Month: March 2014

House of Bones revisited… again and again and again

HOB10I work as a Museum educator. The other day I hosted a small group of Year 12 girls (around about 16 years old) who visited the Museum with their art teacher to draw the African masks and statues in Minkisi. The students worked really well and made some amazing drawings.
At the end, their teacher gave them a reminder that there was just 5 minutes to go before they had to leave for school. A couple of the girls asked, “Can we go down to the House of Bones?” When he said yes, a small group of them RAN down the stairs, squealing with delight. What was so fascinating to them?
HOB14The House of Bones is set up as a 1930s era house of a professor who collects bones, and fills his house with them. There are animal skulls in the bookcases; crates of bones in the hallway that seem recently delivered, but not yet unpacked; an office with old oak desk, typewriter and assorted handwritten letters and notes; and a newspaper lined attic with chests of bones for hands-on investigation.
HOB31Why did this excite the teenagers? Possibly because it is a little bit dark, a little bit weird, and a sound-track of strange creaks, scrapes and footsteps makes the “house” feel a little bit creepy.
It is interesting that after being up for just two months, with lots of different activities for children to do, there are some local children who have already visited House of Bones so often that they have completed all the existing activities, and are asking for new challenges. Although I’m not surprised that children are interested in the bones and want to come and see them, I would never have guessed it would attract so much repeat visitation from both children and teenagers.HOB24
I think it shows that the way that we design exhibitions can make an enormous difference to the way people respond to museum objects and collections.

Margie Beautrais is an Educator at Whanganui Regional Museum

IMAGES OF A MUSEUM COLLECTION – PART II

In this second and final part of a two-part series, Collections Assistant Kathy Greensides talks about part of her role as Museum Photographer and the kinds of things she does on a daily basis.

SOCIAL HISTORY

A social history collection may be defined as material evidence of people’s lives, it can tell us about beliefs, status and cast, economics and politics and it can include the extraordinary and the mundane.  Furniture, toys, vehicles; food packaging; architectural and building fragments, furniture, shop fronts and interior fittings, jewellery, cutlery, the list is endless. Below are some objects from the social history department.

This toy wagon with a driver and two horses is made of cast iron.

This toy wagon with a driver and two horses is made of cast iron.

Suede glove, one of a pair, Native American or Canadian. Hand and machine sewn with  heavyweight cotton thread. Flower decoration uses light blue, orange, pink and white opaque glass seed beads and light and dark green, red, white and dark blue translucent glass seed beads.

Suede glove, one of a pair, Native American or Canadian. Hand and machine sewn with heavyweight cotton thread. Flower decoration uses light blue, orange, pink and white opaque glass seed beads and light and dark green, red, white and dark blue translucent glass seed beads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KataboriThis katabori, ( a completely carved three dimensional work of art or sculpture) netsuke, depicts two figures carved from the same piece of ivory as the large pot and may represent a traditional Japanese story. Netsuke served both functional and aesthetic purposes. The traditional Japanese dress, the kimono had no pockets. The robes were hung together by a broad sash (obi), so items that were needed to be carried were held on a cord tucked under the sash.

The hanging objects (sagemono) were secured with carved toggles (netsuke). A sliding bead (ojime) was strung on the cord between the netsuke and the sagemono to tighten or loosen the opening of the sagemono.

 

This hand-made wooden model of a twelve gun Brig has eleven canvas sails and detailed rigging.  The model sits on a custom-built wooden base The brig was built by the English architect Gilbert Mackenzie Trench who designed the 1929 model police boxes which became famous as the tardis in the long-running popular BBC television programme Dr Who.

ShipTrench, upon retiring from his position as an architect working for the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police, lived in Whanganui from 1949 until his death in 1979.

 

PipesA selection of pipes, including: Smoking pipe Meerschaum bowl is the head of a bearded man with hand painted leaf garland around head and eyes, at acquisition said to be 100 years old; Wooden smoking pipe, carved  in Maori design with paua eyes; and a merschaum pipe carved in the image of a skull.

 

Art noveau writing desk; wood with lead-light and stained glass window with impressed glass and decorative brass handles.

Art noveau writing desk; wood with lead-light and stained glass window with impressed glass and decorative brass handles.

This is a bronze copy of an original statue of Narcissus found at Pompeii.  You can see the narcissus flower in the decoration of his sandals.

This is a bronze copy of an original statue of Narcissus found at Pompeii. You can see the narcissus flower in the decoration of his sandals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunripe

Hand soapPie filling

 

 

 

 

Even everyday items used by New Zealand families have distinctive and packaging that is reminiscent of a bygone era.

 

This is a small sampling of the many varied items we hold in our collection.You can now go to our website and view a selection of collection objects online