Diary of the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre intern – month 3

 
By Moya Sherriff, Intern, Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre.

As the weather is quickly moving into a warmer season, we have found a new ‘spring’ in our step within the Recovery Centre over the past month.

After another round of shelf building and a bit of running back and forth from the vehicle gate to the hangar door (a distance that will certainly keep me fit), Anglican Archives and Ngai Tahu successfully moved into the Recovery Centre.

Ngai Tahu moving in to the CCCRC.
Ngai Tahu moving in to the CCCRC.

The Art Consultant for the Don Peebles Collection has been busy cataloguing and preparing a report on the Collection before his trip to Spain. I have learnt a lot about Don Peebles’s style and enjoyed the opportunity to view some of his works, most of which have been hidden away within the family home for years.

Grant working on the Don Peebles collection.
Grant working on the Don Peebles collection.

Along with Art Consultants, a conservator from Lyttelton Museum completed treatments on items within the Lyttelton collection. This presented an opportunity to exercise my safe transport of artefacts skills while moving items from the Recovery Centre over to the Air Force Museum Conservation lab in a little Toyota. To complete the task I used plastic bins, lots of padding between artefacts, and blankets to stop the bins moving around in the car. Gloves, masks, lab coats and a well-ventilated space with suction – does sound like the features of a scene from a horror movie, but don’t worry, this is just the requirements of a conservator at work!

Meanwhile, after a quick update on the progress of Team New Zealand’s morning race in the America’s Cup, the Kaiapoi Museum folk carry on photographing their entire collection, while I help with the photography and with repacking textiles into acid free boxes. We have added some additional shelves to the racks, giving Kaiapoi more room to reorganise the storage of their collection.

Sue from Kaiapoi Museum rehousing the museum's poster collection.
Sue from Kaiapoi Museum rehousing the museum's poster collection.

The Order of St John have started, and almost completed, the triage spreadsheet of their collection.  To complete this process we normally have three teams consisting of two people. Each pair picks a shelf to go through and create an inventory. One person is the scribe who fills out a hardcopy list that includes details of the location, box number, catalogue number, name of the item, a short description, type of material it is made of, donor (if known), and notes any damage to the item and also any further comments. The other person handles the artefacts and tells the scribe what they are seeing. We also have been on the lookout for any hazardous materials, like explosives, poisons, old medicines – anything that for health and safety reasons needs attention or special consideration when it comes to appropriate storage.  So far St John have not come across anything hazardous. During the triage we are also looking for any pesky damage caused by insects, moulds, or anything that is literally eating the collection! If St John find anything suspect, like CSI we bag it into zip lock bags, isolating it from the rest of the collection until we find a professional who can analyse and remove the intruder.

Members of the Order of St John creating their triage spreadsheet.
Members of the Order of St John creating their triage spreadsheet.

The Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU) are busy doing the exact same process as St John, although with the use of three laptops we enter the data straight into an excel spreadsheet. Both of these groups are progressing quickly with this task. I can see very soon we will be into the cataloguing and rehousing of these wonderful collections.

Moya Sherriff

Intern CCCRC

All images are courtesy of the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre.

Other posts by Moya:

Diary of the CCCRC intern – month 1

Diary of the CCCRC intern – month 2