an Online Cenotaph case study

Michaela O’Donovan and Victoria Passau, Auckland War Memorial Museum. This article updates a presentation at the 2015 LIANZA Conference in Wellington.

Museums and libraries rely increasingly on social media interaction with customers for engagement, promotion and crowd sourcing labour for particular projects, but are we thinking in terms of purposeful connecting, meaningful relationships and enriching collections?

Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph, developed in association with memory institutions across the country and launched in late January 2015, was actively designed for digital collection development using social media tools — to harvest the information and digital versions of…

Kei te nanaiore a Tāmaki Pāenga Hira ko ia hei kaiāwhina mō te whakarauora me te pupuritanga i te reo. Hei tīmatanga mō tēnei whāinga, kātahi tonu ka whakamāorihia e mātou ā mātou pae ātanga Kohikohinga ā-Tuihono, Te Maumaharatanga Tuihono hoki. Nā te pūtea InternetNZ i taea ai te mahi nei, i runga i tā rātou tuku pūtea mō nga hinonga e kaha tautoko nei i te matihiko, ki Aotearoa. Nā te whakamāori anō, kua taea te rangahau me te pānui ā mātou pukete i roto i te reo Ingarihi me te reo Māori.

Te Whakamahi Matihiko

Kei te noho haepapa a Tāmaki…

Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira seeks to be a kaiāwhina (advocate) in the revitalisation and retention of te reo Māori. As a step toward this, we have recently translated our Collections Online and Online Cenotaph user interfaces into te reo Māori. This work was made possible by an InternetNZ grant; their most recent funding round focused on projects that support digital inclusion in Aotearoa. The translation means that users can now search and read about our records in both te reo Pākehā and te reo Māori.

→ Read this article in te reo Māori.

Digital Inclusion

Auckland Museum is committed to making…

Feminism is about choice. It is about the choice to live your life as you want, to have autonomy over your body, to have financial independence and security, and to be free of physical, emotional and psychological harm.

By Nina Finigan

Feminism is about choice. It is about the choice to live your life as you want, to have autonomy over your body, to have financial independence and security, and to be free of physical, emotional and psychological harm.

Choice can mean different things to different people. When we talk about ‘suffragists’ or women who advocated for their rights in the 19th century there is a tendency to view them, their lives and activism, as homogenous. Through this lens people and history become one dimensional: all suffragists were teetotalers; all suffragists were middle-class; all suffragists were Pākehā. …

Women from all around the world joined the Women’s March on Saturday 21 January 2017. Our curators explain why Auckland Museum felt it was important to collect objects from this global protest.

by Jane Groufsky and Nina Finigan

On Saturday 21 January 2017, over 1000 Aucklanders came together to march in support of the Women’s March on Washington, forming part of a global protest that drew in millions. Although the Washington DC protest was intended as a response to Trump’s inauguration the day before, marches were organised in 82 countries across the globe to demonstrate widespread dissatisfaction at his appointment, and to call attention to human rights issues.

Auckland Museum took the opportunity to collect objects from the march, and we weren’t alone in this action — museums, libraries and archives all…

By Ewen K. Cameron, Curator of Botany, Auckland Museum

In celebration of 125 years since women gained the right to vote, we are sharing the stories of inspirational and trailblazing New Zealand women.

Pioneering young curator: adventurous and outstanding Lucy May Cranwell, MA, DSc, DSc(Hon.), FLS(Lond.), FRSNZ, 1907–2000

Dr Lucy Cranwell was an internationally renowned botanist and palynologist (expert on pollen and spores) who began her career at the Auckland Museum as a university graduate in 1929.

She moved permanently to America as a war bride in 1944 where she continued her work on Gondwanan pollen and Hawaiian peat up…

By Siren Deluxe, Senior Collection Manager, Collection Care

As a young child I was encouraged to collect. Both my mother and father had collected stamps as children and my mother wanted to pass on the legacy of treasured albums with dog eared pages and handwritten labels. But I was a child of the eighties. Stamps were boring. I preferred to collect erasers. I was passionate about collecting novelty, brightly coloured, scented, strictly unused, pencil erasers. I had a tall glass jar in which they were stored and I would regularly tip them all out and examine them one by one…

Originally published at

Pou Maumahara volunteer, Janet Anderson

Janet Anderson is one of Pou Maumahara’s dedicated volunteers who comes in week after week to share her time, knowledge and insights with our visitors. When asked “Why do you do it?” Janet came up with this response.

Why do I do it?

It all started in the late 1940s when Britain was beginning to re-build after six years of conflict. My father was a great believer in knowing who you were, where you came from and knowing your city. …

Graffiti-filled toilet doors, band posters, darts trophies​ and cigarette machines were just some of the pieces that were auctioned following the closure of Auckland’s iconic music venue, The Kings Arms. In this blog, Curator Jane Groufsky describes the objects that were acquired at the auction for the Museum’s collection and explains why they were chosen.

By Jane Groufsky, Project Curator, History

by Jane Groufsky

“Wunderpus O Sea”, Octavia Cook, 2017. Acrylic, silver, found object. Auckland War Memorial Museum 2017.5.1.

Who owns an idea? When does a conventional form become a unique and distinctive design? Auckland Museum recently acquired a brooch by contemporary jeweller Octavia Cook which explores these concepts, and responds to a particular situation in which she found herself in last year.

Since 2001, a recurring motif of Cook’s work has been her youthful self-portrait in cameo form. Her two brooches “O. Cook and J. Cook”, on display in our “Encounters” gallery, pair her own image with the silhouette of James Cook, playing with ideas of significance and sentimentality. “O. Cook and J. Cook” were…

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Auckland War Memorial Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people.

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