It’s ironic that as the digital world threatens to do for the traditional world of books, it’s also helping museums overcome a frustrating limitation. Displaying books in vitrines has never been a very happy experience for curators or visitors with the option of what to show often cut back to a couple of pages. The display of letters has the same problem. A prime example was in the exhibition Answering Hark, McCahon/ Caselberg: Painter/Poet where much drama was in the letters. All those years hanging out to read some of McCahon’s writings and coming to a screaming halt at the end of page one. Last weekend, at the Auckland Art Gallery, we saw a smart – although oddly executed – solution to this problem. Above an album of Burton Brothers photographs (the Wonderland album) of the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886, hung a screen with a digital show of all the pictures in the album, one by one. The oddity was the way the screen was framed – matte, frame, the lot. You can maybe get the logic of putting a frame round a screen if you hang it on a gallery wall – it’s certainly done in homes as a domesticating device - but a matte? We’d understood mattes help to protect works on paper from the glazing, not a big issue with digital screens. It felt like titivation, particularly given the workmanlike presentation of the originals in album form. You can read more about the Burton Brothers Wonderland album on the Auckland Art Gallery blog here and here.