Spring clean under way as museum sells excess items

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It is the time of the year for spring cleaning, and the Cromwell Museum Trust has embarked on its own drive to “de-clutter” or, more formally, to begin a de-accession process.

Trust chairwoman Edith McKay said the museum, in the Cromwell Mall, had not had a spring clean for many years.

“The time has now come for this to happen and we are holding a de-accession sale of hundreds of items,” Mrs McKay said.

Horse harness, sewing machines, irons, tobacco and cigar tins and even an organ are among items being offered to the public in a sale that began on Monday.

“It will continue until next Saturday or until we have got rid of everything,” she said.

To be able to “spring clean”, museums had to follow strict guidelines and protocols set by Te Papa and Museums of Aotearoa that included a requirement to trace and contact people or their descendants who had originally given the items.

The list was then reviewed by the Cromwell Community Board and then referred to the Central Otago District Council chief executive for final approval.

Mrs McKay said that in the past many items had been given anonymously and, because of their condition or duplication, it had become necessary to remove some from the collection.

“This means offering them back to the donors [if known], their descendants, to other small museums or to the general public.”

The items would be displayed in the shop beside the museum from 10am to 4pm daily, including at Labour Weekend, Mrs McKay said.

The museum would continue its work to preserve items being retained in its collection and to ensure records were updated. This included cataloguing and photographing memorabilia and adding it to an online programme.

More volunteers were welcome to help with the work.

“If you have an interest in history and have people skills, good computer literacy, or photographic knowledge, we would love to hear from you,” Mrs McKay said.

Interested people should phone Mrs McKay (03) 445-3287 for more details.