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, whoRead more

It is not often I come across early photographs that capture pure joy like this one does. Too young to find the serious appeals of the photographer’s command to “keep still” anything other than funny, this infant boy’s laughter dominates the image and projects a good sense of fun aboutRead more

Sometimes when I look at photographs, I start imagining the past. Details in the images trigger memories of people and places lost to time. These images of water towers take me back to my childhood in Invercargill, where the sight and purpose of the large tower, visible from most partsRead more

In the recent death of Don Binney New Zealand art has lost a major contributor to its diverse tradition of landscape painting.  Binney began painting his stylized images of birds in the landscape in the early 1960s.  These unique and startling images quickly established his reputation.  The ‘oversized’ birds combinedRead more

“Dear friends, may this beautiful instrument bring you happiness and inspiration. All my love, Lili Kraus, London, Christmas 1959.” So read the handwritten inscription in the piano Michael Parekowhai obtained for On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer currently on display at Te Papa. In the museum’s collection there are photographs of Lili takenRead more

Perhaps you know where some of the photographs below were taken?  If you can help, please note the number related to each image with your comment below. Click on the images to enable enlargement. 1) Its summer here… 2) North Island wharf 3) Is it Otago harbour? And if so,Read more

A while back I posted Marion Queenie Kirker’s image of a ‘nodding cat’. Recently the rest of her negatives were scanned and uploaded to the museum’s database. One of the things I enjoy about working in the museum is helping to make images like this available to be seen. There areRead more

Do these houses still exist?  If you know anything about them (especially a street or road address) please note the number with your comment – thanks! 1) ‘Elvington’ in Oamaru   2) Farmhouse in the Manawatu area   3) Cottage possibly in Wellington   4) Country residence in Manawatu?  Read more

Perhaps you know where some of the photographs below were taken and what they are of?  If you can help, please note the number related to each image with your comment below. 1) What building is this Burton Brothers stereoscopic image taken from and where is it?  2) Is itRead more

Early last century, New Plymouth man William Gordon assembled a photographic record of people (both Māori and European) who served in the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. The Dominion Museum (Te Papa’s second predecessor) purchased the photographs in 1916 as part of the Gordon Collection. Recently, I have beenRead more

Hollowed out and painted birds eggs were the first Easter eggs and, in Christian tradition, they symbolise new life. Te Papa’s photography collection holds a large number of prints and negatives taken by naturalists and bird watchers with an enviable amount of enthusiasm and perseverance. These images show a varietyRead more