Conservator Anne Peranteau visited Broadgreen, an historic house in the Stoke neighborhood, to give some advice on the display and storage of collection items. Anne tells us about some of her favourite items in the Broadgreen collections.
Last month I filled my suitcase with my tricks of the trade and headed to Nelson.
I brought an assortment of archival materials, needles, pins, knives with retractable blades and a few arms made out of Dacron and surgical stockinette. (What did the airport bag scanners have to say about this I wonder?).
The purpose of my visit was to assist small museums in the area by providing advice about display and storage of their collections.
Workshops have both theoretical and practical components and are organized by National Services Te Paerangi.
I was hosted Sally Papps, curator at Broadgreen.
The house, built in 1855, is bursting with historic treasures that tell the unique story of Edmund and Martha Buxton and their six daughters.
The experience and the value of the historic house is greater than the sum of its parts – the ability to occupy the spaces and view the entirety of the contents together in an historical architectural context is quite remarkable (the contents of Broadgreen are not original to the house, but a representative collection from many of Nelson’s early settlers).
But there are also some knock out objects, such as a pair of 1830s silk gowns, brought to New Zealand by James and Alicia Townsend and their 10 children.
The Townsends arrived in Lyttelton on the Cressy on 27th December 1850 and the gowns were donated more than a century later by a family based in Eastbourne, Wellington.
Broadgreen’s collections also include a dress worn by Rose Frank, assistant to photographer William Tyree.
Frank was somewhat unusual for her time, being only 30 when she took over management of Tyree’s Trafalgar St. studio and gas generator business in 1895.
Tyree never returned from his Australian business trip and Frank bought the business in 1914 (the photographic negatives from the business were donated to Turnbull Library and Nelson Provincial Museum).
Another favorite object of mine was this bizarre umbrella stand encrusted with broken toys.
I don’t know the story here, but as one who has vacuumed up many a Lego and broken toy strewn about the house, I strongly relate and can easily imagine how it came into existence.
I was glad to be able to help support the care and display of these relatively small but valuable and unique collections, many of them with national as well as local importance.
Wherever you are travelling to this summer, stop by the local museum or historic house and have a look inside. Even better – make a donation!