The team are well immersed in preparing objects and design elements for our next exhibition ‘House of Webb: A Victorian family’s journey to Ormondville’ set to open in late June. This exhibition focuses on the Webb family who immigrated to Ormondville, near Norsewood, in 1884. The exhibition will cover the family’s life in England before setting sail, the long sea journey to New Zealand, first impressions, settling in Ormondville and day-to-day life. Looking through the eyes of the Webbs provides an interesting glimpse of their new life in Central Hawke’s Bay.
Our educators have created a new school programme for senior students (years 7-13) utilising the content of this exhibition and looking at the challenges the Webb family faced when coming from England to settle in Hawke’s Bay. Students will explore letters, diaries, sketches and other primary source material, providing vivid insights into the family’s personal experiences as 19th century immigrants.
Other exhibitions in the pipeline include contemporary art shows to coincide with EAST at Hastings City Art Gallery. We are currently collaborating with two artists linked to Hawke’s Bay about possible displays for around August this year. We will share more information on this once a few details are finalised.
We’re also looking at replacing the ‘Time for Tea’ exhibition, which has proved hugely popular, with a similar style display. The new exhibition will focus on our silverware collection and, we hope, provide the same rich sense of objects and history. Silver, once a prized possession in most households, has become less fashionable over time. Like ‘Time for Tea’ we hope the new exhibition will provide something grandparents can explore with their mokopuna, sharing memories and stories.
We continually work on providing a balance in the exhibitions we display. We work hard to provide interest for both adults and children. Even though most of the feedback we’re getting suggests this is about right, it’s something we’ll always keep in mind when planning future displays and activities. We’ve had some feedback that there hasn’t been enough art on display lately, so we’re looking at what we can do in our schedule to address this. We continue to offer education programmes around art, with one of the current programmes looking at the seawall murals around the city. A guided walk taking in sixteen of these murals relates strongly to the secondary art curriculum but each session is also tailored to suit individual school outcomes.
No matter how big or small an institution is, getting everything in balance is an ongoing challenge – allowing for traditional museum visitor expectations, art lovers, Maori stories, multi-cultural stories, adults and children as well as considering accessibility, cultural safety and so on. We are however always working to find the best balance we can, and seeking to continually improve. Please do let us know how we’re doing.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 28th April 2018