After two months in Nelson Provincial Museum, the exhibition has been packed down and is currently in storage, waiting to be transported to the South Island in early 2022. Sadly, due to Covid restrictions in Auckland, we have been unable to install Let Me Be Myself at Papakura Museum, our next scheduled venue. We are grateful to the museum’s willing staff for exploring all possible options to bring the exhibition to their venue and wish them well once their doors reopen.
We would also like to thank the team at Nelson Provincial Museum for working with us through the many challenges posed by our Covid ‘new normal’ to ensure that we could install the exhibition in their venue rather than postponing all together. We would like to share some reflections about how local, regional, and national visitors engaged with Let Me Be Myself from members of the museum management and education teams.
Phillipa Hamilton, the museum’s Team Leader for Exhibition Delivery, noted that “having the Star of David on display was very powerful.” In nearly every venue where Anne Frank: Let Me Be Myself has been located over the past few years, we have received positive feedback about this authentic artefact being on display. With Jood, the Dutch word for Jew, printed in the centre of this faded yellow star, visitors are reminded that the Holocaust started with small but blatant steps to discriminate, segregate, and eliminate Jews from European society.
Nicki Green, the museum’s Team Leader for Education, commented on the peer guide programme that was delivered to local schools, saying that it “was wonderful for those who took part” and that the materials provided for students “were comprehensive and the students enjoyed using them.” The education team found the contemporary panels particularly thought provoking and “a superb springboard to discuss issues in Aotearoa today.” Despite the school holidays for two weeks in July, nearly 200 students in Years 7-9 visited the exhibition with their schools and we hope that they all learnt some valuable lessons from making these trips.
The continued success of our touring exhibition relies on the support of many individuals and groups around Aotearoa. We look forward to working with staff at our next venue, South Canterbury Museum in Timaru, as well as local school Principals, teachers, and students when the exhibition opens there in early 2022.