1997 has been a year of exciting developments at Russell Museum. A new book on Russell’s history has been written and published. Possible redevelopments of the museum building have been discussed and an enhanced secretarial service offered to locals, clubs and societies.
Thank you to everyone who has visited the museum or recommended that their visitors come. Without your support, Russell Museum, your museum, administered by the Russell Centennial Trust on your behalf, could not survive. We look forward to seeing you at the museum over the next year.
For some time, the Trust Board has been considering improving the museum building to attract more visitors, most of whom approach the town from the sea. A floor plan has been drawn up which enlarges the exhibition space, and moves the museum’s entrance to The Strand. If adopted, the library would gain a frontage on York Street, making it easier for Russellites to use their facilities, whilst the Op shop would stay where it is.
Russell Museum has produced a new book on the history of the town. This brief, but comprehensive, look at the events, people and places that make Russell what it is today is an ideal Christmas present.
With the help of a Lottery grant, the museum’s computer has been upgraded and a new printer and scanner bought.
Staff are continuing to build up the database of the museum’s archives and artefacts as well as transcribing oral history tapes. Staff have also attended seminars on marketing and copyright.
The museum shop has a wide range of books on Northland’s history, as well as Discover Russell video – a unique look at the town’s history. Other gifts suitable for Christmas presents are locally-carved bone pendants, wooden bowls, and kauri gum.
The museum offers a quick, convenient, economical and centrally located secretarial service including: copying, laminating, faxing and word-processing. Council agendas, minutes and the district scheme are kept at the museum for anyone to read.
Community Outreach Programmes
Signs indicating the interesting and historic walkways of Old Russell are being erected around the town. The Lemon Tree Track (complete with the new lemon tree planted this year by the museum), the Zigzag, Hazard Street Track, Brodie Passage and Flowerday Passage are some of the walkways that will be signposted this year. The 1997-1998 Russell Review has detailed descriptions by Heather Lindauer about the background to each of these walkways.
The museum’s Russell and Maritime Heritage Trails continue to be popular with visitors to the area. Over the past few years a guide has been employed over the peak summer period to walk the central trail around the village. The comments tourists make emphasize the act that this a unique and valuable way of highlighting Russell’s history. When not out on tour, the guide helps out with the day-to-day running of the museum. Anybody who fits the Department of Employment’s Taskforce Green criteria may be eligible to apply for this summer’s position. Call Dianne Davey at the museum for details.
With the introduction of the four term school year, visitor patterns have changed. Visitors of note included: Prime Minister and Mrs Bolger who visited us in January. Jim Bolger’s distant ancestor was harbour master in Russell in the 1860s and was buried in Christ Church’s graveyard; leading New Zealand novelist C.K. Stead. Two Interhostel groups and twenty school groups also visited during the year.
Trustees and Staff
Chair of the Trust: Florence Annison, Trustees: Vin Hill, Reg Mogford, Brian Baker, Gill Jones, Murphy Shortland, Lorraine Hill, Roger Gudgeon, Bernie Chantler, (library appointment)
Curator: Heather Lindauer, Secretary/Treasurer: Dianne Davey. Weekend staff: Helen Ough Dealy, Pat McNicoll
Annual General Meeting
This will be held on Monday 15 December at 1pm in the Town Hall Committee room. Trustees are elected to the Board on a three-yearly basis. The next election will be in December 1998.