Inspired by the Humans of New York photoblog, we’re showcasing some of the incredible stories and experience of people throughout our organisation.
Jess – Curator of collections, New Zealand Police Museum
My love of art and heritage was fostered by my mum, who took me on outings to our local art gallery, library, and museum when I was little. My dad was a Detective Sergeant for many years, and I grew up listening to him tell stories from his police service.
The opportunity to care for the artefacts held at the Police Museum in the role of Curator of Collections felt like an ideal blend of these two worlds.
After completing a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Postgraduate Diploma in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington, I worked on several projects and internships at museums and art galleries in the Wellington region. After getting a feel for the sector, I undertook a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies with a focus on collection management and heritage interpretation.
The opportunity for a change of scene and change of pace came with a move to the deep south as Collection Technician at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery Niho o te Taniwha.
As Curator of Collections, I enjoy the hands-on, problem solving aspect of collection work, from acquisition, to preventive conservation, cataloguing, to display.
I work behind the scenes to ensure the physical care of artefacts, to minimise deterioration and enable preservation for future generations. It involves researching and documenting as much information as we can, from the materials it is made from, to the significance for police, and how or why it was made.
Making this information available enables us to facilitate research, publication, and to create exhibitions. Through the cataloguing process, reconnecting an object with a history that may have been lost or obscured is satisfying - it almost feels a bit like detective work!
The collection is fascinating and varied; including uniforms and textiles, technology, criminal evidence, photographs and archives.
The history of New Zealand Police is an important aspect of Aotearoa’s social and political history, often involving some of the most challenging events but also the more inspiring and unifying. To share and care for these stories, and meeting those involved is a privilege.