Issued by Museums Aotearoa
17 May 2011
I remember when…
Memories can be clear or fuzzy, recent or distant, personal or received, happy or sad. It is the accumulation of memory that informs our view of the world. When we collect memories from others, from those that have existed in the past and the now, we enrich ourselves with a deeper understanding of our world.
This week, museums around the world are celebrating International Museum Day with the theme of ‘Museum and Memory’. All kinds of museums collect and exhibit object which tell stories – sparking, sharing and connecting memories from different places and times. The experience of shared memory can be a powerful tool to help individuals to operate collectively as a unified society. Museums have an important role to play in this process, helping people to reflect upon the society in which they live.
Memory is not just reminiscence for the old. While some museums reach back into the distant past, others offer immediate experience which can trigger personal reflection, or be the foundation for new memories. Historical objects and contemporary art are all part of the interplay of object and memory discovered through a visit to a museum of any kind.
Whanganui Regional Museum is combining the theme of International Museum Day with celebrating NZ Music Month. They have a series of events which include concerts on New Zealand’s first barrel organ (1829), ballads and chamber music, indigenous and imported musical traditions – all stirring memories which reflect the rich heritage that contributes to ‘New Zealandness’ today.
At Waikato Museum, the opening of the touring Anne Frank exhibition has been timed to coincide with International Museum Day. This exhibition focuses on the written memories of one individual in extraordinary circumstances, reminding us that sharing another’s memories can help us to understand and learn from history.
An even more personal approach is being taken at the Colonial Cottage Museum in Wellington. Visitors are invited to bring along their own memories, especially those triggered by some of the more intriguing objects in the collection, and share them with museum staff.
Access to collection objects – and to the memory they embody – is being enhanced at Te Papa, with a new loans web page to be launched on International Museum Day. Other museums and galleries around the country are offering free entry, talks and tours, and all will be sure to evoke and enrich memories for those who visit.
Media enquiries: Phillipa Tocker Executive Director, Museums Aotearoa Mob: 021 606 135 firstname.lastname@example.org
New Zealand museums and public galleries care for more than 40 million items relating to New Zealand’s history, culture and creativity. Generating in excess of 1000 public exhibitions and publications and attracting well over 8 million visits each year, museums and galleries are currently ranked as the top attraction for New Zealand’s overseas visitors.
New Zealand museums are actively focused on enriching their communities by enhancing the quality of their facilities, collections, programmes, products and services.
The last decade has seen unprecedented growth in the establishment and development of museum facilities and services in most regions of New Zealand. Over 3500 people are currently employed in New Zealand museums, and at least twice that number of volunteers. Total annual museum operating and capital expenditure is well in excess of $300 million.
Museums Aotearoa strives to be the strong, objective, fully representative voice for the evolving museum community, and to promote a shared sense of professionalism, solidarity and identity.
An objects from Colonial Cottage Museum, Wellington