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Taking off... Celebrating the Gore Historical museum putting forward 50 museum items to the Project Ark initiative on Wednesday are (from left) Project Ark leader David Luoni, Project Ark conservator and cataloguer Laurence Le Ber, Gore district arts curator Jim Geddes, Gore museum carer of collections Stephanie Herring, Project Ark cataloguer Tiffany Jenks and Project Ark photographer and cataloguer Dani Lucas. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Rare brooches, photographs and paintings were among the 50 items put forward to Project Ark by the Gore Historical Museum last Wednesday.

The items have been digitised and catalogued online to allow for easier public access to museum artefacts on the Museums of Southland website.

On the website, a photograph of each item is accompanied by the item’s back story and important facts for the public to view.

Project Ark is a regional initiative to catalogue all of the Southland museum collections.

Gore district arts curator Jim Geddes was delighted to be putting forward the 50 artefacts on behalf of the museum.

“This digitalisation of the artefacts is very significant because it is a national first and we are proud to be the first museum involved in the project,” he said.

Gore museum carer of collections Stephanie Herring mirrored Mr Geddes praise of the Project Ark digitisation of the museum work.

“It’s an incredible gift to be able to make our museum items more accessible to the community,” Ms Herring said.

Mr Geddes said the 50 artefacts were only a starting point, and the Gore Historical Museum would put forward more to the initiative.

Project Ark leader David Luoni said the project was a pilot plan and had been a “big, enjoyable task” for him and his team.

“This is a pilot and plan system. We want to show it is possible to have easy digital access to museum items,” Mr Luoni said.

Three fulltime staff members – Dani Lucas, of Auckland, Tiffany Jenks, of the Catlins, and Laurence Le Ber, of Dunedin – were in charge of photographing and cataloguing the museum items into a digital format.

The trio spent a month working on getting the items ready for the launch of Project Ark.

Miss Jenks said cataloguing the items had been a “fascinating experience”.

“Every day there is something new about an item. You find out more and more about its back story – they’re all so interesting.”

Miss Lucas, Miss Jenks and Mr Le Ber travelled to Bluff on Monday to begin digitising 50 items offered by the Bluff Maritime Museum.

The group would spend two weeks photographing and cataloguing the items before moving to Riverton to work on 50 items from the Te Hikoi Museum over the same amount of time.

Miss Lucas said the group would be packing up their photography kit, computers, mannequins and materials to take with them.

“We really do pack everything up and take it with us – we’re a wee travelling family,” she said.

museums were the starting point for the project which would then work with 14 small museums throughout Southland.

Project Ark was made available to the community on the Museums of Southland website (https://ehive.com/communities/1145/museums-of-southland) on Thursday.