Museum goes digital
In a dark room in the depths of an Auckland museum musty artefacts are being brought to life online.
Auckland War Memorial Museum is contributing to Collections Online, its initiative designed to put natural science and human history artefacts onto the web.
Since 2015 the museum has been expanding its online presence and now has more than one million records catalogued on its website, from great white shark jaws to the museum’s entire armoury.
Its goal is to eventually have every artefact free for all to view, and the majority free to download and reuse.
The museum also linked with Google’s Cultural Institute, a notfor-profit initiative that partners Google with cultural organisations to bring heritage around the world online.
It is New Zealand’s only museum to be part of Google’s endeavour and sits it alongside London’s Natural History Museum and the American Museum of Natural History.
Its artefacts receive about one million views from around the world every month.
Project leader Dave Sanderson said the initiative was honouring the museum’s aspiration to create a digital museum outlined in the Future Museum Strategy.
‘‘This museum is just like any other, you can come in here and you’ll see what we’ve got but you’ll only see a fraction of a fraction,’’ Sanderson said.
‘‘We’re trying to make it more available more of the time.’’
The museum has four photographers who aim to take 100 high resolution photos per day.
By default copyright was not applied to images unless there were special circumstances, Sanderson said. This means most images could be used without copyright issues.
The museum’s digital collections manager Adam Moriarty said the online focus was changing the very nature of museums.
‘‘We’ve been cataloguing for 160 years and for 158 of those years we were cataloguing for us, for museum people, for the curators, it was never designed to be published like this.
‘‘It’s a real shift for museums to put everything out there and let you start exploring.’’
Auckland Museum has more than one million records catalogued on its website, from shark jaws to the museum’s entire armoury.