With the completion of the first stage towards revitalizing the museum thanks to support from our CLD Partnership, that is, building renovations to create a more smart, attractive and friendly resource, we can now move on to Stage Two. We are seeking funding to have architectural plans drawn up to build an extension onto the museum for storage, photographic displays, space for the public to research our local archives, and increased space to better display over 150 years of the district's heritage.
We also have two collections of early Polynesian taonga from the Karamea and Heaphy River mouths approved for transfer back to the Karamea Museum, from Canterbury Museum and Otago University, to add to our own substantial collection of early 14th Century artefacts. These taonga are essentially “coming home,” and should be appropriately displayed and their stories told as they justly deserve.
We have a 3D Hokioi skull coming from Te Papa to add to our Oparara/Honeycomb Hill Caves display.
In addition the Karamea Area School has asked us to house their considerable archival collection.
We would like to acknowledge that every single item in the Museum has a story behind it, and has a little card to say where it came from and who donated it. There are lots of local family stories there!
This last summer we increased our opening hours to six days instead of four, with positive results, and the added facilities will help to grow our revenue and encourage visitors to stop, chat, and linger longer.
Our recent foray into using social media to promote the Museum has exceeded our expectations, with a noticeable increasing interest in heritage tourism. We hope by completing the second phase of our redevelopment this will boost our visibility further and allow us to network with other heritage projects on the Coast.
Carrying out an Oral History Project several years ago gave staff and volunteers experience in interviewing people and the ability to record the material in a satisfactory format that is available to all.
This has led to the continuation of this aspect of the services we provide; getting out in the community and interviewing and recording the stories of our older residents, and adding their photographs to the museum’s archives, preserving the artefacts they donate and where appropriate, restoring them.
In todays climate of busy people and young families, it is often difficult to find volunteers prepared to do this. Both staff and volunteers also spend time doing family research for expats, and we have a good relationship with the Nelson Provincial Museum, the National Archives and the Alexander Turnbull Library.
We plan to have the redevelopment of the Museum completed by the time the district celebrates 150 years of organised settlement in November 2024.
In 2024 Karamea will celebrate 150 years of organised European settlement – this information has been on Social Media for several years, and expat are looking forward to coming back to catch up with old friends. At the appropriate time we will begin to promote it, and call a meeting to invite the community to let us know what they would like to see happen at this time, and to join our committee on a volunteer basis to help run the celebrations.
We will document the work by taking photographs for our own archival records, and to share with the community and the wider world in the Karamea Chronicle, community website (karamea.nz) and on our Facebook page.