Family Treasures He Māpihi Maurea: Objects of Affection 2009

A new exhibition at the Whanganui Regional Museum.

Every second year the Museum embarks on the Family Treasures Project, a community project involving Year 7 and 8 students, their families, their schools and the Museum. The idea came originally from the Canadian Museum of Civilisation and has become a regular feature of museum exhibition programmes all over the world.  This project culminates in the Family Treasures He Māpihi Maurea exhibition at the Museum.

At the beginning of the project students talk to their families about what a treasure is to them.  They do the research, and write it up.  Each class makes up a book of the results and sends the book to the Museum.  The staff look through the books and make a small selection of objects.  The exhibition is created, based on the objects and all the class books.

It requires a lot of energy and resources to undertake a project like this.  The Ministry of Education are financial partners through their Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom programme.  Essential to its success is the energy and commitment of the teachers of the classes who are involved in the project.  The results of this energy can be seen in the fabulous collection of class books that are the main feature of the exhibition.  The variety of materials and techniques used in designing these books is particularly impressive.

Nine schools participated in the project this year with over 800 students in total.  A diverse range of treasures were selected to accompany the class books in the exhibition, including a 1962 AJS 250 Scrambler motorcycle, a kahu huruhuru (Maori feather cloak) of ostrich feathers and Carl Spencer’s All Black jersey worn in the 1996 South African rugby tour.

This year the Museum has asked some well known members of our community or individuals with links to Wanganui/Whanganui to participate as well by selecting a family treasure of their own and talking about it on film.  The aim was to provide inspiring role models to talk about their Wanganui/Whanganui experiences and how these influences had helped to shape their lives and careers.  We have included a range of people with diverse interests including our MPs the Hon Tariana Turia and the Hon Chester Borrows, artist Anne Noble, scientist Paul Callaghan, sports personality Earl Bamber, strongman Levi Vaoga and musician Carl Perkins.

Family Treasures He Māpihi Maurea runs from 24 October 2009 until 2 May 2010.

Photo: Featured celebrity strongman Levi Va’oga in Whanganui Regional Museum exhibition Family Treasures He Māpihi Maurea.

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