South Canterbury Museum collection online
'It's a powerful tool for museums to provide access to everything'FLEUR COGLE
What do ''Big Ted'', a 1953 coronation biscuit tin and a 1847 baby bonnet have in common?
They are just some of the artifacts relating to South Canterbury's history now accessible online.
A project started last year to enable online access to the South Canterbury Museum collection came to fruition last week when links to the museum's collection database went live on its website.
The museum has more than 60,000 items in its catalogue and so far 800 items can now be accessed online, with more to be added.
Museum director Philip Howe said the aim was to put online a large proportion of the musuem's collection, including natural history items, Maori and historical artifacts, books, photos and archival material.
''The thing is people always ask us, 'what have you got'.
''Increasingly people are wanting access to information. It's a powerful tool for museums to provide access to everything.''
Mr Howe did not see the development as a threat to museums visitor numbers, as the online material was likely to appeal to people doing research. Then people would often either contact the museum for more information or would come in and visit.
''It acts as a promotion for our museum,'' Mr Howe said.
The program enabling the online collection database has also given museum staff another platform to host exhibitions.
While the database allowed people to look at everything available online, staff were also able to put together online exhibitions. The museum has already put the new feature to the test, with exhibitions for Feeling for Daylight and Made by Timaru Potteries online.
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