Local life put on display

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Finishing touches .. South Canterbury Museum curator of social history Chris Rapley (left) and curator of documentary history Tony Rippin prepare a glass panel for installation at the museum's new long-term display.

by Alexia Johnston

The wait is finally over.
South Canterbury Museum’s new long term display is now open to the public.
An opening ceremony was hosted at the museum last night, where staff celebrated stage one of the project’s completion.
The display, located upstairs on the museum’s mezzanine floor, is called “Times of Change – Aspects of Local Life 1870-1940.”
It illustrates a range of topics relevant to South Canterbury, including Takata Whenua, which looks at how local Maori communities have reacted and changed.
“Putting Down Roots” was another topic, which looks at the growth of towns and various aspects of local communities, while a “Nought to Port”display looks at shipwrecks.
The displays, of which there many, feature large glass cabinets, informative touch screens and drawers containing various items.
Museum director Philip Howe said the drawer concept meant items could be tucked away but viewed as people wander past.
“We’re using the drawers to help people if they want to learn more – they can explore further,” he said.
“The exhibition development has given us the opportunity to bring out more items that have not all been on display.”
He said the project, which has effectively also been a floor space upgrade, had been a long work in progress to ensure the finished product was just as staff intended.
“We started planning it in late 2015 and there was both planning and fundraising required,” he said.
To help museum staff on their way, a 3-D model of the display area was crafted to ensure their ideas would work and identify problems before they occurred.
A second model was created for stage two of the project, which would be developed on the other half of the museum’s mezzanine floor.