Many watch con­ser­va­tor at work

Katikati Advertiser - - Your Community Voice - By CHRIS STEEL

An el­e­gant silk gown from the 1860s has been brought to life at the West­ern Bay Mu­seum, af­ter four days of skil­ful work by Te Papa con­ser­va­tor of cos­tumes and tex­tiles, Sam Gat­ley.

From Satur­day to Tues­day Ms Gat­ley­worked pre­par­ing and mount­ing the gown, with as­sis­tance of lo­cal vol­un­teers Caz Hughes and Mar­garet McC­ly­mont. Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Paula Gaelic said Ms Gat­ley was very pa­tient, pre­cise and me­thod­i­cal.

“Sam had to do a sec­ond fit­ting this morn­ing be­cause the shoul­der pad­ding had re­laxed a lit­tle dur­ing the night. Un­less ev­ery­thing sits per­fectly, right down to the last mil­lime­tre, she is not happy. None of her work can be rushed.”

The ex­per­tise, qual­i­fi­ca­tion and skill shown dur­ing the mount­ing process has en­light­ened and de­lighted the many vis­i­tors trav­el­ling from Pa­pamoa, Te Puke, and all over the Bay of Plenty, she said.

“We had over 100 vis­i­tors, some com­ing each day, and on Mon­day morn­ing we had 30 guests at the in­vite-only work­shop with staff from the Tau­ranga Art Gallery, teach­ers and stu­dents from Toi Ohomai In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, Katikati Col­lege his­tory teacher and stu­dents, The Elms, Tau­ranga Col­lec­tion, Te Puke li­brary staff, and more were en­thralled, lis­ten­ing to ev­ery word.”

The cu­ra­tor of the Mu­seum of Ar­gentina also paid a visit.

Ms Gat­ley does not usu­ally work in the pub­lic arena. Mrs Gaelic said this is some­thing West­ern Bay Mu­seum does that is very dif­fer­ent.

“We do this to build aware­ness and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of what qual­i­fied mu­seum staff do.”

Joanne Shaw of Omoko­roa do­nated the gown that had once been­worn by her great­grand­mother, Frances Minns. Mrs Shaw was at the mu­seum on Tues­day to watch the fi­nal fit­tings and de­liv­ery of the gown into the show­case. She told Mrs Gaelic she was very pleased that the mu­seum was tak­ing care of it.

Mrs Gaelic said she was proud of what had hap­pened at the mu­seum and was very grate­ful to Te Papa Na­tional Ser­vices Te Paerangi.

“This takes our mu­seum to another level.”

The mount­ing of the gown is the cur­tain raiser to the open­ing of the Suf­frage 125— Our Women, Their Sto­ries ex­hi­bi­tion which opens to the pub­lic to­mor­row. Much of the re­search for this ex­hi­bi­tion­was done by vol­un­teer Joan Bog­giss, who has spent hun­dreds of hours sourc­ing old pho­to­graphs and in­for­ma­tion. Cather­ine (Kate) Shep­pard­was the most prom­i­nent mem­ber of the women’s suf­frage move­ment in New Zealand.

It was due to their ef­forts that women in this coun­try got the right to vote.

SAM Gat­ley (right) with as­sis­tant Caz Hughes work­ing gen­tly mount­ing the del­i­cate Shaw gown.

GOWN­donor, Joanne Shaw (back) watches Ms Gat­ley work on the fi­nal un­der­pin­nings to en­sure there is no pres­sure on the gown fab­ric. NZME videog­ra­pher Hunter Calder was there film­ing it all.

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