Sheldon Werner Summer Studentships


Auckland Museum’s inaugural Summer Student Programme was open to promising undergraduate and postgraduate students from a broad range of disciplines. The succesufl candidates joined other students for ten weeks over the summer to gain career-relevant work experience and had the opportunity to work with Museum professionals and to gain an insight into the culture and heritage sector.  



2020/21 Summer Students:



Prisoner of War Camps WWII – Angus Drumm


More than 8,000 New Zealand military personnel were taken prisoner of war during World War II. Online Cenotaph has identified nearly 7,000 of these personnel listing the location of their internment. However, our list of Prisoner of War Camps is inconsistent and incomplete. This project aims to collate a complete list of Prisoner of War Camps, where New Zealand service personnel were held, during WWII. This project will focus on providing details of the POW camps and Work camps including location, size of population, and the name changes overtime. This will help to update and enrich our existing personnel records and will provide us with a better understanding of where New Zealand personnel were interned. The outcome of this work will be the enrichment of Vernon Authority Event File. The student will also be expected to write a blog article for Online Cenotaph stories.



An Unfortunate Experiment – Gabriella Brayne


Published in June 1987 the article, written by Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle, exposed unethical practices of doctors at New Zealand's leading women's hospital.  Heralding what would be a watershed moment in our history, its publication led to a Commission of Inquiry, headed by Dame Silvia Cartwright, that helped strengthen patients' rights and saw the establishment of a national cervical screening programme.  


The first part of this project is centred on collection development and review. As some of the material may be sensitive it is vital that we know what is in the collection before we move forward with the acquisition process. The outcome of this phase will be a collection inventory. The second part will be to investigate the ethical and practical considerations of holding collections related to medical practice within public archives. The outcome of this phase will be a short written report that will help guide future practice in this area. 



Terrestrial Botany – Zara Skuse


AK herbarium day to day practices – supervised and independent – 20% 

The student will acquire comprehensive knowledge how AK herbarium operates by going through the following day to day practices: 

* Local field collection 

* Pressing and drying to create herbarium specimens 

* Data Entry in Vernon CMS database 

* Label making for accessioned specimens 

* Mounting experience 

* Digitise and photograph specimens 

* Filing experience into the herbarium 


Taxonomic classification update to Angiosperm Phylogeny Groups IV to the herbarium filing systems – supervised and independent- 30% 

The AK herbarium is currently updating its liner herbarium classifications to the current system.  The work requires some degrees of understanding of the hierarchical classification scheme, basic botanical nomenclatural rules and filing systems; however, we will guide the student through each step. 


A floristic mini revision – supervised – 40 % 

The student will carry out her/his own project of a taxonomic revision on a plant group found in Auckland Ecological Region. This involves morphological based investigation using our extensive collections, and documentation. The student will be required to write up her/his results in a format of the formal revision to include a literature review, dichotomous keys, a list of entities and synonyms and their short descriptions.


Media releases – independent – 10 % 

The student will write at least one blog of their placement for the museum’s website and can have an opportunity to host a social media diary on the activities of the herbarium.  



Creative technology, Virtual Reality Technology, and/or 3D modelling VR/AR software – Martin Chan


We have a very exciting opportunity to bring on board a student to help us understand how VR (Virtual Reality) can be applied across our multifaceted organisation. VR will become a necessary future skillset and Auckland War Memorial Museum would like to harness how VR technology can improve the way we concept future galleries, exhibitions as well as large digital installations.  


We’d like to explore how we can enable VR technology practices across teams and how it may also assist other areas such as staff onboarding, health & safety and community outreach.


Specific projects: 

* Converting existing 3D files (Revit) for future galleries such as Tamaki Stories, Learning Base and the South Atrium. Exporting these so they are VR compatible. 

* Creating virtual reality templates for our special exhibitions spaces 

* Applying existing objects from out Sketchfab account and other 3D scans of objects into virtual exhibition templates. 

* Creating replica virtual environments of our immersive digital WOW moments into VR. 


Expected outcomes: 

* A set of VR files that we can be readily used for internal purposes. 

* Understanding and Documenting VR capabilities and how they can apply across our departments.  

* Showcasing VR enablement to teams such as Production, Exhibitions, Public Programmes, ICT and Digital Experience.


Audio Visual Technology and Integration – Megan Buyn


Beginning in November, a very large, complex and diverse AV installation, testing and integration program is beginning around Auckland Museum’s new Tāmaki Herenga Waka Gallery. There will be exposure to audio visual disciplines ranging from simple audio listening posts to touchscreen interactives and complex, projector mapping systems. The project also has extensive building integration layers and automation. The project has a wide-ranging set of stakeholders from internal Museum staff members through to community groups and content creators. 


Throughout the course of the installation work, we will be covering all areas of the project to completion which includes physical installation, integration with building systems, testing large digital interactives, extensive problem solving, calibrating projection mapping, tuning and programming audio and control systems and detailed after-completion inspections. 




Refreshing Auckland Museum’s Collections Online – Sherry Ng


Auckland Museum has a long-term roadmap for Collections Online, and one aspect of this is looking at how we can present museum collection search interfaces, search results and records differently from traditional museum search experiences. The summer project seeks to research and prototype or report on a new Collections Online experience and would suit students across design, computer science, museum studies, information studies or digital humanities disciplines. 


The project will involve examining how to present the Museum’s encyclopaedic collection as a whole, but provide access to diverse collections (Natural Sciences, Human History, Documentary Heritage). Students would need to consider different users and their needs and examine scholarly literature around best practice for “generous interfaces” for GLAM collections. The final product will explore searching by place, person, topic or subject, date or time, colour or material as well as the use of machine learning or AI, or emerging metadata standards, such as Wikidata, to draw new connections between the diverse collections and enable new ways of facilitating collection search and serendipitous exploration. 



The Metrics that Matter – Sam Harris 


The expected outcome is for the student to provide a report that details their findings and recommends how the department should best track, measure and report the value of donors and members.  


A busy time for the team, the student will be provided with numerous daily opportunities to:  


1) Support the Development Team in general fundraising - event planning and delivery, major donor relationships, grant applications and corporate partnerships.   


2) Support the Membership Manager with various operational, research and data activities.