A photo album has a lot to say

Auckland Museum: Pou Maumahara

Pou Maumahara

Auckland War Memorial Museum's Pou Maumahara, the Memorial Discovery Centre, is a place for visitors to research and make personal discoveries about New Zealand servicemen and women. It is home to Auckland Museum's Online Cenotaph - visitors can explore the stories behind photos, diaries and military collections. At Click Suite we had the privilege of crafting three interactive experiences for the new space to highlight special stories and help show what Online Cenotaph can be used for.

Alice Mickle

As the wife of the local doctor, Mrs Alice Mickle knew many of the 'Birkenhead boys' who left for the First World War. She collected their photos and letters in an album, captioning each one with details about the individual’s service. Auckland Museum wanted to bring this artefact to life in the gallery with an interactive experience.

A Community's Experience of the War

The key to this interactive is understanding the community of Birkenhead. A map of Birkenhead shows where the men in Mickle's album lived. Students from Northcote College in Birkenhead researched and wrote biographies for the men, which allows the visitor to learn all about their pre-war life, their war outcomes, collection items, and get a sense of this tight-knit community's experience of the war.

The Results

With restraint and elegance, this interactive quietly delivers the emotional punch of so many young men going to war and so few returning - and how devastating it must have been for communities. It demonstrates how you can use Online Cenotaph to plot your own region's personal and emotional experience of the war.

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