Offers of help – We have had many offers of help from around the country. Please email us and we’ll keep a register of offers for when those on the ground are ready for your support.
The latest from Christchurch is very grim, however, we have not heard of anyone being hurt in museums or galleries there. We have received a number of messages of support, and these are in the ‘Messages for Canterbury’ Discussion Board on our Facebook page here. Please add your own messages, either on our facebook page, or in the comments below, and hopefully our colleagues in Christchurch will be able to access these when their power and communications are restored.
We understand that most of the damage this time is confined to the city and Lyttelton areas. Here is what we have heard about Christchurch institutions so far.
Air Force Museum
Updated 24/2 Message from Director Thérèse Angelo:
Firstly, and most importantly all of the Museum staff and their families are safe and uninjured. As far as we have been able to ascertain, our volunteers are also OK. Some staff have damage to their homes but many live on the west side of Christchurch or in rural locations and have no damage to report at all.
The Museum itself is in good shape with only minor damage such as ceiling tiles down and fluorescent lights falling. A structural survey yesterday has given the buildings the green light to re-open when we wish. I understand we still have all services to the site but this may change over the next couple of days.
However, given the significant damage to local infrastructure, water, sewer and roading problems, along with petrol shortages, the Museum will remain closed until Monday at least. This also gives staff time to try and start processing the enormity of what has happened to Christchurch. Some staff have also headed out of town for a few days to settle jangled nerves.
Is unaffected this time, all are OK.
Arts Centre of Christchurch
No direct word, but news and internet photos show significant damage.
Staff are all OK. The sprinklers were activated and lots of loose things moved around in the staff areas. The situation in the public and storage areas is unknown but presumed to be ‘a mess’ and some bits have fallen off the building. With the whole central city cordoned off, they do not expect to get back in until after the weekend. The museum server is completely out of action so no staff will be able to access their work e-mails, even from outside the museum.
Updated 25/2: Director Anthony Wright will be releasing a media statement shortly, check their site. Anthony has confirmed that all staff are OK, but some have had their homes completely destroyed. He was able to enter the museum today with structural engineers, who inspected all spaces from the basement to the roof in both the main museum building and the Robert McDougall building. Both have been declared structurally sound, which is great news. Otherwise, there is loose masonry on the building, and the exhibits look to be 95% ok upon initial inspection (although by torchlight). It is not known about collection damage in the collection areas, however the water damage from activated sprinklers is reportedly only in a small area. It will be several weeks before staff can be admitted back into the building.
Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA)
Updated 25/2: The building is still standing, but everything has come off the walls. They will be postponing the Anthony Harper Award dates, as well as their planned recruitment for a new position.
Christchurch Art Gallery
Updated 24/2: Gallery staff are all accounted for and safe, apparently no structural damage – ‘we’re in good shape considering all that has happened’. CAG is once again starring on TV news as the Civil Defence HQ, and will be closed until further notice while they support Civil Defence. They have sustained a small amount of damage to the collection. 10-15 works are affected & they are assessing condition & repair options.
Updated: 25/2: Experiences of CAG Senior Curator Justin Paton reported in the guardian here.
Has been closed since the September earthquake, and apparently suffered additional damage on Boxing Day. We have no information as yet, but fear it is now even worse.
Okains Bay Museum
Is unaffected this time, all are OK.
Our City O-Tautahi
Updated 31/3: This was in the Municipal Chambers building which suffered damage last September and was still closed to the public. It is within the restricted ‘red zone’ and the current situation is not yet known.
We’ve had unconfirmed reports that the archive has flooded. Will update when we learn more.
The Physics Room
All staff are safe, don’t expect to get back to their building to assess it for some while.
Timeball Station (NZHPT)
Is severely damaged, but thankfully both staff members there at the time of the quake got out safely. No news yet about the collection items which have been stored offsite since the September earthquake.
We have also heard that Lincoln Entomology Museum, Landcare Herbarium, Ashburton area museums, as well as South Canterbury Museum are ok.
We know that this information is only about the public face of these museums, and many staff will have huge challenges ahead with their own homes and families. Our thoughts and best wishes go to all our colleagues.
Phillipa and Sophie