Why do we collect?
Every museum recognises its responsibility as a holder/trustee/guardian of collections on behalf of the public. The museum’s worth is measured largely in terms of the Collection’s authenticity, and for the National Army Museum it is the objects/artefacts that enable the museum to tell the stories of the New Zealand Army. That story can be historical (of origins and the past), it can be about the weaponry and technology, or it can be personal (the experiences of the men and women who served in the New Zealand Army). It is the military history collections themselves that are unique to museums as institutions and the communities they serve.
What do we collect?
To tell the stories of the New Zealand Army, we have to decide what objects we require and then develop a Collection Policy that assists us with the task of what to accept and what to decline. Without a defined policy, the Collection could well become an assortment of curiosities with no common linkage and of little historic significance. The National Army Museum’s policy states the collection is to be confined to artefacts (including photographs, diaries, letters and other documents), which reflect the following:
- The activities of the New Zealand soldier, in peace and war, in the performance of his/her duties;
- The activities of enemies faced by the New Zealand soldier;
- The activities of the armies of New Zealand allies in the field (including peacekeeping operations) and
- Significant developments in warfare that have directly influenced the history of the New Zealand Army.
The museum is always looking for unique objects to add to the collection and although the museum always has more objects than can be displayed at any one time, those not on display are cared for in storage, awaiting their turn when a new display/exhibition is installed. Remember it is the unusual personal ‘relics’ that bring the story vividly to life.
So if you have a ‘wartime’ artefact pushed to the back of the cupboard, thinking that nobody would be interested, we are interested and would welcome the opportunity to have a look at what you have.
Artefacts can be uniforms, medals, hats, boots, weaponry, photographs, paintings, diaries & letters, even the old tram ticket from Cairo that Grandpa used to keep in an envelope.
If you wish to find out more about donating artefacts to the National Army Museum please contact our Registrar on 06 387 6911 or by filling in this ENQUIRY FORM.