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history, and a possible third museum if the Clyde Railway Station was redeveloped, this would give the town four historical reference points and “a point of difference”, Mrs Haig said.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.