Te Papa has announced this week that they will be putting part of their national collection online for free download.
30,000 high-quality, high-resolution images are now available for free download and reuse from Te Papa's Collections Online website.
The collection is fascinating; one of my favorite things is this sturdy woolen three-piece Castaway suit. Made in New Zealand from a very hefty woolen (possibly Harris Tweed).
I love the fact that it was a three piece, almost as mad as Robert Falcon Scott taking his dinner jacket to Antarctica. Apparently the garish design was to deter looters pillaging the supplies.
Robert Falla, director of the Dominion Museum in 1947, brought it back to New Zealand from an abandoned relief depot on the Snares Islands.
The Snares lie southeast of New Zealand and were one of several sub Antarctic islands that once housed relief depots. Each relief depot was placed on the Great Circle shipping route, the path often used in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to sail from Australia to Europe.
Crews were sometimes shipwrecked and stranded on cold, uninviting southern islands for months waiting rescue; there was no GPS or Sat Nav in those days so the depots held guns for hunting, food, blankets, and clothing, and were places of hope in times of trouble.
Eventually radio communications improved and the Great Circle route and the relief depot service were abandoned in 1927.