Volunteers and staff of Western Bay Museum recently had a get-together to catch up with one another and learn more about happenings at the museum.
Museum Manager Paula Gaelic updated everyone with news and the various projects underway including:
The Ambassador of Ireland visited the museum recently; and then returned with the President of Rugby Ireland. “They just love our museum and our connections to Ireland are going to develop and grow from these visits,” Paula said.
Western Bay Museum continues to lead the way for small museums with councils and other museums regularly seeking advice on how to develop from an old-style museum like Katikati Heritage Museum to a modern museum. “A couple of hours of conversation doesn’t cut a 10 and a half year journey,” says Paula.
The current exhibition, Service and Sacrifice, goes on tour to the National Army Museum in Waiouru, from November to April 2023.
Work continues on the Middlebrook Project. This will see the building of a space compliant to museum standards for the museum’s collection, workspaces, repatriation,research and education.
Manawhenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnerships continue to be nurtured. Funding has been secured for repatriation of taonga of national significance and a focus on the Kauri Point Archeological dig.
There are plans to build a paharakeke with Manaaki Whenua--Landcare Research and hapu from Te Rereatukahia, which will be positioned alongside the museum’s te rongoa and gardens. Manaaki Whenua--Landcare Research are headquartered in Lincoln, Canterbury, and are the government's Crown Research Institute conducting environmental research, with seven (7) sites across Aotearoa.“This will open up new public programmes and strengthen relationships with hapu,” says Paula.
With the completion of Tauranga Museum expected in about eight years time, the Western Bay Museum will focus on local stories around innovation in areas such as avocados, apiaries, horticulture and farming in the Western Bay. “We hope to secure a permanent space in Te Puke to tell the kiwifruit story and to transfer exhibitions from one facility to another,” says Paula.
Paula formally introduced Rosemary Deane, the Collections Curator for Western Bay Museum who started her role in February. “She beavers away in the cold store with 11,000 objects that need rationalising, digitising, repacking, and cataloguing while following procedures, policies and best museum practices.”
Rosemary shared more about her role, the policies and procedures she has in place, the planning for new exhibitions that will engage all the community which are all part of the vision for Western Bay Museum to be recognised as Aotearoa’s best small museum.
Allan Sole, chair of the Western Bay Heritage Trust Board thanked all the volunteers for the invaluable time and effort they give to the museum. “Without volunteers none of this could happen.”