Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

New Zealand 2019: Day 3 Wellington Museums

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 8, 2019

The weather continues benign, and I have yet to suffer what is called the Wellington Hairdo:

We took a stroll along the waterfront en route to the Wellington Museum, and admired other examples of Kiwi humour:

We also liked a retaining wall that featured memorials of one sort or another.  I liked the one to the Shaw Savill Line because that’s the line on which I sailed to Australia and although it’s not the classiest ocean liner of my childhood travels, it did get me to the right place to make a wonderful home. Here’s the slideshow:

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So then we got to the museum, said (by someone, Lonely Planet?) to be among the best 50 museums in the world.  It is just the kind of museum I like: with interesting exhibits, lots of good signage, not dependent on pressing digital interactive stuff that is mostly rubbish and not what you wanted to know anyway.   It’s definitely among my best-ever museums too.

On the ground floor there’s a chronological circuit which takes you through the 20th century in Wellington.  It has some surprising exhibits: I’ve never before seen any exhibits about conscientious objectors but this museum features Alexander Baxter, and it acknowledges that it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs when everyone else is against them.

There’s also a banner for Nuclear Free Wellington, which as our tour guide Dean said yesterday was a no-brainer given New Zealand’s propensity for earthquakes. (BTW I have no idea why they’ve put a woman sweeping the floor next to the sign, there wasn’t any signage to explain it.)

It’s always pleasing to see a city’s literary and artistic history being included in a museum’s exhibits.  Here’s the slideshow:

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Having read so recently at home about the battle for women’s suffrage, I was impressed yesterday when our tour guide drew our attention to Kate Sheppard Place which acknowledges her role in the NZ campaign which led to New Zealand women being the first in the world to get the vote.  And with what we now recognise as typical Kiwi humour he pointed out that this little street is between two pubs, which might not have amused Sheppard who was (like many of the suffragists) a temperance campaigner as well.

However in the Wellington museum, all that we could find about her was this enigmatic statue, and her name among other notable Kiwi women on a tapestry.  (You probably won’t be able to read the names, but they include Jean Batten the aviator; Katherine Mansfield (author); Helen Clark (first female PM of NZ); Jacinda Ardern (of course!); Jane Campion (film director); Patricia Grace (author) and other names I don’t know but will look up in due course.

All up it’s a jolly good museum, and highly recommended.

To finish off, here we are having lunch at the Crab Shack!

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5 Responses to “New Zealand 2019: Day 3 Wellington Museums”

  1. Nan Louise Middleditch said

    Looks like you are having a great time. That crab looked a bit mean. Hope you won!

  2. I love an affogato too – a proper one with the liqueur, I mean!

    The museum does sound lovely. I don’t hate all digital / interactive exhibits but I know what you mean – many can be more about the technology than the content. And like you, I love it when museums reference literary and other arts cultures.

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