Auckland in early 2001. A delegate from Mauritius spoke about a failed attempt to eradicate Indian musk shrews from the 25 ha island, which had already been cleared of feral cats and ship rats. The island next registered in… Read more »

Once were dodos

  • Dodo statue, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Mauritius kestrel. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Pink pigeon. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • What am I

The dodo is the world’s most famous extinct bird. Its quirky appearance makes it instantly recognisable in popular culture, including in classics such as Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and the animated short film ‘Ice Age’. One of the reasons it is so well known is that it is considered to be the first… Read more »