Public to share enhanced Sir Edmund Hillary CollectionDate: 27 October 2011
From today, visitors to Auckland Museum can share in an enhanced collection of artefacts & stories relating to the life of Sir Edmund Hillary.
The Hillary family have placed a range of additional items from the life of Sir Edmund Hillary on long-term loan with the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The items, many of which have gone on public display at the Museum today include a number of items that Sir Ed wore on his 1953 Mt Everest climb and a vast range of medals and awards .The medals include his Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society awarded by President Eisenhower, his Order of the Garter and his Order of New Zealand alongside other awards including ones from the Kathmandu Taxi Drivers Association and the New Zealand Beekeepers Association.
Peter Hillary says, "The Hillary family have had a long association with the Auckland Museum over several generations from our grandfather Jim Rose who was the Museum Institute president, to the long planned Ed Hillary bequest, right through to our own loans of additional Ed Hillary treasure.
“These include his extensive medal collection, the hard-worked Rolex watch he was presented after the 1953 Everest climb and numerous articles of his climbing equipment such as the crampons for his boots and his summit parka of windproof cotton. There is also a chunk of a fir log that once spanned a huge crevasse in the Khumbu Icefall and is now lightly adzed and perforated with the crampon points of all the climbers of the British 1953 expedition.
“We are pleased the people of New Zealand can share and enjoy stories from Ed''s remarkable life through these significant pieces," he concludes.
The loan boosts the Museum’s already extensive Sir Edmund Hillary Archive which includes his personal papers, diaries, maps, colour slides, photographs and other written and illustrative material.
Additionally, the collection has been expanded by the purchase of a number of limited edition photos taken during the 1953 Everest expedition by Alfred Gregory – who was the expedition’s official photographer. The purchase, approved by the Museum Trust Board, was part-funded by the Museum Circle – an independent charitable trust which supports Auckland Museum.
Roy Clare, Director of Auckland War Memorial Museum said today: “We sincerely thank the Hillary family for their generosity in making these items available to the public through the Auckland Museum. Sir Edmund holds a very special place in New Zealand history, and we will continue to cherish the Archive through applying high standards of conservation practice and making it accessible to the public and for research purposes.”
Dr William Randall, Chairman of the Auckland Museum Trust Board, said: “This loan shows the relationship between the Hillary family and the Museum is a positive and meaningful collaboration.”
The recently published book by Sir Ed’s fellow adventurer Mike Gill – Himalayan Hospitals: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest Legacy is available for sale in the Museum Shop. Drawn from a series of interviews and private letters including a number from Sir Ed, the book shares the story of his life and his contribution to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust which he founded in the 1960s.
Sarah Hillary, daughter of Sir Edmund and committee member of the Himalayan Trust says “Ed downplayed his contribution to Nepal as he knew that it wouldn''t have been a success without the help of many others. But it was really what his life was all about. He focussed his enormous energy on behalf of the Nepalese people for the rest of his life.”
In addition, the Himalayan Trust has donated further records to Auckland War Memorial Museum. These along with other archives can be accessed by the public through the Museum’s library.