Digitising Past Exhibitions for City Gallery Wellington

City Gallery Wellington has spent the past year reviewing their archives which contain ephemera and documents of the Gallery’s history. Our NZMS team in Wellington has digitised these documents which are now being uploaded to the City Gallery website. City Gallery has held many outstanding contemporary exhibitions throughout the decades which have helped push the cultural conversation within the Wellington arts community and for the national and international visitors that the Gallery draws in. The digitisation of these past exhibitions allows the conversations to live on and be available for people to access the ephemera, articles and documents that were published during the time of such prominent exhibitions.

“For the past year we have been working with New Zealand Micrographic Services to digitise our gallery’s analogue archive.Their expertise, patience and flexibility has been great.Our project is a big investment: to date we have digitised over 1000 images from our analogue archive dating back to 1980 as well as numerous bespoke books and pamphlets of our shows. Our archival materials are diverse, from an artist’s invitation sent out on a plank of wood to award winning Saatchi and Saatchi TV commercials from City Gallery Wellington exhibitions in the 1990s. NZMS guidance and problem solving has helped us at each step of the way.”  Megan Dunn, City Gallery Wellington Archive Project

The diverse material we scanned for City Gallery included: pamphlets, exhibition catalogues (which were actually small books), invitations and posters. We also digitised photographs of exhibitions in the form of varying sized prints, slides and medium format transparencies; we even digitised some audio and visual material. The Robert Mapplethorpe Retrospective Exhibition from 1995 has an interesting mix of digitised material, from exhibition advertisements and documents to TV coverage.

It was important to City Gallery to receive digital files of their material that were ready for uploading to their website without having to resize and format the raw data we had captured. The NZMS team provided digital files that were in a suitable format for publishing on their website, this meant compressing PDFs with specific cropping layouts.
A number of the pamphlets were of unique size and design so each had to be carefully considered on how it was digitised and presented in PDF format to reflect how the original document has designed to be read. We also provided post capture adjustments to old slide photographs by eliminating colour casts and dust to provide the clearest digital reproduction of the material. By digitising this otherwise unseen material the Gallery can further provide a platform for display and discussion for researchers, artists and the creative minds of the people who visit the Gallery.

As Gallery Director, Elizabeth Caldwell says, “Art nourishes our souls. It has magical properties. It uplifts and transports our spirits. It fires our imaginations, sparking new ways to see the world and to think about how we occupy it.”  

NZMS are proud to be involved with such important cultural collections of past exhibitions from one of our leading Galleries in the capital of New Zealand. To view some of the galleries past exhibitions please visit here.
The digitisation of City Gallery Archives is supported by the Lottery Grants Board. If your Gallery has documents and records from previous exhibitions that you would like to have easy access to, please get in touch with the NZMS team to discuss your own digitisation project.