Mu­seum goes dig­i­tal

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

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.

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