Museum to be showcased

SHARE

A museum project created by a group of residents, mostly grandmothers, is to feature on the world stage.
Gore District Council heritage projects officer David Luoni is to make a presentation on the Mataura Museum project at an elite Best in Heritage conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The annual conference showcases and celebrates 20 award-winning international projects that epitomise excellence in museum, heritage and conservation projects.
Described by New Zealand Museum Awards judges as ‘‘an outstanding multifaceted project to reinvent the museum for the local community’’, the museum was three years in the making and opened in March 2015.
The museum’s success represents the collective determination and hard work of a team of dedicated volunteers and supporters whose local knowledge, community spirit and willingness to dive into the digital age has created a community treasure.
Mr Luoni described the presentation in Croatia as a great opportunity to learn about the other exhibits.
The Mataura Museum is housed in a small 1880s worker’s cottage. It shares Mataura’s rich social and industrial heritage through objects, interactive technology and strong stories.
Within its walls, the personal stories of Mataura residents are relived and tales of the town’s industrial history are retold.
Photographs dating back to the 1870s and a comprehensive local history archive (also available digitally) are part of the collection.
A cottage garden and a heritage orchard grace the museum grounds.
‘‘The project is special because it was achieved by a small group of mostly grandmothers, who rolled up their sleeves and simply made it happen,’’ Mr Luoni said.
‘‘They are a modest but inspiring group of women who tangibly value their community and I’m proud that I can salute them at the Best in Heritage Conference.’’
The team of 10 volunteers invested thousands of hours of care to achieve what every professional museum aims for: a fully catalogued collection that can be searched online, relevant and beautiful exhibits and buildings to keep the collection safe.
Volunteer Rosemary Dunlop said she never dreamed the museum in the small town would make it to the international stage when they started the development.
‘‘We had to turn it from what it had been to what it became,’’ Mrs Dunlop said.
While many of the volunteers working on the project were grandmothers, there were two who were great-grandmothers.
Volunteer Lorena Turnbull said it would be wonderful to hear what Mr Luoni learned at the international conference.