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Advancing Research at Auckland War Memorial Museum 

In my Foreword last year I wrote about the impact of digital technology as research advances in Auckland War Memorial Museum. The pace of change has since increased and throughout the past year we have continued to nourish the collections and develop the audiences for them. The collections of this great institution are genuinely reaching out across the globe, presenting with many exciting new possibilities, as foreseen by Future Museum (published in 2012).

Academic libraries pioneered new approaches to collection building and retention. Museum collections are more diverse, but they need to follow suit and adopt new models to better serve their audiences cost-efficiently.

The Museum’s Trust Board is committed to strategies that explore these avenues, while renewing galleries and displays, activating ‘beyond our walls’ and investing in innovative ways to engage people of all ages and backgrounds. Scholarship remains vital, alongside all levels of research, enquiry and participation.

He Korahi Māori and to its Pacific companion Teu Le Vā are woven tightly through the developments and bring indigenous perspectives to the forefront. As the Te Awe and Pacific Collections Access programmes progress, the Museum is strengthening its ties with communities and peoples. We are becoming more respectful kaitiaki and our documentation is being enhanced as we engage and learn.

Amid much that has changed there is continuity of purpose. At the core of all that we do, and all that we aspire to be, are the internationally-significant collections and the skills and capacities of those who care for them. Our curators and professional staff members are of course a crucial and enduring resource, but no museum in the world could achieve its ambitions without the talented and committed support of researchers and specialist volunteers.

In Auckland Museum we are fortunate to have the services of a significant number of subject experts who seek no financial reward. The late Margaret Morley is an outstanding example who has made a substantial contribution to developing and enhancing our marine invertebrates collection. Margaret received a Museum Award in 2015 and we were very sad to learn of her passing earlier this year. Her painstaking work forms the basis of two papers in this volume. Unfortunately Margaret did not live to see the publication of her research, but her legacy will be with us forever.

Roy Clare CBE

Auckland War Memorial Museum