How museums weave our threads together

Every year, International Museum Day celebrates the role of modern museums as special places where the threads of cultural fabric weave together. Communities maintain wellbeing there, and people from all walks of life make new connections. 

Te Manawa marked International Museum Day by exploring these themes with a special event focused on people and the heritage they have in common.. 

The centrepiece activities of the day will be a familiar concept reimagined into something new: the Speed Chat. It’s a bit like speed dating, but for the much simpler purpose of meeting new people. Come in and have a three-minute yarn with a stranger, then do it again until you’ve met everyone. You never know, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

During the rest of your visit, step into the recent past with our ever-popular Museum in a Box mini-exhibition. Every Box is different, but this one will look at the clubs and societies of yesteryear – the community activities that our parents and grandparents got involved with. It’s the story of how New Zealanders stayed connected in the days before connection – or distraction – was just a finger-swipe away. 

Te Manawa staff have been embarking on their own individual heritage journeys by creating similar “heirloom boxes”. Each is a personal collection illustrating that the heritage museums care for isn’t just a record of the past. It helps show us who we are today, and why. If we look very closely, it might just show us a glimpse of the future. 

They’ve made videos showing how they went about putting their heirloom boxes together. Watch the first one below, then click through for the rest of the series. They’re filled with suggestions if you want to have a go at making your own. 

  • International Museum Day, Thursday 18 May, 11am – 3pm. Speed chats begin at 11am, 1pm and 2pm.