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Digitising important assets

Fred Wilkie

The golden years are not over yet as one museum embarks on a quest to move digital.

Museum sign through glass. Freddie Wilkie

As the digital age continues to take shape there is an ever-increasing demand to take assets online as one local museum illustrates.

The New Brighton & District Historical Society & Museum is a local hub for reminiscing on the past. The museum is located on Hardy Street inside the building of a former church. Inside you will find a raft of photos, written material, physical displays and dedicated people invested in the community.

President of the museum Tim Baker said the museum had been there for over 20 years.

"There is a huge amount of photographs and information about people, that’s the main focus.

"There are also things for kids and other people to look at as well.”

The museum covers a big area from Aranui and Wainoni to Southshore and up to Parklands. 

"It is really good for local people doing family research but also for tourists, which is getting back up to pre-Covid numbers,” Baker said.

Museum magnifying glass Freddie Wilkie

Baker said the museum wanted to move forward with hiring a curator but was forced to deal with building improvements first.

“We have been forced to deal with earthquake strengthening works first.

"The building was damaged in the 2011 earthquakes and requires structural fixes."

Two wing walls have already been installed and a new roof is next on the agenda.

The museum survives on funding and donations. One of the committee members runs a successful movie screening on Mondays for the elderly with tea and biscuits on offer. This is the museum's biggest day for donations. As well as this, visitors are encouraged to donate, and money is also sought from larger groups like Lottery fund.

Baker said one thing the museum had been needing to do for years was digitise most of its material.

"This place could easily burn down, and everything would be lost.

“We will need someone who is computer savvy and can easily put the photos and written material on the website.

"As well as digitalisation the curator will also help to organise physical displays and direct volunteers in pursuing tasks.”

Quintin Sumner museum computer Freddie Wilkie

The museum is not just looking to put information online but also change the interactive experience inside the premises.

"We would like to have more monitors and TV displays inside playing content and providing an interactive experience for guests.”

The museum opens daily from 1-3pm and invites anyone wanting to come.

"Most of the volunteers are locals and know a lot about the area," Baker said.

"They love to share stories and help people in finding photos or articles.”

Baker said he has one final message: it’s run by the people for the people.

"It’s a great facility to have a look through so if you’ve got a couple of hours spare come along. What are you waiting for?”