Autographed memorabilia popular

Lakes District Museum director David Clarke farewells ''Sign of the Times'', one of the most popular exhibitions to be held in the museum's gallery. Photo by James Beech.
Lakes District Museum director David Clarke farewells ''Sign of the Times'', one of the most popular exhibitions to be held in the museum's gallery. Photo by James Beech.
A collection of memorabilia autographed by historic figures has proved to be a blockbuster for the Lakes District Museum.

The selection of rare objects, articles and signatures from a private Arrowtown collector featured such identities as Tiger Woods, Amelia Earhart, former United States presidents, the Wright brothers, Muhammad Ali, Katharine Hepburn and even Star Wars villain Darth Vader.

Museum director David Clarke said ''Sign of the Times'' was the perfect exhibition to display over the summer because it had something of interest for everyone.

''We've had a very busy summer, like most of the district, and the first part of the summer was helped by the inclement weather, so over that four-month period we might have had 20,000 people through that exhibition.''

Exhibition visitors were able to drop coins into a box if they chose.

''Donations have been excellent and because the collector is involved in a number of charities we'll give him some of the takings once we've done the final count,'' Mr Clarke said.

Remaining cash will be channelled into forthcoming attractions in the museum's gallery this year.

After exhibitions by the Otago Art Society and Arrowtown Autumn Festival, the Holocaust and the World War 1 will be profiled later this year.

''Shadows of Shoah'' will use photography, original music and selected episodes from survivors' experiences to relay the gravity and significance of the Holocaust, on August 8 to October 13.

''The War to End All Wars'' intends to explore the effects of World War 1 on the Wakatipu community by employing photographs, diaries, telegrams, oral histories and newspapers.

The TVNZ documentary Our Lost War Passchendaele, about Private George Salmond and fellow casualties of the battle, will be screened within the exhibition, to run from November 11, 2014 to April 25, 2015.

Mr Clarke said the Ministry of Education this summer extended funding for the Learning Experiences Outside The Classroom (LEOTC) curriculum support programme, which means Central Lakes schools can continue booking class visits to the Arrowtown museum with LEOTC education officer Amy Taylor until at least 2016.