Shaun Higgins

Shaun completed a Master of Arts in Anthropology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Museums and Cultural Heritage and is now curator pictorial at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Shaun Higgins

“I am curator pictorial at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. I oversee the photography and artwork that is part of the Museum’s Documentary Heritage collection area.

“My work involves dealing with everything from collection development to research and exhibitions.

“I enjoy researching early New Zealand photographic history as part of my job. Another enjoyable aspect of my work is interpretation and presentation of the collections to visiting groups and other researchers.

“The relationships I maintain as part of developing the collection involve establishing connections to photographers working now and in the past. Meeting families and helping interpret their documentary treasures is a wonderful privilege.

“Challenges such as digital collecting and maintaining a collection relevant to the people of Auckland today remain both a source of growth and excitement.

“One of the strongest skills I have applied in my work on numerous occasions is a strong regimen of evidence based research. I owe the development of these skills to my studies in Anthropology — planning research and learning a forensic approach to artefactual evidence known as microwear analysis.

“Similarly, my work in photography began while studying archaeology, applying a methodology of accurate recording to sites and finds. The application of a GIS framework and 3D modelling allowed for a further level of recording and spatial analysis.

“I’ve always been interested in history, culture and art and an Arts degree was a natural place to take this further. My primary interests divided into both a scientific and digital approach to archaeology alongside a love of art. After working abroad I returned and began working and studying in a museum context.

“Don’t underestimate the value of a multidisciplinary approach. Combining skills from multiple disciplines allows you to ask or answer questions that may not be possible in a single discipline.

“Be inquisitive and try to approach your work without the notion that it has all been done before.”


Find out more about studying Anthropology or Museums and Cultural Heritage