Update from the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre – January 2015

By Moya Sherriff, Administrator, Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre

Moving into the last year of the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre (CCCRC) we will certainly have a busy year in front of us. Kaiapoi Museum and the RSA will be moving into their new facilities within the next couple of months. They will both be sadly missed as they have provided a wealth of antics, fascinating stories and food; however I am hopeful my waistline will recover from this defection in time.

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Recovery Centre’s Saturday participants. One very Merry Christmas feast by Kaiapoi Museum and the Nurses Memorial Chapel.

For me, one of the highlights of the last couple of months was the opportunity to present my own tutorial on the basics of cataloguing and eHive. Some of the fundamental principles we talked about were donor documentation, provenance, the museum register and the key components of a museum catalogue. It is really important that a museum knows where an item came from, who owned it and any stories surrounding its lifetime before the item came into the museum. This information should be recorded on paper in the form of an object receipt (or deed of gift) along with the donor’s signature, which authorises the transfer of legal title to the museum and should be kept forever within the museum’s records. The next key step is looking at the museum’s collection policy and asking – does this item meet the collection criteria? If the answer is yes then the item is added to the museum register and allocated an individual tracking number (aka accession number) which links all the information in the museum catalogue to the artefact. After the labelling and photographing, the item’s individual catalogue is created, where all the physical details of the object are noted along with its life story and significance. Also hidden privately within a collection management system, such as eHive, is the artefact’s donor details. When all of this is done and dusted the catalogue should be the museum’s one stop shop for all information related to the object!

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Father Kevin from St John, busy packing some of their artefacts into acid free boxes.

Over the summer we have also had the pleasure of welcoming our roving CCCRC volunteer Michaela, from the University of Auckland. Together we have been busy helping the Canterbury Rugby Football Union Historical Trust catalogue, photograph, label and pack team photographs, while playing spot the young Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. If I ever met Dan I would like to know – where did he find the fountain of youth? This man has not aged!

Michaela and I were also fortunate to have Michael from Lyttelton Museum (and Canterbury Museum) pop in and share with us some of his box making tricks. Thanks Michael – hope your new role at Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum is going well!

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Michaela and Michael busy creating a box for Lyttelton Museum

Read more posts by Moya Sherriff