Thursday, 25 August 2016

'Role of Women' - Valmai Robertson

We're looking for stories and accounts from former pupils of Valmai Robertson that can be included in the new women's display, Role of Women, at the museum. This will be a tribute to her and all the decades of effort she put into teaching the young and older girls of the district dancing and ballet. Please contact Suzie Best asap on ph 225-8286; cell 027-211-4675; or email: 
If you know of other women, past or present, that you would like to see featured, please get in touch asap.

'Role of Women' Display - Call for Photos

Celebrating the Role of Women in the Otautau Area - Past & Present is a display being developed by our new Collections Manager, Suzie Best. 

Women have made a difference in Otautau and surrounding communities from the moment they arrived right up to today.

To get things going, we need your input. We want to know who you would like to see included in this display and why. Do you have photos, recollections, memorabilia or records to loan us? 

We are looking for anything to do with (but not limited to) the WDFF branches in this area (especially photos), midwives, anybody and everybody who you feel should be part of this.

Please get in touch with Suzie ASAP, on ph 225-8286; cell 027-211-4675; or email: 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Low-cost Monitoring

These little gauges are a low cost way to monitor temperature and humidity in your home. Humidity above 55% could cause moisture or mould damage on photos, fabrics and natural materials over a long period of time

In this photo, the reading on the bottom left is for temperature, and the one on the right is humidity. Forty-five percent humidity is pretty low. You wouldn't want it lower than that. But some rooms in your house may be as high as 80 or 90% humidity. 

If you can keep the room where your family valuables are stored at an even temperature and humidity most of the time, that would be ideal. Big fluctuations in temp and humidity throughout the day, can lead to brittleness in things such as paper, fabrics, and plant or animal-based materials. 

If you have a woodburner in the livingroom, you might want to store your valuables elsewhere as the extreme daily fluctuations (from cold and damp to hot and dry) may be too much. Creating an environment where the fluctuations aren't too extreme is a good target to shoot for. 

Look for these gauges in garden centres or hardware stores.

Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.

Care of Collections

There's no time like the present to look after your family's special belongings. They may not need to be locked away for safekeeping, but maybe they could benefit from a more friendly environment - not too much sun, not too much damp, away from inks, rust or adhesives etc.

To learn more, check out the guidelines at the National Library for the care of your photographs, books, and much more. Have a read and then adapt for your specific family or whanau needs.

And if you need special supplies such as acid-free boxes, check out Conservation Supplies. They have an online catalogue that you can order from.

Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Jackson Duo

a black and white photocopy of Alexander Wallace Jackson, artist, Otautau Museum
Alexander Wallace Jackson (1881-1856)
Photo from his divorce file via Archives NZ
If you have been following our research into the Jackson couple who painted portraits in the early 1900s, we finally have a photo to share thanks to the Christchurch High Court and Archives NZ.

Alexander Wallace Jackson (1881-1956) was an oil painter in Christchurch. There is some suggestion that he was born in England and was a South African War veteran, but we have not confirmed this.

He married Honor Banfield in 1911 at St John's, Christchurch. He was active in the St Albans and Edgeware communities in the 1920s especially the St Albans Burgesses Association, the Edgeware Bowling, Tennis and Croquet Clubs, the St Albans School Committee and St Albans Swimming Club. He later worked as a bookseller, news agent and civil servant.

Unfortunately, we couldn't find a picture of Honor Banfield (1881-1967) though we suspect her sisters and parents' photos are held at the Nelson Provincial Museum. With so little information collected at the time the photos were taken, this cannot yet be confirmed. We do know she was born in Riwaka, north of Motueka, and moved to Christchurch with her parents between 1906 and 1911. Honor and Alexander married in 1911 and divorced in 1938. In that time, they appeared to have operated their art business. She painted in oils and was a relief carver. They had no children. Honor remarried in 1943 to John Carson. 

From the Press, Volume LX, Issue 18108,
25 June 1924, Page 8
The popularity of photography probably put a lot of portrait artists out of business. So finding these old gems all these years later has been really enjoyable.

What would you do if you owned a portrait painting? Would you restore it? Would you sell it? 

And if you have a painting signed by A W & H Jackson, drop us a line. We'd love to see it and put it in our virtual exhibition.

Note: We're open Sundays, 2pm-4pm and by request.