Diary of the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre intern – month 2

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

It feels like the past month has really flown by, as changes within the Recovery Centre are very noticeable. The main collection store floor is now lined with rows of shelving (and I have the biceps to prove it), and labelled with locations, ready for groups to move their objects in.

The Lyttelton Museum group has finished the triage assessment of their collection. This involved going through their entire collection, noting the type of artefact, the material it was made of, if it had any earthquake damage or anything else of concern and, of course, its location. Working in pairs for the day, my partner handled and unpacked the artefacts while I entered data into the spreadsheet. The new technical term I learnt for that day was ‘frass’ (insect excrement). Luckily we did not see any live evidence of the producers of this substance!  Lyttelton volunteers include a trio of conservators, who have been assessing and treating some of the items that had mould growth. I really enjoy the opportunity to glance over their shoulders and take in those nuggets of information they are kind enough to share with me. Also on the Lyttelton front, last week the Air Force Museum team and Lyttelton Museum moved the newspaper collection from Lyttelton into the Recovery Centre. I think after the completion of this task we decided to skip our weight training that evening!

Air Force Museum and Lyttelton Museum teams preparing the transport of Lyttelton’s newspaper collection out of Lyttelton. Image courtesy of CCCRC.
Air Force Museum and Lyttelton Museum teams preparing the transport of Lyttelton’s newspaper collection out of Lyttelton. Image courtesy of CCCRC.
Matthew O’Sullivan (Air Force Museum Keeper of Photographs) moving Lyttelton’s newspaper collection into the Recovery Centre. Image courtesy of CCCRC.
Matthew O’Sullivan (Air Force Museum Keeper of Photographs) moving Lyttelton’s newspaper collection into the Recovery Centre. Image courtesy of CCCRC.

The Kaiapoi Museum group are busy beavering away, photographing their collection. They have a new building on the horizon and are committed to creating something amazing for their community to enjoy. Recently the group reached the textile section of their collection, which I took great delight in helping them repack.

Moya packing some of Kaiapoi Museum’s textile collection. Image courtesy of CCCRC.
Moya packing some of Kaiapoi Museum’s textile collection. Image courtesy of CCCRC.

In the last few weeks the Order of St John, the RSA and the Canterbury Rugby Football Union have moved their collections into the Centre. All three of these groups have had a rough time after the earthquakes, as their collections have been in shipping conditioners for the past couple of years. I can’t get over the passion these groups have for their collections, and I am really appreciative that we have such people in our communities who went out and literally saved our history. Highlights of the recent ‘move-ins’ for me was seeing the No. 17 Squadron (City of Christchurch) Air Cadets move the RSA collection so efficiently and carefully, the relief on the face of a St John’s member when he discovered the group’s minute books had survived their red zoned retrieval, and – it may not be Richie McCaw’s shirt – but Larry the Lamb’s mask has got to be my favourite item so far.

Members of the No.17 Squadron (City of Christchurch) Air Cadets helping the RSA move into the Recovery Centre. Image courtesy of CCCRC.
Members of the No.17 Squadron (City of Christchurch) Air Cadets helping the RSA move into the Recovery Centre. Image courtesy of CCCRC.

We also made headlines! At the beginning of August we had One News come out to the Recovery Centre. Members of Lyttelton and Kaiapoi Museums were interviewed and filmed working with their collections, as well as Air Force Museum Director Therese Angelo. To check it out see:

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/hidden-treasures-saved-canterbury-quake-video-5530805

Also over the past week we have had Judith Taylor, our National Services Te Paerangi Museum Development Officer, visiting. Judith meet with several groups over a couple of days, offering advice and training opportunities. Over the next couple of years National Services Te Paerangi will run a series of workshops on site at the Air Force Museum. Members of the Recovery Centre will be able to help determine what workshops or training opportunities they would like see unfold, which will help them move forward as independent organisations.

Moya Sherriff

Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre Intern

Other posts by Moya:

Diary of the CCCRC intern – month 1