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It was wonderful to celebrate all the great mahi that went into creating our latest exhibition, Love & Loss, when the exhibition opened at the end of July.
Love & Loss is the first in a series of special exhibitions which will feature our significant Documentary Heritage collections, and is the first-ever exhibition to feature our extensive manuscript collection. Developed during lockdown, the project team has done an amazing job delivering an intimate exhibition that brings the emotional power of the written word to the fore.
Our Collections Information Access and Documentary Heritage teams have worked together to create a tailored homepage on our website to host the newly catalogued Hillary Pictorial Archive. The collection features more than 7000 photographs from Sir Edmund Hillary’s personal collection, providing a first-hand record of his world-famous international expeditions and of his family life.
In 2008, Sir Edmund Hillary’s extensive personal archive was bequeathed to Auckland Museum and we received funding to support the digitisation of the pictorial items in the collection. Recognised internationally for its importance, this collection has been placed on the UNESCO International Memory of the World Register and you can check out the new homepage here.
Explore the archive
June marked the opening of Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium, the Museum's newest suite of learning galleries. The kaupapa for this new development is that learning through play, exploration and discovery helps build knowledge in young people in a more effective and sustained way.
Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium is a significant shift in the way Auckland Museum engages with school students. It has been made possible by support from our generous donors, in particular the Douglas Goodfellow Charitable Trust, the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, the Becroft Foundation and the Maurice Paykel Charitable Trust.
Auckland Museum is immensely grateful to have received generous support from these funders who shared our vision to provide an outstanding learning experience for thousands of our Auckland tamariki.
The Museum's redeveloped South Atrium, Te Ao Mārama, has been recognised by Architecture NZ magazine at the annual Interior Awards. Auckland Museum and its architects, Jasmax (in partnership with FJMT and designTRIBE) and Salmond Reed as Heritage Architects won the Civic Award.
This acknowledgement reflects the collaborative effort between Auckland Museum and our multi-disciplinary design team to deliver new infrastructure designed to enhance the Museum’s functionality, combining mana whenua welcome, cultural orientation and generous manaakitanga. Te Ao Mārama resolves the tensions between the Museum’s monumental heritage architecture and its contemporary responsibility to social inclusion and diverse communities of interest, the Museum building has been described in Architecture NZ as ‘transformed into a space for decolonisation to begin’.
We are delighted and honoured to have received these prestigious awards which recognises the two year journey we have undertaken to transform this part of our heritage building for current and future visitors. Te Ao Mārama marks a milestone for Auckland Museum in creating a precinct dedicated to cultural welcome, orientation and tikanga. It is a uniquely Auckland design and enables us to extend the manaakitanga this Museum is known for.
We accept this award on behalf of everyone who has taken the design vision and turned it into a reality. This includes members of mana whenua and Pacific community leaders, who have advised on everything, from fundamental design principles at the project’s inception through to the final delivery of artworks.
Together they have delivered a transformation programme of multiple projects, despite the disruption and the inevitable delays caused by COVID. This is a great achievement for any organisation and a huge success for Auckland ratepayers who enable our work.
Gail Hoddinott, long time Parnell resident and Museum volunteer, interviewed Dr David Gaimster for The Hobson about living in Parnell, his role at the Museum, and what the best advice he ever received was.
In 2020, New Zealanders rose at dawn to commemorate Anzac Day in our bubbles, at our front doors and at the ends of our driveways in response to the global pandemic. In 2021, we welcomed communities back to Auckland’s war memorial, a space where people could come together to remember and reflect on the courage, commitment and sacrifice of our servicemen and women. The contemporary resonance of Anzac Day is an intrinsic part of who we are as a nation.
This year we highlight the contributions made by servicewomen in World War II and after. Thousands of New Zealand women enlisted during the war, and by 1942, 75,000 had registered with the Women’s War Service Auxiliary, representing a significant mobilisation of the country’s human resources.
2021 marks two significant anniversaries involving servicewomen: the establishment of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (formed 16 January 1941) and the landing in Japan of the main body of Jayforce (March 1946). The latter included members of the New Zealand Army Nursing Service, who played a vital role in the hospital service.
The legacy left by these women paved the way for the thousands of women serving today. Lest we forget.
March marked the opening of our new suite of galleries dedicated to the living history of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Endeavouring to represent a city of the scale and richness of Auckland was a monumental task, and this suite of permanent galleries chronicles Auckland's past, captures its present, and looks to the future of this city.
Auckland Museum’s collection of tens of thousands of photographs by Kiwi photographer and photojournalist, Olaf Petersen, is one of five new additions to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. This year the Museum's Pictorial Curator, Shaun Higgins, will publish a book with Auckland University Press that profiles Olaf’s career as Aotearoa New Zealand's pre-eminent 20th-century nature photographer. This will accompany the first major exhibition of this significant body of work, from the Documentary Heritage collection, in our Sainsbury Horrocks gallery in late 2021.
In February we launched a digital version of Director's Choice, which explores Auckland Museum's extraordinary collection, each item with its own compelling backstory. The original 2019 publication formed part of Scala's international Director's Choice series, and the new photography produced for that volume has now been joined by interactive elements to allow viewers to dive even deeper into the exquisite detail of some of my favourite collection objects.
READ IT ONLINE
December was a momentous month, marking the opening of our new South Atrium precinct. What you will experience in this space is the result of our deliberate intention to connect the past, present and future of this much-loved cultural destination.