The virtual exhibition #mywaikatomuseum has become a physical exhibition at the Waikato Museum featuring personal treasures of the community.
Over Covid-19 lockdown, museums and art galleries were forced to close, so Waikato Museum tried to find another way to stay open.
Curator Nadia Gush says: "We were looking for ways to engage the people from home. So, we tried to find a topic that everyone can contribute to."
The virtual exhibition encouraged more than 60 people to upload photos of their personal treasures on social media under #mywaikatomuseum. For the new exhibition at Waikato Museum, Gush selected "a nice, tidy amount of about eight".
Associate Professor at Waikato University Mark Houlahan contributed one of the items.
"I chose a racing book from 1940. My dad was a horse racing fanatic and passed his passion on to me," he says.
For him, the book represents a part of New Zealand history, where horse races played a more important role and lots of people socialised at the events. This also relates to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Houlahan says he could have contributed other objects as well, but chose the race book because it was closer to his heart.
"When I am stressed, I go to the racecourse. I feel happy there, they relax me," he says.
Natasha Ryan submitted a pair of brass candelabras that was used by her mother's great-uncle to pass messages during World War I while he was posing as a travelling podiatrist in the Middle East.
She says she is very proud of the candelabras and their story.
"They are part of a story about the sacrifices my family made in a frightening and hard time.
"It reflects on us, where we were during lockdown and how minor our sacrifice of staying at home was compared to the war," Natasha says.
Museums live from personal, on-site experience, however #mywaikatomuseum builds a bridge between virtual and real exhibitions. The interactive project also encourages the community to get involved and participate in art and storytelling.
"The problem that we faced is that online, people were unrestricted. Someone said his personal treasure is a vintage car. But in real life we don't have enough space to exhibit big items like that on short notice as we plan our exhibitions two years in advance," Gush says.
So, in order to respond quickly and exhibit the items close to the start of the #mywaikatomuseum online initiative, the little gallery was made available.
The exhibition is free and runs daily until April 5, 10am to 5pm.