National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

New Expertise on Staff

The National Army Museum has welcomed three new staff members on board in the last couple of months including Simon Beckwith as Assistant Security Officer and Storeman, Anna Beazley as Collection Technician and Megan Wells as Assistant Curator of Social History and Accoutrements. Find out more about our new museum experts: Simon Beckwith, Anna Beazley and Megan Wells.

Introducing Simon Beckwith

Simon comes to the National Army Museum with varied experience including the last 12 years as a volunteer at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England. Simon says, “I started in the Military Vehicle Wing restoring all types of military vehicles and equipment; these were used in displays both static and moving across the IWM. I became the Treasurer of the Vehicle Wing within 18 months and went on to become the Duxford Aviation Society’s Registrar 2 years later, with over 750 volunteers involved in more than 20 different subject areas in the IWM and other volunteer sections in and around the Duxford Airfield site area.”

Simon has also spent 6 years as a member of the British Army, 4½ years on posting to the British Army of the Rhine in West Germany, during which time he completed training and exercises in a number of places in both Europe and Canada. His principle role was as an Anti Tank Guided Weapons gunner working on the Swingfire anti tank missile system, ironic in that years later he was involved in restoring and running ex Warsaw Pact vehicles at Duxford.

In addition, Simon has spent more than 26 years as a heavy truck driver in the UK and Europe working in a variety of different areas including professional motorsport and construction and also worked as a Traffic management traffic control and safety officer during the construction of the Dublin Port Tunnel. Simon has 7 years experience as a commercial vehicle mechanic as well as running single seater race cars in his spare time.

Simon is enjoying living with his wife and son Duncan in Waiouru, a stones throw from his work at the Museum and says many of their friends and family back in the UK are keen to come and visit.

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Introducing Anna Beazley

Hi! My name is Anna Beazley. I recently joined the National Army Museum as Collection Technician. I come to you from the ‘Winterless North’, where I was working for a couple of years as a Collection Technician at the Kauri Museum, a museum dedicated to telling the story of the Kauri timber industry in the pioneer years of New Zealand. The last project I worked on was their war collection, which although small in comparison was pretty comprehensive. It ended with an exhibition that I helped put up the North Auckland Mounted Rifles. So far at the National Army Museum I have worked on the Tears on Greenstone database, to add more information, and I’m currently researching Makers of Watches, including military issue watches from the Social History & Accoutrements collection. I am looking forward to working on many different projects throughout my collection.

It is great being a Collection Technician because you can really get into a subject and learn a lot while not being restricted to one type of collection. It also lets me be a bit crafty creating boxes and nests for objects. I am enjoying living in Waiouru and everyone has been very welcoming.

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Introducing Megan Wells

Hi, I’m Megan. I started here at the Army Museum last month as the Assistant Curator of Accoutrements and Social History.

It’s a really interesting collection and I’m enjoying getting to know it. My favourite museum artifact I have found so far is an unopened parcel. It contains the personal effects of a soldier dated 1945. The paper wrapping is brown and the labelling has faded but the string, sealed with sealing wax, has never been undone. The family of this soldier never brought themselves to open it and see what is inside and that is how it will stay in the collection, as an unopened parcel.

Before coming to the National Army Museum I worked at the Nelson Provincial Museum as a research assistant. I worked in the photographic department and spent much of my time working on a project digitising glass plate negatives from the 1800s and early 1900s.

Moving to the National Army Museum has been a major shift from this, not least of all because of the total immersion aspect of the job. I am living in the Camp, in the Officer’s Mess. Not only do I work with historic military objects all day but when I head home at the end of the day it is full of soldiers!

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