Memories of Main Street coming to Upper Hutt’s Mall

A pop-up museum devoted to Main Street and the many changes it has undergone since the late 19th century will be open to the public during Positive Aging Week from 24 – 27 September.

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 18 SEP 2014—Do you remember when part of Main Street used to be closed off as a pedestrian precinct? Do you remember when there was an elephant race held down Main Street back in the 1960s? Perhaps you can recall even further back when there used to be a horse watering trough outside Main Street’s Provincial Hotel?

As part of the Wellington region’s annual Heritage Month and the City Council’s Positive Ageing Week, the Upper Hutt City Library’s Heritage Collections will be creating a ‘pop-up museum’ devoted entirely to Main Street. Focusing on many changes the street has undergone since first being established as Upper Hutt’s commercial centre in the late 19th century, ‘Memories of Main Street’ will be set up as a temporary display of heritage photographs and will be open 10.00 am to 3.00 pm on the second floor of The Mall from Wednesday 24 September to Saturday 27 September.

The Library’s Community Heritage Co-ordinator, Reid Perkins explains that the aim of the pop-up museum is not just to celebrate the history of Main Street but also to collect local people’s memories about its businesses, personalities, and activities before they disappear.

“Lots of ordinary everyday information—such as what shop was where and when, or who used to work there and what they were like—has never been properly recorded. These kinds of stories and details that are still in people’s minds are very important to capture and preserve as part of our local history,” says Mr Perkins.

To this end people are being invited to come and share their own recollections of Main Street, which will be written down or digitally recorded by Library staff. There will also be a scanner present to make digital copies on site of any old photographs of Main Street people may wish to bring along.

As a way of promoting this event, the Library is also taking some of its heritage pictures out into Main Street itself. Dozens of individual site-specific posters have been created showing photographs of what a particular area or building on Main Street used to look like some time in the past. These posters are being offered to the businesses currently at that location to exhibit in their windows. According to Mr Perkins the idea here “is not just to show passers-by the many changes Main Street has gone through over the years but also to remind them of the vital contribution its shops and services have long made to our community.”

An image accompanies this media release:
MemoriesMainSt_100x130mm_300ppi.jpg: Michaela Jull and Lisa Hanning of MacDonald’s Upper Hutt hold up a poster showing St Hilda’s church from around when it was first built in 1910. For many years St Hilda’s occupied the site where McDonald’s is now, before it was moved to Cruickshank Road in 1979.