The current Reed Gallery exhibition showcases a Christmas-themed assortment of variegated works for all ages from the Heritage Collections. Simply entitled A Heritage Christmas, the exhibition not only includes Yuletide literary fare from the McNab New Zealand and Reed Collections, but also brings to light items from more esoteric corners of the Heritage Collections, such as the Ephemera and Troopships Collections, and the McNab and Reed Archives.

Timed to coincide with New Zealand’s festive season, A Heritage Christmas is an exhibition with an appropriately light-hearted flavour. Our smorgasbord of offerings includes a sample of visually stimulating Christmas annuals issued by New Zealand newspapers and periodicals including the Otago Daily Times & Witness, The Weekly News, and New Zealand Graphic.

Christmastide-themed women’s magazines, children’s stories, craft and cookery books also feature. Samples from a collection of Christmas cards collected by Library staff over several years are amongst the savoury victuals, along with a small collection of cards held in the McNab Archives, sent by Richard John Seddon to a lady on the Premier’s Christmas card list.

The McNab Troopships Collection is represented by special Christmas issues of soldiers’ wartime journals, some of which contain thoughtful musings about celebrating Christmas far from home in times of war.

Christmas-associated books from the Reed and Special Collections also feature, including editions of Dickensian Christmas stories, hymnological works, books by Benjamin and Eleanor Farjeon, plus an assortment of Christmas cards sent to A.H. Reed.

Certain Yuletide-themed works which defy classification and range from quirky to downright odd, feature as miscellaneous stocking-fillers.

Whilst celebrating Christmas via print and ephemera, the exhibition serves the additional purpose of highlighting the considerable breadth and diversity of the Dunedin Public Libraries’ Heritage Collections.