Evidence Newsletter, August 2007
August 2007 - ISSN No.1175-9631
Rotary Group Study Exchange to New York State
Museum Manager Kamaya Yates recently returned from five weeks in New York State studying how museums there develop exhibitions and care for objects in their collections.
The trip was part of Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange (GSE) programme, which sponsors a small group of professional people annually. This year Kamaya and Porirua Police Prosecutor Sergeant Jason May were two of five awarded scholarships after a selection process she describes as “gruelling”.
Throughout their trip the group stayed with US Rotarian host families. The scholarship covered the group’s airfares and Kamaya had further assistance from the Friends of the Police Museum and the New Zealand Police Museum.
Before she left for the US, Kamaya aimed to learn as much as possible in the time available. “As the Manager of the NZ Police Museum I am responsible for ensuring it runs smoothly as well as developing exhibitions and policy for the Museum. In the US I tried to soak in absolutely everything I could.”
Kamaya visited many museums in New York State including the Hudson River Museum, New York Police Department Museum and West Point Military Museum. She also spent a day with Orangetown Police looking at the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department and their Academy. Kamaya says the highlight was visiting the Franklin Roosevelt Museum where she viewed some of the President’s clothes and personal items. She spent time with Herman Eberhardt, the Supervisory Museum Curator, discussing how they developed the concepts for their $8 million refreshment.
“The study tour was busy and enlightening but it was certainly not a holiday! I gave presentations about New Zealand and the Police to US Rotary groups and other organisations at least every second day,” says Kamaya.
“I recommend the Rotary GSE to anyone who isn’t afraid to put themselves into new situations and wants to learn from a different culture. It is definitely an experience I will never forget.”
Kamaya goes to Washington DC
After Kamaya said farewell to her Rotary Exchange team mates, she headed off to Washington DC to spend a week studying more museums and museum professionals. Kamaya was well fed and hosted in DC by Superintendent Neville Matthews and his wife Liz.
Kamaya visited many museums including the National Portrait Gallery, The Holocaust Museum and ‘Bodies, The Exhibition’. She also met with Alex Spencer, the Senior Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, and spent a day with staff at the National Law Enforcement Museum.
The National Air and Space Museum is the Smithsonian’s busiest museum with an average of eight million visitors every year. “It was great to meet with Alex and spend some time with their collection manager Samantha Gallagher at their off-site storage buildings called the Paul E Garber Facility. I learnt a great deal and found some new uses for medical grade stocking!”
“The highlight for me was visiting our counterparts at the National Law Enforcement Museum. Laurie Baty is the Senior Director of Programs at the new National Law Enforcement Museum due to be opened in 2011. She is responsible for developing a national museum representing over 18,000 different policing agencies. It is a real challenge and I got a sense of the scope and magnitude of the project. I can’t wait to see the final product.”
Kamaya was shown their off-site storage facility by Registrar Maeve Gaynor. “I was so impressed to see the quality of the collection management systems implemented by Laurie and her team. Their collection is small and evolving and will be documented to a very high standard.”
The new museum will have 70 staff members and will have cost $80 million dollars when complete. Laurie Baty will be a guest speaker at the International Police Museum Conference to be held at the RNZPC in February 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of the New Zealand Police Museum.
As a southerly blast hit Wellington, the Friends were welcomed into the warmth of the Police Museum to solve a chilling crime. Padre David Dell, Chaplain at The Royal New Zealand Police College, was fatally impaled by a bolt from a crossbow after receiving death threats from Museum staff Kamaya Yates, Sophie Giddens and Emma Godwin. The Friends, under the guidance of Museum Assistant Karyn Stewart, was transformed into moustache-wearing detectives to determine which of the three were responsible for the murder of the Padre.
Once they had revived themselves from the cold with merlot and spicy beef and prawn empanadas, the detectives made a careful study of the crime scenes, dusted the murder weapon for fingerprints, and examined in microscopic detail a fibre sample left behind by the offender. Much conjecture and finger-pointing ensued, and some detectives based their accusations on hunches rather than evidence, but by the end of the evening most teams were on the right track and correctly named the guilty suspect.
Much fun was had by all so don’t miss the next detective evening to be held in December for the Friends of the Police Museum - join the Friends now to join in the fun! The Mid-Winter Murder continues at the Museum as a Junior Detective mystery for the kids.
Thank you to recruits Jenny and Glen from Wing 244 for waiting on our guests, our Student Assistant Erin Flanigan for welcoming our guests, Karyn Stewart for co-ordinating the teams, and, finally, Padre David Dell for donating his time to act as our unfortunate homicide victim.
Museum and Heritage Studies Practicum
Erin Flanigan, a student at Victoria University of Wellington, joined us in June for a 200-hour placement as part of her Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Studies. The New Zealand Police Museum welcomes the opportunity to work with students like Erin who wish to pursue a career as museum professionals.
The sorting of the social history photography collection project set out for Erin was an ambitious one, and one that will continue beyond her time at the museum. Erin has already sorted thousands of social history photographs into collections and subject categories. Erin and Sophie are currently accessioning each category of photographs in turn. During this process each photograph is given a unique identification number and a paper record is created describing each photograph. Before she completes her placement Erin will enter the records she and Sophie have created into the Vernon collection database.
“Working on the photograph collection has been a really interesting and worthwhile experience,” says Erin. “It has increased my understanding of the role of the police in New Zealand’s social history while giving me the opportunity to take my study out of the university and apply my skills to a real workplace situation. As well as working with the Collection Officer, I have been able to meet and talk with the Museum Manager and the Customer Services Officer on a daily basis. This has given me a much wider perspective of the running of a museum than I may have received had my placement been in a larger institution.”
By the time her practicum is completed Erin will have helped us establish a computerised, searchable database of our social history photographic collection. Having the records on the Vernon database will be of immense help when answering police and public requests for images. Hundreds of the photographs processed are portraits or group shots of police members, many of whom are unidentified and require further research. We hope to display these photographs in the near future in an effort to identify the subjects.
The CIB - Evidence of History in Action: 50th Anniversary of CIB National Training
As part of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of national CIB training, CIB staff, in conjunction with the Museum, are developing a presentation about the early history of CIB training in the New Zealand Police.
The presentation, which will be circulated to each district’s CIB, will cover the course that heralded the start of a national detective qualifying course, the ten-week CIB Eligibility Course in May 1957.
Museum Collection Officer Sophie Giddens worked with Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Borrell to draw information about that first course from a variety of sources. They have identified accounts in 1957 Police Bulletins that referred to the development and progress of the CIB Eligibility Course, and they have discovered the names of the original course members listed as the Number 4 Section in the Scott Recruit Wing book from 1957. The two have also been in contact with a member of the course who has donated photographs, documents, and the typewriter that saw him through his entire police career.
This project was an opportunity for staff at the Museum to collaborate with an operational police group to broaden our knowledge of police history. If you have a special request or query please contact us. We would like to assist, but please contact us well in advance as we are a small team with many projects on the go.
Museums Aotearoa Conference
The annual Museums Aotearoa Conference was held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum from 14-17 March this year. Sophie Giddens attended to bring back stories of the year's events from museums throughout New Zealand .
The theme, Museums - Building for the Future, focused on building projects and provided attendees with an opportunity to see first-hand the recently completed improvements at the Auckland War Memorial Museum including a behind-the-scenes tour of collection storage areas.
The three-day programme included presentations by architects, designers and others from the museum and heritage building industries, and involved the ?warts and all' stories from museum professionals who have managed their institutions through building projects.
The conference provided a great opportunity to meet museum professionals from around New Zealand and build relationships between staff from museums near and far, and to discuss challenges and opportunities in our institutions.
The Police Museum has a close association with the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) due to the NZ Police Vehicle Collection being on loan to them, so Sophie found it valuable to meet some of the MOTAT collection staff face to face.
As the Police Museum is working to forge closer links with the Army Museum because of the early history shared by both the New Zealand Police and New Zealand Army, Sophie participated in the Military Museums Interest Group at the conference. This group was aiming to establish an information sharing group. We look forward to communication from others working in museums of government departments wit