Museum’s collection to be reorganised, updated


Balclutha’s South Otago Museum is stirring, with change and development in the works.

Anthropologist, South Otago Historical Society president and museum curator Roz McKechnie has recently added a museum practice level 4 certificate to her CV.

Dr McKechnie explained changes to the museum layout would begin near the entrance, as visitors moved clockwise through the collection rooms.

Initially, she would chronicle Clutha’s prehistory, Maori history and early pioneer contact including sealing, whaling and pre›colonial tribal conquest on a 170 year timeline.

This would be illustrated with cabinet displays of moa bones, Maori tools and taonga before leading on to a large array of colonial artefacts that formed the bulk of the collection, she said.

‘‘Museum practice and curation is about caring for, cataloguing and sharing objects and stories, as well as organising space. Most of our collection was moved here from various storage places in 1986 and a lot hasn’t changed here since then, but we’re now getting into a concerted effort to seek funds and organise the display.’’

A cache of military memorabilia and local stories are expected to be organised into a niche exhibition in time for Anzac Day on April 25, and Dr McKechnie said that funding streams were being sought in relation to a $90,000 quote to bring the museum building’s wiring and lighting up to visitor expectations, and electrical code.

She said even with its large floor space, the arrangement of all the assets would be a challenge, and she thanked volunteer helpers.

‘‘We’re extremely grateful to our volunteers — everything happening around the museum is possible because of them.’’