“Interesting and fun”

This is the final blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

In 1975 Neville Turner was appointed as the Director of the North Otago Museum. A collection inventory was also carried out in 1975. This document shows the museum’s collection was now much more diverse: ranging from taonga Maori to textiles, geological samples to war medals.

In 1977 the redeveloped North Otago Museum opened to the public in the Athenaeum building. Neville Turner retired in 1978 and Bruce McCulloch became the Director.

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s a lot of work was undertaken accessioning the collection which now included at least 5000 items. A lot of effort also went in to engaging with the local community.

The North Otago Museum Archive opened in 1987. This building extension allowed the archive collection to develop further including local maps, photographs, club records and Council records. There was also a focus on family history information.

During the 1990s work continued on exhibitions, education programmes and developing the museum collection further. A book, Diatoms to Database, detailing the museum’s history was published in 1994.

In the 2000s there were a number of staff changes. The usual work of the museum went on with new displays, new acquisitions and staff supporting community events. The Museum also worked on ensuring it was meeting professional standards of collection care during this time.

Today the Museum collection totals around 18,000 items. Looking back over the museum’s history from 1863 it is clear things have not always been easy for our museum.

Some recent feedback on the museum was titled “Interesting and fun” which I think nicely sums up how we hope visitors will feel about visiting our museum.

Currently Museum staff and volunteers are focussed on the planned development of a shared building with the Forrester Gallery and Waitaki District Archive which is due to open in 2019. The new building will offer improved exhibitions and better collection storage. We will be blogging more about the behind the scenes work we are doing to prepare for this project over the coming months and I look forward to sharing more about this exciting period in the Museum’s history as it happens.

Chloe Searle