Newspaper Article – New history in making

New history in making

Digital archive well under way

The restoration of a historic building is going through cash “in a hell of a hurry” but more is on its way.

A $50,000 donation had been added to the funds available to transform Hastings’ Stoneycroft homestead into the Hawke’s Bay Digital Knowledge Bank, said the archive’s trust manager James Morgan.

The Eastern and Central Community Trust grant would be spent on the interior of the 1875-built homestead, on Omahu Rd, which is planned to re-open this spring as a digital archive where historic data, photographs and old film can be preserved and stored using modern technology.

A team of volunteers and qualified tradespeople have been working on restoring the interior of the building since the trust secured an 18-year lease of Stoneycroft from Hastings District Council last November.

“The job’s still ongoing but there’s been about $160,000 worth of work done since December. That’s good spending in a hell of a hurry,” Mr Morgan said.

“We are aiming to open for spring, which will allow time for the completion of the wallpapering and the redecorating, and the installation of the concealed cabling for the more sophisticated equipment to be used in the digitisation of information – which is the main objective of the knowledge bank,” he said.

Period wallpaper would be applied to the stripped-back walls in the coming weeks.

The council had recently built a new pergola and planted a new rose garden to be ready for the opening.

With fibre-optic cables laid to the property, cabling for the computers and equipment could be completed.

Project volunteer Grant Ancell said it was hoped Hawke’s Bay’s first story booth  – a sound-proof room where people could record oral histories – could also be funded and installed in time for the opening.

“The project is really getting to that exciting point where we are getting ready to jump into the preservation of history — which is what we care about,” he said.

Photo caption – Transforming: Hawke’s Bay Digital Archive Trust secretary-manager James Morgan (front) and project volunteer Grant Ancell in front of the new pergola and rose garden at Stoneycroft House, which is being converted into a modern digital archive.

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