Mall Rats

Contemporary museums are often being told to be more like shopping malls, so we thought we’d take this idea to it’s natural conclusion, and relocate to the Westfield Queensgate.

Well, only for a day. Next Tuesday 24th September, from 10am – 5pm, I’ll be down at the mall manning an off-site Petone Settlers Museum booth. We’ll showcase a special competition to tell us about the ten mysterious collection items on display.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ve certainly been down in the store a bit lately, pondering over what really makes an object mysterious.


These tell a story, but I’m not sure just how mysterious they really are?


I pondered including these, but they took up such a lot of space in the display case! I did think they’d bring a bit of pomp and ceremony to the occasion though.


This object has always fascinated me. It’s a little too fragile to take to the mall, but it evokes some powerful narratives.


The astute reader could surely figure this object out?


I suspect some readers below a certain age might not know what these are.


I have probably made this mysterious object even more mysterious through bad photography?

So – a bit of work to do, anyway. But if you think you know what the mysterious objects shown in this post are, email me on The first correct email wins a copy of Warwick Johnston’s book The Gear: A History of the Gear Meat Preserving & Freezing Company. It’s better than a meat pack!

And those of you who live nearby, we hope to see you next Tuesday down at the mall.

Emma Bugden

Senior Curator

7 thoughts on “Mall Rats

  1. I am going to try…1.Handcuffs, 2.a Mayoral ‘chain’ for official occasions, 3. a seal stamp, original vinyl record, 5. a shoemakers’ last. Not sure about no.2 though, it could be for the leader of a pipe band too. Very cool! Regards, Clementine Cuppen.

    • Oooooh, so close Clementine! There are actually six objects in total, and you have four of them totally right! (Handcuffs, Mayoral chain, vinyl records and a shoemakers last). But I can’t send you the prize until you get the other two… here’s a clue: they’re both useful if you’re hungry.
      Cheers, Emma

      • Ha yes! I missed the WW2 coupon booklet which is really no.2. And upon closer scrutiny, I think maybe the next one under it is a biscuit stamp for Superwine biscuits. Superwine Biscuits were one of my favorites when I first came to New Zealand and again when my children were little because they could decorate them with icing and sprinkles. How am I doing Emma?

  2. 1, hand cuffs, 2. Mayoral chain, 3.Food coupons book, 4. Super wine biscuit stamp, 5.Vinyl record and 6. Shoe makers last. All items I would love to see! That was fun 🙂

  3. I have a conceptual piece Circa 1999 entitled “Hats”… it involves the New world super market, the City Gallery and the nearest Church… Of a 3 week period each institution allows a visit from one of the others… so we have art in the aisles, consumer goods in other aisles and … this has real reflections of your mall visit…

    Barry Thomas

  4. Thanks everybody for all the emails and comments! Emails were coming thick and furious but Renee is the winner by a nose, and we have decided that Clementine wins a book as well. Hope to see some of you at the mall today.

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