WHAT’S UP MOFOOOOOOOOOOOOS
Ok, so, like probably everyone, I’ve been doomscrolling various social media feeds as a primary activity. It’s not great! But despite all the hot garbage everywhere, I managed to find a job, and now here I am, trying to find my blogging rhythm again. I don’t know how readable the post will be, but I’m opting to dig into a museum that was a very sweet visit for my little knitter’s heart.
This is the Wool Shed, and here you will learn about the wool industry and its history in New Zealand. Two old, authentic wool sheds are packed with sheep- and wool-related artifacts, as well as vaguely unsettling mannequins, yet another museum feature that is near and dear to my heart.
Sheep and sheep products used to be a seriously critical aspect of the New Zealand economy, and even today, there are 27 million sheep here–almost 6 sheep for every person.
The town of Masterton hosts The Golden Shears, an International Shearing and Wool Handling competition, which describes itself as “three days of non-stop action and entertainment,” a claim I have no reason to doubt. I had no idea it existed before I visited The Wool Shed, and it is now on my bucket list. Sure, you can see it on TV, but as the website says, “you can’t beat the excitement of being there to witness history being made and to soak up the lanolin infused atmosphere as the sweat drips off competitors brows.”
Footage of the competition is shown at the museum, and it is indeed a richly lanolin-infused atmosphere. I deeply regret not capturing on video the part where the announcer says a competitor is “having the shear of his life.”
I’m gonna go some day, mark my words.
But back to the museum!
The displays in the wool sheds show how the sheep were penned and various tools of the wool trade. Also, yes, that is an insane rat up there on that post. Having apparently just had a litter and munching on a weta.
But nevermind that! There are historic shears! Including this pair of left-handed ones, which as a lefty, I very much appreciate.
You’ll also read some history related to labor issues for shed workers:
As well as many examples of shed vocabulary and terminology.
As regular readers know, I also approve of interactive displays in museums, so I was of course very pleased to see this:
But maybe you’d rather familiarize yourself with some of the grimmer aspects of animal husbandry. No worries; the Wool Shed gotchu.
One room of the museum houses this old hut along with examples of historic machinery and old wool presses. In the hut, you can select the oral histories of several people involved in the wool trade…
…while simultaneously viewing more unsettling mannequins.
HAHA OK THEN SO WHAT ELSE IS THERE
Well how about some fiber education!
Any knitter will tell you, merino is some very nice stuff.
Suzy the feral sheep got her maiden shearing done at the museum by world record shearer Peter Casserly, losing about 15 kg of wool right before summer.
The museum also hosts spinning and weaving demonstrations and has a lovely collection of spinning wheels.
But sheep are not only good for wool, of course.
Finally, let’s have a look at some wool-related art, because this little place truly has it all.
Obligatory Lord of the Rings entry:
So there you have it! Wonderful museum, chock-full of information and artifacts, good-sized shop full of wool swag. Open all week, 10am-4pm, $10 for adults, $3 for children under 15, $20 for families (two adults & four children). Children under 5 are free. Of course, if you just wanna shop or see the Golden Shears Wall of Fame, those areas are free.