Campaign to Save Nelson’s $20m Museum Collection

Nelson Provincial Museum cares for over 200,000 taonga, irreplaceable and treasured objects valued at over $20 million. These items are at risk of being damaged or destroyed if we don’t re-home them soon. The plan is to build a facility to secure the collection for future generations. To do this, a significant fundraising campaign is being undertaken.

We started with a deep dive to understand the need, the stakeholders, the Museum brand and culture, the mindset of people who are likely to support this project and how they would like to be communicated with. We distilled thousands of data points into a simple but compelling strategy. 

The fundraising campaign required a slogan that had an emotional hook and invited potential donors to action. So, we came up with ‘Give Our History A Home’ This line was carefully crafted to make it clear what we want supporters to do – ‘Give’. We also want supporters to see the collection as theirs and that it represents the history of all the people of this region – ‘Our history’. We finished with an emotional hook by calling this place ‘A Home’, a safe place, a secure place for our treasures.

mockups of stationery

The working title for the new facility is the Archive so we created a sub-brand that took the work Archive and spilt it in two. This brought deeper layers of meaning to the name. The ‘Arc’ is a nod to Noah’s Ark that was used to save the animals from the flood. The second word is ‘hive’ a protective place for people to be highly productive.

The real stars of this project were the items themselves, and we wanted to present them in the best light possible. To do this we collaborated with photographer Dan Allan—who captured each item with dramatic effect—to create a range of images that became the heroes of the campaign.

We worked with the Museum’s talented inhouse team to produce several fundraising tools, such as an Investment Prospectus, Posters, social media assets and merchandise.

Creating an emotional connection was extremely important to get supporters engaged and connected to the project. Clear communication was important to ensure the message was received without any confusion. Presenting the treasures in a new way was important to make supporters see the collection in a new light and to make them aware of what we stand to lose if we don’t get on board and help with this project.