HOW TO RUN A MUSEUM

On balance, New Zealand’s most geographically isolated status of any nation, while carrying disadvantages, overall is a plus.

But by far the biggest draw-back is a childish self-consciousness, thus 20 year olds abroad breaking into embarrassing hakas, the blatant envying of big brother Australia and the misplaced belief that we’re hugely admired world-wide for all number of things. I’ll kill the next time I read we were the first country to give women the vote, which anyway, if properly assessed, may well have been a massive blunder.

We saw this misplaced self-consciousness yet again with another ludicrous Dominion Post front page story, which was specially ridiculous as just for once that edition was actually crammed with genuine news.

Despite that apparently the ‘Dom’ felt the most newsworthy event, thus they devoted their front page to it, was the non-story of the National museum’s intention to establish a permanent exhibition of some of their New Zealand relics, this obviously a cost-saving exercise. The Dom’ of all people ought to have known that, given in the previous few days they’d made a song and dance about the financially pressed museum’s laying off of staff.

There was reference to a 700 year old moa’s egg – one of only 36 in existence, of which the museum owns 4. This the museum’s CEO was quoted, “was something every New Zealander is going to want to see for themselves”. Really!

I don’t think so sunshine and certainly there’ll be no need to warn the riot control Police to hold back the milling mobs fighting to look at a bloody egg. For example, recently in Addis Ababa I inspected their museum’s prize exhibit Dolly, or her bones anyway, she being the oldest known human, not 700 but 700,000 years old. Nobody was there.

But what specially got me was the reference to where the egg was found (near Blenheim) and the assertion that this site is “of international significance”. What world-class cock! Of the 8 billion people in the world, a few New Zealand historians aside, I’ll wager no-one has heard of it.

That said, doubtless some bearded buggers will dutifully turn up for egg inspection. The museum could alleviate its financial problems by setting up a shop targeting these wets. Selling them such items as a post-card written by Boadicea, a corkscrew owned by Oliver Cromwell and such-like easily manufactured items would be a cinch. For such a project they should employ a defrocked Catholic priest for which there’s a steady supply emerging from our prisons.

The Catholics are the experts at this pilgrim-attracting lark, with their weeping virgins and relics of the Holy Cross which in number have been estimated to equate to a small forest. Defrocked priests are the obvious solution to the museum’s financial difficulties so they should get on to it pronto.

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