Sally August

Sally's on-the-road diary - Sept 2012 

My travels over the last few months have taken me from the top to the bottom of the North Island – including Waitangi, Auckland, Thames, and the Coromandel.  I have also visited many staff and volunteers at museums and galleries on the Kāpiti Coast, in Wairarapa, Tararua, and Central Hawke’s Bay areas, and participated in the most recent National Services Te PaerangiMounting and Presenting Museum Objects workshop presented by display professional Kyleigh Adrian-Burne.

The workshop at Wairoa District Museum was hosted by Jim Samson and his wonderful staff, Friends of the Museum, and volunteers. This introductory level workshop was a great opportunity to get hands-on with mounting materials and techniques, and to spend some valuable time with fellow museum and gallery peers.

I find it’s always a very successful day when teams from different museums and galleries get the opportunity to learn together, network, and talk about their upcoming projects. For those that were unable to attend, I’m sure this link to the workshop presentation material and resource list will be very helpful. (Add link to PPT presentation and resource list once online)

Another aspect of interest during the workshop was how open display mounting methods can help keep taonga visually accessible and yet secure from potential damage, while also reducing additional collection handling from collection storage to display.

Accessibility of collections, open display methods, and security and conservation of taonga can become topics for ongoing discussion:

  • Are your mounting and display methods taking away from the object, interfering with the artist’s / carver’s / maker’s intentions, the object’s narrative, its purpose, its security, etc?
  • How much access is too much; how much is not enough?

These are all questions that we as museum professionals ask ourselves. This mounting and presenting workshop helped to provide options on how we might address some of these concerns.

For those who were unable to attend this series of workshops, I’d recommend exploring the helpful information available on our Exhibition Development resources page, alongside the workshop presentation material link above.

It’s great to see even more workshops coming our way in the North Island! Compliance specialist David Woodings will be busy presenting ‘Ticking the Boxes: Legal requirements in the museum sector’ workshops over the next few months. The team from NSTP is look forward to seeing you there.

Check out our workshop and events calendar for more wonderful training opportunities coming your way.

Photos and tales from the road


Coromandel School of Mines

The Treasury, Thames

Central Hawke's Bay Settlers Museum

Museum development projects

Many development projects are underway all around the North Island. Museums and galleries are all looking to achieve different objectives, on differing budgets, with different levels of resources, and at varying stages of completion. It’s heartening to see so many passionate and focused people in the sector. The teams at the Waitangi National Trust, The Treasury, Coromandel School of Mines and Historical Museum, Cobblestones Regional Early Settlers Museum, Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum, plus many, many more, are firmly focused on development plans. I look forward to seeing and hearing how all the major building, exhibition development, and renovations progress.

There are many aspects that come into successful project management – good governance, leadership and strategic direction, effective partnerships, fundraising, community, staff and volunteer engagement and support, marketing, etc.  On our website you’ll find loads of helpful information and templates!

Theft is sadly something we all need to be conscious of! 

For many museums and galleries around the country, flash security systems and endless numbers of security staff and volunteers manning displays aren’t always possible. 

 Danevirke Gallery of HistorySadly, at the end of March this year, a number of huia feathers were stolen from the Dannevirke Gallery of History. Approximately 10 tail feathers were taken.They are white-tipped, in pristine condition, and date from about 1889. Museums and potential buyers, if you come across these feathers for sale, please contact your nearest police station. It goes without saying that the team at the Dannevirke Gallery of History would very much like to have these taonga returned.

I’d like to applaud Pat Mills, Dannevirke Gallery of History President, and the small team of volunteers for rallying support. Thanks to the determination of the team and the support of the community, they have been able to implement even more security measures.   

Identification of that ‘unknown’ collection item

Over the last few months, I’ve had a number of conversations about how to identify that random, ‘unknown’ object in your collection; that item that leaves your staff and volunteers asking, ‘What is this, what is it for, where has it come from, who will know what this is?’

It’s been very interesting to hear the number of ways staff and volunteers are seeking the answers. Some of the methods include: searching other national or international museum collections online, emailing photos to museum friends, volunteers, and other museums in the region, and seeking out experts in the community that may be able to shed some light.

The Dannevirke Gallery of History team drew some very positive attention locally when they photographed one of their ‘unknown’ collection items. The local newspaper featured this photo in an article and the community response has been exciting. It’s evident that our communities hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and it’s always nice to see the local community getting engaged in their local museum and heritage.

I’m looking forward to meeting more of our passionate and talented museum colleagues around Te Ika a Māui – the North Island.

Ngā mihi nui, nā

Sally August


PS – a friendly reminder…

I encourage all those working in museums and galleries to take up our FREE offer to order a NEW Disaster Preparedness poster! It provides a quick reference guide to help your museum prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impact of a disaster.

Your first copy is free – all you have to do is ask!Contact us

Remember to include a postal address. You can order additional copies of the poster for $15 each. Posters are A2 size. 

View the disaster preparedness poster (PDF, 906kB)