Clyde keeps in touch with his­tory


If it wasn’t for gold, Clyde would not ex­ist. Its role in the town’s evo­lu­tion lies in ev­ery nook and cranny, and in ev­ery room in the newly re­vamped mu­seum at the Vin­cent County Coun­cil of­fices. At the re-open­ing last Satur­day, Clyde His­tor­i­cal Mu­se­ums com­mit­tee chair­woman Me­lanie Eade told guests the group’s ef­forts dur­ing the win­ter to im­prove the pre­sen­ta­tion of Clyde’s so­cial his­tory col­lec­tion “was only the start of great things”. Mrs Eade and cu­ra­tor John Han­ning de­scribed how the group had “de-clut­tered” the in­te­rior, emp­ty­ing three rooms pre­vi­ously used as stor­age and of­fices, cre­at­ing a new re­cep­tion area, and de­vot­ing rooms to var­i­ous stages of Clyde’s his­tory. The aim was to let the arte­facts “tell sto­ries” rather than just be a col­lec­tion of ob­jects with­out con­nec­tion to peo­ple. They were helped by for­mer cu­ra­tor of Cen­tral Sto­ries Mu­seum and Art Gallery, Jamie Bell. Orig­i­nally from Clyde, Mr Bell nor­mally works at the Auck­land Zoo as an in­ter­pre­ta­tion co-or­di­na­tor. Mu­seum com­mit­tee sec­re­tary Ca­role Haig said the ex­pe­ri­ence had been “a huge amount of fun and dis­cov­ery”. It had also pro­vided in­spi­ra­tion for the idea of putting in­ter­pre­tive pan­els around town, to let Clyde tell its own sto­ries as a “liv­ing mu­seum”. Along with the Briar Herb Fac­tory, which spe­cialised in the town’s in­dus­trial his­tory, and a pos­si­ble third mu­seum if the Clyde Rail­way Sta­tion was re­de­vel­oped, this would give the town four his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ence points and “a point of dif­fer­ence”, Mrs Haig said. How­ever, while its ar­chi­tec­ture was re­cently de­scribed as “cute” in the Lonely Planet travel guide, Clyde’s quaint­ness was only part of the equa­tion, and the need for vol­un­teers to fur­ther de­velop its po­ten­tial was vi­tal. “The aim is to get Clyde peo­ple en­thu­si­as­tic, that this is their mu­seum and their his­tory.” Mrs Haig said the com­mit­tee aimed to have a flex­i­ble space so that exhibitions could be changed of­ten. The mu­seum was also look­ing at pos­si­ble in­come streams by hir­ing out its fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing the old coun­cil cham­ber, for small pri­vate func­tions or con­fer­ences. Both mu­se­ums are open Tues­day to Sun­day from 2pm to 4pm.

Old way: John and Chris Cock­croft look at liv­ing links to Clyde his­tory. One mile was made up of 80 chains. One chain was 100 links and a link was eight inches.

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