News Update 30 June 2011

Registration is now open for the 10th National Digital Forum (NDF) conference at Te Papa in November, and the first international keynote speaker has been confirmed. If you’re quick, you could register online before the end of the June financial year. Visit the NDF website for details here.

This month, Christchurch continues to struggle to find a ‘new normal’ as continuing aftershocks make people feel they’re going one step forward, two steps back. The recent announcment of residential ‘red zones’ seems to be causing even more uncertainty while insurance and logistics are worked out. There have been useful discussions amongst culture and heritage organisations, and we hope that there will be some progress for museums and galleries there soon.

In New Plymouth, Minister the Hon Christopher Finlayson has announced $4million towards the planned Len Lye Centre from the Regional Museums Fund, adding to other pledged support. Patterson Architects are appointed and more information and an image of the proposed centre can be found here.

Further north, the Whangarei Art Museum is closing its doors on the 4th of July, 15 years after its opening in the former Plunket Rooms in the Rose Garden at Cafler Park. They will spend the next two months packing and moving to exciting new preimses in The Hub in the Town Basin, where the art museum will reopen on the 13th of September.

The Kauri Museum has just launched a series of three video movies on the kauri industry which are now on permanent show the Museum in Matakohe. The Speaker, Rt Hon Lockwood Smith, made a keynote address at a ‘premiere’, citing the movies as a vital educational resource. The videos on DVD are the work of Kiwi film-maker Tom Williamson, who has sourced rare film footage from searches in the national archives, Alexander Turnbull Library and National Film Unit, and include interviews with survivors who worked during the last days of the tree felling, and with people involved in restoring the damage today. Kauri – The Timber tells of how the huge trees were felled in the bush and transported to the sawmills; Kauri – The Gum relates how the swamps were worked and the product was collected and sold, while Kauri – Heart of the Forest, Soul of a Nation, tells how attitudes changed from ruthless timber extraction to total protection.


Derek Hope (Chairman), Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith, Betty Nelley (Curator)
and Tom Williamson (Film Producer) at The Kauri Museum DVD launch.

Looking overseas, the British Museum has won the UK’s biggest museum sector prize, the £100,000 Art Fund Prize. The winning project is its ambitious and far-reaching ‘A History of the World’ project which examines 100 collection objects chronologically presented via the internet, radio broadcasts and a book, developed in partnership with the BBC and a huge number of other contributors. Michael Portillo, who chaired the judges, said: “We were particularly impressed by the truly global scope of the British Museum’s project, which combined intellectual rigour and open heartedness, and went far beyond the boundaries of the museum’s walls. Above all, we felt that this project, which showed a truly pioneering use of digital media, has led the way for museums to interact with their audiences in new and different ways. Without changing the core of the British Museum’s purpose, people have and are continuing to engage with objects in an innovative way as a consequence of this project.” Radio NZ National has been broadcasting four 15-minute segments each week after The Arts on Sunday, and you can visit the BM website here to listen to the broadcasts, view the objects and read more information.

Last week we saw extraordinary media images of Vancouver erupting in riots after the loss of an ice hockey match. Now the Museum of Vancouver is planning to collect and document, if not keep, all the plywood panels that have boarded up the broken windows – they have become a ‘citizen wall’, a kind of instant message board covered in graffiti and messages about the riots, a place for anonymous expressions of remorse, solidarity and pride in the city. See news reports here and here. I wonder if what would happen in NZ if we lost the rugby world cup final to Australia – and how would our museums respond?

Nga mihi,
Phillipa


Aratoi Museum of Art & History Friends’ Residency

The Friends of Aratoi – Wairarapa Museum of Art and History are sponsoring a new residency at Wairarapa’s New Pacific Studio, Kaiparoro Historic House, RD 1, Mount Bruce, Masterton, New Zealand. The residency is of one to four week’s duration and worth $NZ1000. It enables NZ visual artists, writers or historians the opportunity to live in a tranquil yet stimulating rural environment with many facilities – such as broadband, an excellent library and a well-appointed kitchen plus private and very well-appointed studio/study spaces where their creativity can thrive and their projects can be worked on. Applications should be received by NPS by the end of August, 2011, and the residency is available to be taken up between December 2011 and May 2012. For further information consult www.newpacificstudio.org


Centenary of the First World War

We are fast approaching the major milestones of the centenary of the First World War: August, 2014 sees the centenary of the outbreak of the World War I, and April, 2015 the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Over the next few years many organisations will be busy planning and executing an ambitious programme to mark these dates, and the many centenary observances that will occur, through to the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, in November 2018.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage has embarked on a government-led initiative to coordinate and inspire cooperation within the GLAMs and education sectors. At their suggestion and in consultation with Te Papa, Auckland War memorial Museum will host a day-long workshop, brainstorm and symposium on Centenary Planning, to be held on 21 July 2011. This will be a chance to share what your institution is thinking about during these crucial early planning stages, to hear what your colleagues are doing and to perhaps inspire partnerships and shared resources to create a worthwhile programme for all New Zealanders. We will also have some guest speakers to share what is being planned on a national and international level.

Further opportunities for discussion and planning will be arranged later in the year. Please contact Russell Briggs, Director of Exhibitions and Programmes, at rbriggs@aucklandmuseum.com or ring him on 09 302 3992 if you are interested.


PSA Banner competition

The Museum of Wellington City and Sea is working with the Public Service Association to manage a national competition for artists, designers and makers to submit entries for a new banner to mark the PSA’s Centenary in 2013. There is a prize of up to $15,000. The Museum will be touring the winning entries in 2013 and welcomes enquires.

For details and entry forms for the contest: http://psa.org.nz/Centenary.aspx
For exhibition and touring details: paul.thompson@wmt.org.nz

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