The National Army Museum is taking a sample of its collection on the road around New Zealand by turning three shipping containers into a travelling museum roadshow. The exhibition, called Heartlanders of WWI, will begin in October and is a special project for the WWI centenary commemorations.
The 20-foot containers, supplied and painted in the Army’s traditional “sand” colour by shipping container specialists Royal Wolf, have been fitted out inside by Ralph Davies of Cineart Productions Ltd with display cases and monitors to create a mobile exhibition space.
Major Mike Cavanagh says many New Zealanders don’t make it to the museum in Waiouru so they decided to hit the road.
“Instead of relying on the public coming to Waiouru we’re taking a collection of the display, which will include some of our most prized pieces, to all four corners of the country,” he says.
Major Cavanagh says containers were ideal for the job because they are portable, they can be modified for different uses, and they provide a strong, secure and weather tight solution for keeping the collection safe.
“We’re dealing with many fragile and very valuable artefacts and pieces so great care needs to be taken during transportation and when they are in situ – so really, containers were the only option and we can also load them onto the army vehicles and away we go.”
The plan is to transport the mobile museum to towns around the country and find an appropriate place to set up in liaison with the local council. With the long side of the container having the capability of opening up, it means the container becomes a giant display case with easy accessibility for the public. For more information about the exhibition go to www.armymuseum.co.nz.
The mobile museum is just one of the projects Royal Wolf has been involved in with the New Zealand Defence Force. It has also modified a 20 foot container into a Disaster Room, which is designed to be used as a secure base during a disaster situation, and most recently the company custom built a number of 10 foot refrigerated containers for use in the field.
Royal Wolf New Zealand’s Executive General Manager Paul Creighton says: “The museum roadshow is another great example of the innovative use of Royal Wolf containers”.