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Duplicate clocks to be returned or re-homed

This page contains a news story about Clapham's Clocks Museum returning some pieces from its collection back to their original donors - or possibly finding other homes for them.
Updated: 13/08/2020 2:57 p.m.

​It is time for some of the Claphams Clocks to return home or to find new homes, and the museum is determined that the best thing will be done for them.

On the shelves in the museum and in storerooms behind and in another building, many, many very similar clocks have been whiling away the time, keeping each other good company.

Picture showing stacked shelves of similar mantlepiece clocks.

“It is good for our museum to have a wide range of clocks. We aim for a collection that represents the eras, styles, concepts, events, technologies, developments, science, culture and art of clocks and time pieces. Relevance is key – they must help to tell the story of time and mechanical timepieces, particularly those of innovative design or that demonstrate technological advancement. They must also be in good condition, and we must avoid duplication.

“Following these principles helps to provide a really good visitor experience, and to preserve historical items,” said Senior Museum Assistant Denise Scott.

“Having hundreds of examples of the same kind of clock on display, or tucked away on shelves in store rooms isn’t good for the museum, or the clocks.

“It would be much better for them, to be distributed around museums or public institutions in New Zealand, where they can be proudly displayed and looked after, or to be back with the families that donated them.

“We will be keeping a good collection of the kinds of clocks we are talking about – mainly oak or slate mantel clocks from the 19th and 20th century.

“Often these clocks have come to us when a family was clearing an estate. We will be contacting the donors if we have their names, but in many cases no records were kept, or people gave the clocks without leaving contact information. In some cases donors may have since died.

“Te Papa has advised us that the de-accessioning process we should follow is to offer them back to the people they came from first, then after that to offer them to other museums or institutions, and after that to sell them and use the funds to look after the rest of the collection.

Most importantly, I want all donors to know that we value their gifts, and we want them looked after going into the future.

Ms Scott said once the clocks had gone, the museum would be able to use the freed-up space to stage temporary exhibitions and reengage with our local community.




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