Posts categorized as Museums

‘Please do not bite the books’ and other comical library rules

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Would you walk into a library with a dirty face? Take a bite out of one of the books? Or LIE to the librarian?  Librarian Martin Lewis (@rarebookguy) reveals comical library rules from history and shares his five commandments to ensure happy books and librarians.  No dirty faces and no lies in the library Libraries have funny… Read more »

Extracting DNA from dried plants – with an eraser

Hen and chickens fern after sampling with an eraser. This species has delicate fronds so the stem was sampled instead. Sampling site is arrowed.

Until now, it hasn’t been possible to get the DNA out of a pressed dried plant (herbarium specimen) without destroying part of it by removing a leaf and grinding it up.  But new research by scientist Lara Shepherd has proven that you can use an eraser to ‘rub off’ the DNA. Read Lara’s paper A non-destructive DNA sampling technique… Read more »

At Te Papa we’re constantly photographing our collection items – whether that be art works, historical objects, or scientific specimens.  Recently, our imaging specialist Jean-Claude Stahl has taken pictures of some bizarre creatures – water bears, also known as tardigrades. Here, Jean-Claude explains why photographing a water bear is such a ‘bugbear’ and bug expert Phil Sirvid fills us in… Read more »

Cliff Whiting: Visionary, innovator, tōhunga, teacher, scholar, master artist

Man stands in foreground with marae in the background

It is with enormous sadness that Te Papa acknowledges the passing of Cliff Whiting (6 May 1936–16 July 2017). His contribution to Te Papa and the arts in Aotearoa was immeasurable. An esteemed teacher and practitioner of Māori arts, Cliff was appointed Director Director Bicultural Relations for the Museum of New Zealand in 1993, and… Read more »

Putting the pieces back together after the earthquake

A lady in a white lab coat paints a canoe prow

On 14 Nov 2016 an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale shook Wellington awake. All-in-all Te Papa’s buildings and its collection were virtually unscathed. Out of over two million collection objects, only nine were damaged. One of the damaged objects was a plaster cast replica of an 18th century tauihu (canoe prow). Charlotte Jimenez,… Read more »

The heaviest, smallest, oldest, and smelliest books in our library

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Our Research Librarian Martin Lewis, aka @RareBookGuy, takes a look at some of the more unusual questions he has received on tours of the Te Papa library collection. Part of my role at Te Papa includes giving tours, working with school groups, and hosting visiting researchers. You can never predict what visitors will ask on a tour,… Read more »

Xena’s costume goes on display in Christchurch

Claire Regnault, Senior Curator New Zealand Culture and History, talks about the legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess and a new exhibition in Christchurch, We Could Be Heroes: The gods and heroes of the ancient Greeks and Romans, where her costume is currently starring until Oct 2017. The history of Xena In 1995 a new heroine, tormented… Read more »

Countering stereotypes through co-collecting with Tongan youth

  • Shell, maker unknown. Gift of Kupa Kupa, 2015. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (FE012955)
  • Small Things Matter
  • Project 83
  • Toakase Fakaosilea

As part of our co-collecting initiative with the Tongan community, students have been considering what truly represents them and counters stereotypical representations. Curator Pacific Art, Nina Tonga highlights some of the students and their selected objects. Back in 2014, our Pacific Cultures team took Year 13 Tongan language students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara,… Read more »