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Te Awamutu Museum continues to digitise its collection

May 17, 2019 | In the Press

From Waikato Times (https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/life-style/112773894/te-awamutu-museum-continues-to-digitise-its-collection)

Te Awamutu Museum's collection is being digitised, before it is moved to a purpose built facility.

The Te Awamutu Museum is digitising its collection, which will soon be made available for viewing online.

A 1950s pocket watch, gas masks from World War II, and an historic bird snare are among some of the items that have so far been catalogued.

The online collection will eventually be comprised of more than 24,000 objects when completed.

The initiative is in preparation for the museum to eventually move to a purpose built facility when council builds Te Ara Wai combined museum and discovery centre.

Collections manager Haylee Alderson said the digitisation project was long awaited.

"Digitising our pieces will mean those really valuable and precious objects that sit in storage will be available online and members of the community will have much better access to be able to see and enjoy them," Alderson said.

"For a small museum, we have a lot to offer but at the moment, just not the room we need to showcase everything. This project allows us to make the most of our amazing collection."

Waipa District Council owned and operated the museum on Roche St in Te Awamutu, which houses many taonga from around the district.

The digitisation project is taking place over 10 years and is involving each item being photographed, captioned and uploaded to the web site, which will be launched later in the year.

That is a formidable task. Alderson said each photography session took one day to prepare for, another day to photograph between 70 and 80 items, and a further day to pack all of it away again.

"It is a very lengthy project, but one that will be well worth the effort once it is complete."

Te Awamutu Museum is limited in the number and size of exhibitions that can be held there. It also lacked sufficient work and storage space.

As such, the pending development of Te Ara Wai discovery centre, near Te Awamutu Library, puts the museum in a strange position.

The discovery centre will have greater room to house and exhibit taonga.

It would have spaces that could be modified as necessary, with interactive zones that tell Waipa's stories.

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