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JH

Fabulous Museum Sampler

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'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum. 'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum. 'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum. 'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum. 'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum. 'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum. 'He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections'. Part of 'Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium' display on Level 1 of Auckland War Memorial Museum.

The bright white bank of lightboxes darkens the colours, turning all displayed items into intricate silhouettes, but amongst the seats on the opposite wall are three computer stations with touch screens, so you can quickly access information about all the extraordinary mini-collections that are before you—not only through brief concise texts, but also through a selection of detailed coloured images.

Auckland

 

Selection of items from the Collections

 

He Putunga Taonga / Collections & Connections

 

Part of Te Whiwhinga the Imaginarium display on Level 1

 

From 5 June 2021 on

Ostensibly for children—but really for anyone who wants to learn more about the natural and cultural worlds they share the planet with—this exhilarating presentation of several hundred variously sized artefacts, animals, plants and minerals, cleverly exploits a large wall of 74 butted together, stacked-up, glowing white light boxes as a backdrop.

That darkens the colours, turning all displayed items into intricate silhouettes, but amongst the seats on the opposite wall are three computer stations with touch screens, so you can quickly access information about all the extraordinary mini-collections that are before you—not only through brief concise texts, but also through a selection of detailed coloured images.

Playful, eccentric, and sometimes Surreal with its unpredictable juxtapositions, this show can be seen as a form of Installation Art, where museum staff as selecting curators become artists. The objects don’t have to be human-made.

In the room we can discover: bottled giant stick insects; beautifully woven flax baskets; nifty ceramic jugs; jars of colour-sorted M & M’s; a Thai headdress; a pair of snowshoes; a porcupine fish; an elephant-hide shield; a Chinese chess set; a crocodile skull; amongst lines of tiny beetles a child’s castle-siege catapult; a hilarious ceramic tank teapot from WW1; some Reuben Paterson sequin covered gourds; a Lego spaceship; a model of a clipper sailing ship; flax fishing lures; a lugubrious moose head; a gorgeous Kaimanawa horse; an intricate eel trap; a turtle; a bottled octopus; pieces of black obsidian glass; small jars of coloured sand; a wrinkled coral ‘brain’; wonky towers that are homes for bi-valve molluscs; a grumpy textile hog…and more… Lots more.

This is such a great display. It extols the introductory premise that ‘Collecting things can help us understand the world.’ Accordingly the labels and images on computer are essential to spend time with. It is great fun to dig around.

Try and visit during the week when attendance numbers are lowest. An enthralling experience.

John Hurrell

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This Discussion has 1 comment.

Comment

Roy Good, 8:38 p.m. 29 April, 2022

John, you're absolutely right about the new gallery at Auckland Museum, one of the best displays I've seen in a long time, visually delightful and so visitor friendly.

Your review of the Thornley works at Gowlangsford says it all - a beautiful body of work from a much under rated artist. These paintings were great to re-visit and be reminded of his contribution to NZ abstraction.

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