Rotorua Museum is looking for people with a passion for sewing to help with a special project to safeguard its unique collection of hanging garments.

The museum holds nearly 1000 hanging garments in its Social History collection, and needs volunteers with sewing skills to make padded coat hangers and clothing covers from inert materials dacron and tyvek.

The Social History collection is made up of 15,000 'everyday' objects, mainly from the 19th and 20th century - furniture, household appliances, tools, games, toys, kitchenware, and ceramics.

It also includes 2700 items of clothing, 900 of which are hanging. These are the items that require covers and hangers.


Rotorua Museum communications and events lead Jo Doherty says the padded hangers reduce damage to garments (as opposed to non-padded hangers).

She says hanging garments, rather than keeping them flat in boxes, means there is no long term damage caused by folds.

The covers protect the garments from dust primarily.

Jo says dacron and tyvek are inert, so they do not decompose or change chemically.

She says chemicals and off-gassing would damage the garments in the long term.

Guidance and materials will be provided.

Volunteers can choose to work alongside museum staff at the Rotorua Museum Offsite Store or from their home if they have a sewing machine.

She says people will be shown the covers and hangers, and how they are made. The covers require the use of a sewing machine and overlocker.

The hangers are hand sewn, so people could pick up the materials and make them at home if they wish, she says.

"It is a chance for people to help care for the museum collection, which is owned by the council on behalf of the community.

"They will get a chance to meet like-minded people and get to work alongside the museum's collection team in caring for the collection.

Those who want to know more can go along to Te Runanga Tea House on Tuesday August 1 at 10am for morning tea and more information.

Some of the volunteers already involved in this project will be on hand to show how easy it is to make a garment cover and give advice.

Rosemary Deane, collections curator - social history at Rotorua Museum, will be available to answer any questions about the project, the special garment collection and share some tips for keeping your own treasured garments safe at home.

If you have any questions about this event, or if you are interested in being part of this project but cannot make this event, contact or phone (07) 351 7823.