Museum working to clear back log

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum collections officer Beth Rees measures one of a pair of recently-acquired 19th-century rimu chairs, funded by the Otago Settlers Association. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum collections officer Beth Rees measures one of a pair of recently-acquired 19th-century rimu chairs, funded by the Otago Settlers Association. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum staff are working to clear a backlog of more than 1400 items destined for its collection, most given during a three-year freeze on new acquisitions.

The freeze was introduced during the museum's recent $37.5 million redevelopment and was in place from early 2010 until about March this year.

Museum collections manager Claire Nodder said she was grateful for the generosity of the public in making the donations, and for their patience in allowing the museum to complete its redevelopment, before it formally brought the items into the collection.

Many donors had agreed to retain the items until the museum reopened to the public.

Other items had been held in storage by the museum during the closure, but could not be processed at that stage, Ms Nodder said.

There had been an initial backlog of about 1450 items, mostly arising from 350 separate donations, and including some items bought by the museum.

The mass of interesting artefacts includes a woman's jacket from the 19th century, three rimu wooden chairs showing strong Scottish influence, and several children's toys of the 20th century.

Other items include seats from Carisbrook, archival items from World War 1, Marconi television equipment, and videos of Dame Allison Holst broadcasting her former television cooking show from Dunedin.

Ms Nodder said the museum could now devote more staff resources to reducing the backlog.

The recent employment of a University of Otago anthropology graduate, Beth Rees, as collections officer, was helping with that task.

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