Posts categorized as History

Picking a pocket…or two

Intern Keira Miller in the lab, preparing materials for dyeing. Photo by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.

Have you ever thought about the history of the humble pocket?  This past winter, Keira Miller, an intern from the University of Glasgow’s Center for Textile Conservation, helped us with the treatment of some detachable 18th century pockets for the exhibition European Splendour 1500-1800.   Keira writes about the importance of pockets in 18th century fashion and the… Read more »

A ‘gamble in human life’: military conscription begins 100 years ago

End view of box used in conscription ballots from 1916-1918

In 1916, after two years of fighting, it was clear that New Zealanders’ loyalty to ‘King and Country’ was competing with other concerns – and fewer men were volunteering. History curator Kirstie Ross takes a look at conscription – introduced 100 years ago to ensure a constant supply of New Zealand soldiers for military service in the… Read more »

Art and Democracy

  • No bus shelter, 1960, by Lois White. Te Papa (1972-0002-1)
  • Aufruhr (Uprising) from Ein Weberaufstand (Weavers' Revolt), 1899, by Käthe Kollwitz. Te Papa (1981-0034-2)
  • Les bêcheurs (The diggers); 1855-1856; Millet, Jean-François; etching and aquatint in brown-black ink with surface tone; paper; etching; France
  • The pancake woman, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869. Te Papa (1869-0001-415)

In this blog, Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, explores the slippery links between art and democracy Following the very recent presidential elections in the world’s second biggest democracy (don’t forget India!) it makes sense to explore the connections between art and that system of government. Victoria Coates, who combines being senior foreign policy… Read more »

Design students inspired by Te Papa’s collections

Botanical inspired placement embroideries by Verity Morison, Fern Grant and Lauren Ewan, 2016. Photo by Claire Regnault.

Each year, the history curators take design students from Massey University though Te Papa’s collections behind the scenes. The students choose an item to inspire their own design and it’s around this time of year we see what they’ve created. Curator Claire Regnault shares some of the fabulous designs.  Refashioning the national wardrobe Each July students from Massey University’s second… Read more »

Curator Claire Regnault discusses the declaration that ‘fashion is dead’ – a question at the heart of this year’s End of Fashion conference, hosted in Wellington. In 2015 Li Edelkoort, a highly regarded trend forecaster, made international headlines with her declaration that fashion is dead. To support her claims she published an anti-fashion manifesto in which she… Read more »

David Riley, who works in our Digital Collections and Access team, is digitising 190 film reels – the contents of which hasn’t been seen for 70 years. Find out what he’s found so far. Discovering the film reels Since joining Te Papa I have been curious about a collection of 16mm and 8mm films stored… Read more »

A Children’s Guide to Splendour by Pukerua Bay School Museum

A Children's Guide to Splendour by Isaac du Toit, edited by Paddy Rockwell.

Written for children, by children, Te Papa’s Learning Innovation and Art teams are very excited to share the first book produced by our friends from the Pukerua Bay School Museum. This guide is full of great information relating to life in Europe in the 16th to 19th centuries – inspired by the taonga (treasures) on display in the European Splendour… Read more »

Remembering Avis Higgs: painter, designer, and ‘a truly awesome woman’

Swan Top, from Laurie Foon's 2005 collection Black Swan. The textile design was created by Avid Higgs in the 1940s.

Last week, we received the sad news that Avis Higgs had passed away just a few days after celebrating her 98th birthday. Avis Higgs was known to many as a painter. She was actively involved in the Architectural Centre Gallery, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and the Watercolour Society of New Zealand.  She is also… Read more »

One million visitors: myriad meanings

Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor applies the finishing touches to the large scale model of Lottie Le Gallais. Photograph by Michael Hall, Te Papa.

20 October marked a significant milestone at Te Papa when Gallipoli: The scale of our war’s one millionth visitor and a friend were escorted through the exhibition. That number is almost equal to New Zealand’s population (1.1 million) during the war, 100 years ago. We’ve reached this phenomenal figure in just 18 months since the exhibition opened…. Read more »

Critters of Taumaka (Open Bay Islands)

  • Taumaka skink (Oligosoma taumakae) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Taumaka gecko (Mokopirirakau undescribed species) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Taumaka is a 20 ha Māori-owned island lying about 4 km off the South Westland coast. Our visit to the island last month was to track foraging trips of breeding tawaki / Fiordland crested penguins, and was undertaken with the permission and support of the Taumaka me Popotai Trust. The island has a large New… Read more »