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Contemporary collecting – the act of collecting objects that help to illustrate a time, event or cultural phenomenon - is increasingly being practised using a variety of active techniques. And thanks to the rise of social media, reaching a range of groups is now easier than ever.

This type of rapid response collecting was employed over Covid to bring together a collection that touched on all aspects of the pandemic. Often during these events, major institutions will work collectively to gather objects that offer a window into that time from a variety of perspectives.

Those events that lie outside of national significance though contain important stories of the life and times of locals, are typically collected locally. One such example, is the closing of Tāmaki Makaurau’s iconic music venue the King’s Arms after 140 years in the business. In this case, toilet doors, dart trophies and band posters were acquired by Auckland Museum in an onsite auction that saw collection managers competing with nostalgic punters looking to souvenir something from this notable establishment.

Below is a small selection of recent acquisitions to demonstrate the breadth of objects that have been collected by our museums and galleries.

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