Final update from the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre – January 2016

By Moya Sherriff, Administrator, Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre

The final entry of the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre (CCCRC) blog is brought to you by the two enforcements called up to help groups pack and move their collections out of the CCCRC, Matt Little and Michaela Dobson. Darren (CCCRC Manager/Air Force Museum Curatorial Officer), the CCCRC groups, April and Murray (Lyttelton Museum Collection Technicians) and I certainly enjoyed having these two budding museum professionals around. They made light work of any missions thrown at them, and through Miss Dobson’s cakes they also supplied us all with the essential vitamins and minerals required to move and pack up the CCCRC. Thank you to everyone involved in this project and to all the wonderful groups I have had the pleasure of working with. I wish you all the best for the future.

All ‘Wrapped’ Up

After three years based at the Air Force Museum, the CCCRC has finally taken off and reached new heights. A hangar once filled with the collections of over 38 groups now houses the workshop of the museum’s tech team –  a job only achieved through several weeks of intense wrapping, boxing, palleting, and finally an extensive number of return trips on the forklift.

This result would not have been achieved if it was not for the diligent effort of the volunteers from the various organisations present in the CCCRC, the Air Force Museum team, and the two newly employed CCCRC staff. Through helping with this project, Matt and Michaela, the two self-proclaimed ‘Moya’s enforcers’, have learned a great deal about cotton gloves, while gaining summer muscles through extensive lifting of shelves and boxes.

moya 1Stacking the Anglican Archives documents to be moved offsite

The first job assigned to these students was the gruelling task of completing the wrapping of hundreds of bound books containing the Lyttelton Times. Needless to say, the first week of work in the CCCRC has given them the (elf) confidence to efficiently wrap Christmas presents this year. The same week the CCCRC also farewelled the Rugby boys (Canterbury Rugby Football Union Historical Trust), and the enforcers were happy to help them tackle their move out process. Many a joke was made at the following morning tea about Moya’s apparent use of the words ‘Rugby Old Timers’ in a recent article.

The following week was busy with the boxing (knocked it out) and palleting of the New Zealand Army Medical Corps, and College House also moved out, while the rest of Lyttelton’s collection was boxed and palleted ready to be moved to its new temporary location in 2 Hangar. This left a lot of empty shelving, leading to intense strength training over the next couple of days for the two enforcers. Although the majority of the heavy lifting should be credited to Matt, let us not forget Michaela’s motivational speeches and shelf-related puns.

The next week, Michaela’s dreams of being a firefighter were sadly crushed at the annual fire training when she became the first person to successfully break a fire extinguisher, a feat not accomplished by anyone at the museum before. Trying to hide from the burning embarrassment, Michaela retreated to the CCCRC where she and Matt were given the task of boxing and palleting the rest of the Christchurch RSA collection. This job took longer than expected due to all the distractions of interesting objects found, a favourite being a map of Passchendaele that showed German trench positions. Daily entertainment was provided by the transport of the large objects, including craning Lyttelton’s three ton cannon, an uplifting experience for all present.

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Opening the hangar door to let the crane in

Cuppa breaks with chocolate biscuits and cake were essential motivation for the massive move in the last week of the CCCRC. With the final groups such as COCA, Anglican Archives and the Christchurch Art Gallery packing and leaving, as well as the collections that were staying being forklifted to 2 Hangar, having much needed refreshments during the last phases helped the CCCRC reach its final stage.

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Covering collections in Hangar 2 after moving across the tarmac from the CCCRC

Now utilised by the museum’s tech crew, the former CCCRC area is undergoing the final stages of its three year journey as the last of the equipment for the workshop is being moved in. A PUNishing five final weeks, but a successful and rewarding experience for all groups involved. The CCCRC represents the close community spirit of Christchurch post-earthquake, and although officially closed, the relationships developed with the various heritage groups will be conserved.

Read more posts from Moya at the CCCRC

With huge thanks to Friends of Te Papa and OMV New Zealand, who joined with National Services Te Paerangi to support Moya’s vital work supporting displaced Canterbury museums at the CCCRC.