Posts categorized as Museums

Behind the scenes: A week in the life of a natural history curator

  • A wing being prepared by Catherine for incorporation into the collection.
  • Alan with a shearwater skeleton prepared by Catherine.
  • Alan looking through Te Papa's prion skin collection.
  • Alan and Trish looking at birds eggs in Te Papa's collection. Te Papa has recently improved their storage method of these fragile items.

What does a Te Papa curator do? I spent last week following Te Papa’s terrestrial vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson to find out. Here are some of the main highlights:  Visitors Monday saw Alan meet with Trish Nugent-Lyne, a collection manager at Whanganui Regional Museum. Te Papa staff are helping Trish prepare an articulated dog skeleton… Read more »

Digital utopia

I have been thinking about digital and new media art again this week ahead of a panel I am part of tomorrow night (20th) discussing collecting media art (Adam Art Gallery, 6pm). In 2008 I wrote an essay for the Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader, (btw, the essays from the book are now available in PDF form on… Read more »

Rātana Church and Mita Ririnui: The Colours of Service

  • Filming Mita Ririnui in Te Papa studio. June 2012. Photographer Puawai Cairns, copyright Te Papa Tongarewa 2012.
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  • Decoding the Āpotoro Rēhita robes

ME024090; Āpotoro Rēhita Haahi Rātana Kākahu (Registered Apostle Ratana Church religious clothing) Continuing the blogging about some of the key uniforms and acquisitions for the Uniformity exhibition, this blog is going to talk about one of my favourite uniforms in the show: the robes of an Āpotoro Rēhita from the Rātana Church and a uniform… Read more »

“We are the same-same.” Rapa Nui visitors to Te Papa Tongarewa

  • Me and Koro (Alberto)
  • Rapa Nui 006
  • The visiting group and the curator, in front of Te Hono ki Hawaiki (Te Papa's wharenui)
  • the Rapa Nui people, during a parade at the Festival of the Arts

This past Saturday (1 December 2012), we had a special request from a group of visitors who were going to be in Wellington for a weekend. They wished to come in and talk to some of the curators and see the collection. This is relatively common but what was slightly unusual about the group was… Read more »

Uniformity: Making the Curatorial Cut

  • Jerry UGS
  • Graphic for Sir Jerry's uniform. Te Papa 2012.
  • Taiaha Kura http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?oid=132774&term=taiaha+red
  • Photographer Michael Hall, Te Papa 2012.

 I’ve been asked a lot of questions about why some of the new acquisitions were pursued and why they were put into this show, so hopefully this entry will help answer some of the queries and shed light on the curatorial decisions made for Uniformity. In my last blog Uniformity: Why Uniforms Matter, I talked about… Read more »

A slice of Wellington life: the Berry & Co collection

  • Photographing a Berry & Co glass plate negative.  We use a Phase I P40 camera and Schneider 110 lens, used with extension tube, with a 40MB back.  This gives us a 38MB digital image, which is our ‘access master’ size.  Photograph Michael Hall, copyright Te Papa.
  • One of the transport chilly bins.  The negatives are stored in archival paper sleeves, to protect the surface of the image.  Photograph Anita Hogan, copyright Te Papa.
  • One of the transport chilly bins.  The negatives are stored in archival paper sleeves, to protect the surface of the image.  Photograph Anita Hogan, copyright Te Papa.
  • Negatives can be difficult to ‘read’, so creating a positive digital image makes it easier for us to improve our catalogue data, for example by using clothing details to estimate the date the photograph was taken.

Te Papa has a collection of nearly 4,000 glass plate and film negatives taken by the Wellington photography studio Berry & Co.  The studio was founded by William Berry in 1897, and operated in Cuba St until 1931.  The negatives are mainly portraits – of families, children, men and women, soldiers in uniform, the occasional… Read more »

Giving matters – David Carson-Parker (1932-2012)

One of the most generous ways museums acquire items for their collections is from individuals donating things they have made for the benefit of others. This is one way that unique material becomes available to the public and especially to researchers. It is in this spirit that David Carson-Parker, who died 21 October, donated many… Read more »

Te Papa is coming to Gisborne!

The Gisborne Outreach Team

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is coming to Gisborne! The Education and Discovery Centre teams will be based at Tairawhiti Museum for a week of exciting art workshops and learning programmes. Schools in the Gisborne area are taking part in free hands-on workshops, exploring kākahu (cloaks), taonga (treasures) and their connection to the… Read more »