Archive for the 'News & Notices' Category

News Update 16 September, 2014

Kia ora

Do you read blogs?  They have been getting a bad rap from the ‘Dirty Politics’ and Whale Oil scandals of the last few weeks, and it’s true that some blogs are places for opinionated individuals to vent their ideas. Others are more balanced, and often very informative. Many museums and galleries have their own blogs in which staff can share insights into their collections and research which may otherwise not get into the public domain – a great way to extend reach and engagement.

The Museums Aotearoa blog has a wide range of voices from our membership. Last week Chanelle Carrick of Puke Ariki shared her experience of working with local artists. Other recent posts explored digital culture (Sarah Powell) and measuring our value (Kamaya Crawford). If you aren’t seeing these, it’s easy to get email notifications by clicking Follow on the blog page.

PLAYnes, a participatory installation by Home Work artist Olivier Perkins with Meg the Puke Ariki Megaladon (author’s image)

It is worth while checking out other local blogs too. A recent post for Artists Alliance is by Melissa Laing. In Negotiating Consent, Laing explores the implications of working with the public, either for research or for creating artwork, and there is much in her kōrero that is relevant to curating and exhibiting as well.

International museums opinions and news can be found everywhere. Thanks to Global Museum, we found this Huffington Post article by Paul Cantor, Why Museums Are Very Cool and Should Be Visited Often. Cantor acknowledges the easy access to museum collections and information via the internet, and explains why people can gain even more valuable experiences when they use that as a starting point for an in-person visit. He also explores the effect of the digital world on photography, drawing some interesting insights from an exhibition at the Met of Garry Winogrand’s photographs of American life from the 1950s to 1980s. He also notes that the Winogrand exhibition was not the trigger for his visit – “the beauty of going to a museum with no real plan is that you can wind up seeing things unexpectedly”.

Phar Lap, taxidermied in the USA after his untimely – and possibly accidental poisoning – death, is a popular display at the Melbourne Museum. The people of Melbourne acknowledge his NZ birth and embrace him as one of the greatest Australian racehorses, with school groups and tourist flocking to admire the legend on a Monday afternoon. (Phillipa is in Melbourne meeting with Museums Australia, courtesy of Tourism NZ.)

Another online item that was referred to us recently (thanks Andrew Clifford!) is a report on online magazine Ocula. While not strictly a blog, this is another online opinion source to which anyone can freely subscribe. In China Museum Tour: the Highlights, Sophia McKinnon, offers an overview of visiting 20 Chinese museums in 20 days. Kiwi-born, Beijing-based Sophia describes a museum sector very different from our own – in which architecture = prestige, ‘contemporary art’ has quite a different meaning, and both public and private museums require state approval to exist.
It makes you think!

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 2 September, 2014

Kia ora

As well as electioneering and dirty politics, there has been some interesting news coverage about the power of art and culture – to enrich, to heal and to celebrate. Auckland Museum played a symbolic role in the Tuhoe Treaty of Waitangi settlement, with the return of the Maungapōhatu flag taking centre stage at the recent ceremony in Taneatua. Christchurch Art Gallery once again gained the spotlight with its activity in the wider community through public art.  In Dunedin, DPAG hosted the launch of a creative strategy for the city, Ara Toi Otepoti: Our Creative Future.

Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare is in the online news with an article for Museum iD exploring the implications of digital engagement and audience expectations. MA also made the news, along with museum colleagues, in a Listener article looking into the issues behind the recent controversy over MTG Hawke’s Bay.

The MA Board has finalised our new Strategic Plan that we work-shopped last month. There are now agreed strategies and actions under the revised mission statement. You can read more on our website.

On the national scene, some things change, and others stay the same. Creative NZ has released the report of its recent review of Visual and Craft/Object art, which confirms some existing arrangements and offers some increased grant limits but no radical change. Heritage New Zealand, formerly NZ Historic Places Trust, has released its new Statement of Intent 2014-2018 and Performance Expectations 2014-2015 with its new look, which looks much like business as usual within tight budget constraints.

Coming events you might want to be part of include Ask a curator day on 17 September, and this is Tongan language week.

And one more opportunity – MA is supporting the National Digital Forum 2014 by offering a registration bursary. Applications are due 30 September, for details see Opportunities below.

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 19 August 2014

The Museums Aotearoa Board met in Wellington earlier this month. As well as the usual business meeting, we had a strategic planning workshop, and agreed a revised mission statement:

Our mission is to nurture excellence in museums and galleries through advocacy and service, to extend manaakitanga and community value.

Our Board members are very positive about both the thinking that went into articulating this statement, and the strategies that will unfold from it. We will be sharing more of this with members, and inviting your input, at the regional meetings to be held around the country in October and November.

MA15-Final-Logo_pms145_yellow_portrait_webLast week we mailed out a call for proposals for the MA15 conference - Communicating Culture - along with the August issue of Museums Aotearoa Quarterly. Our Dunedin colleagues are planning an inspiring conference with great ideas and enthusiasm. So plan to be there 6-8 May 2015, and think about what you can bring to share and help make it a really active conference. And look out for the first keynote speaker announcement very soon.

As we begin to see some signs of spring chasing away the winter, there are many other activities and events on the calendar. We’re beginning to get ready for a new sector survey to update the last one which was 2 years ago. We’ve been gathering feedback and will be tweaking the questions and improving the methodology so its easier for museums and galleries to contribute their information.

Another piece of research which will be useful for museums is being done by the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG). They have just begun a performance study looking into governance of arts, culture and heritage sector. The OAG says that agencies in the arts, culture, and heritage sector need to have good governance and accountability arrangements that maintain the freedom of artistic expression and ensure that the preservation of heritage is not unduly influenced by personal interests. They will examine the governance and accountability policies and practices of a selection of local and central government agencies, looking at the policies they have to manage personal interests. They will also assess and report on how agencies in the sector are accountable to the public, and will compare arrangements in New Zealand with those in other jurisdictions. This will be a useful complement to the 2006 OAG report Management of heritage collections in local museums and art galleries.

City Gallery Wellington's Memory Board

City Gallery Wellington’s Memory Board

There has been plenty of good news about museums and galleries around the country recently. Last week the City Gallery Wellington celebrated 21 years since it opened in the old library building in Civic Square – with Gerda Nana and Philip Robertson on the staff all that time. And next week Puke Ariki will open a new long-term exhibition, Big Time, which opens up current issues around oil and gas in Taranaki, including drilling under the mountain, and fracking.

Auckland has been named the world’s Friendliest City by Condé Nast Traveller, noting its “amazing culture” with special recommendation of Auckland Museum and its Maori collections and cultural performances. That seems reasonable to us, even if it was a tie with Melbourne – noted for nightlife, food and hotels.

The Air Force Museum and Canterbury Museum are finalists in the Canterbury Business Awards, sharing spots in the Tourism/Hospitality (medium/large enterprise) category along with Tekapo’s Earth & Sky. Congratulations to both museums - the awards will be announced on 17 September.

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

Pānui, 8 Hūrae 2014

Kia ora,

Ko tēnei te wiki o te Reo Māori. Whakanuia te reo e tātou mā/ Let’s together celebrate Te Reo Māori.

We’ve heard about lots of exciting activities and events celebrating te reo and Māori culture more broadly through waiata, kapa haka, korero and ngā whakaaturanga. Check out City Gallery Wellington’s Toi Te Reo late night of activities, and the Dunedin City Council waiata group performing at Toitū today. We’re following Te Kupu o te Wiki – the word of the week – and Te Wiki o te reo Māori on Facebook. We’re also enjoying some informal te reo lessons with Wellington colleagues – kapai! For online resources see Te Kete Ipurangi (NZ Curriculum online) and 100 Maori words every New Zealander should know, complete with sound files for pronunciation.

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We loved the photos from Waipu Museum’s recent Art’n’Tartan wearable art awards – there are some on the website and a whole gallery by the photographer.

In the UK, the #museumcuts (check this on Twitter) continue to bite. According to the UK Museums Journal and a report by the Prospect union, sponsors are reducing support, councils are slashing opening hours, and yet another council is planning to sell a high-value collection object. Northampton Borough Council has been sanctioned by the UK Museums Association for putting the ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka up for sale with an estimate of £4-6m, and a Save Sekhemka Action Group sprang up. The 10 July Christies sale was challenged by the Egyptian government, but went ahead and Sekhemka fetched nearly £16m. The fallout has been intense, with donors quoted saying they will never again gift objects to the museum.

Back home, we’re all gearing up for the centenary of the start of WW1, which NZ joined on 5 August 1914. Auckland Museum has a series of exhibitions and events, including a re-enactment of the New Zealand Governor, Lord Liverpool, reading a telegram from King George V to a crowd of 15,000 people gathered at Parliament. The telegram expressed the King’s appreciation for the solidarity of his overseas dominions after Britain declared war on Germany – to which Lord Liverpool responded with NZ’s commitment to make any sacrifice necessary, officially entering us into the war alongside Britain.

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 8 July, 2014

Kia Ora,

Our MA15 conference planning team in Dunedin are putting together an exciting programme on the theme of Communicating Culture. On a visit to Dunedin last week Phillipa visited hosts Otago Museum, and met with the folk from the other museums and galleries who are contributing to the programme. Look out for more information, a call for proposals, events at Toitū and Dunedin Public Art Gallery, visits and tours – complete with powhiri, bagpipes and southern hospitality. We have penciled in 6-8 May 2015, although this may change depending on the availability of our keynote speaker(s).

Matariki-1

Congratulations to Olveston for topping the NZ list of Landmarks in the 2014 tripadvisor.com Traveller’s Choice Awards. Awarded on the basis of visitor reviews on the Tripadvisor website, with a 97% satisfaction level (the highest in the country), Olveston has been ranked #1 in the top 10 list. Olveston is also ranked #5 in the Top 25 list of South Pacific Landmarks, the only NZ entity included in the list (tipped by Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge). The very favourable media coverage of the award in print, online, tv and radio, has resulted in great exposure for the house. For the complete lists, visit http://www.tripadvisor.co.nz or read Dunedin landmark beats out Sky Tower.

Looking at the last two weeks media reports, we wish we could have gone to all the wonderful and imaginative Matariki events around the country. Now there’s a new raft or offerings for the school holidays – we hope they’re well-attended and appreciated. We’re also seeing a growing number of WW1 events and exhibitions as the centenary gets closer. Many museums are researching local WW1 stories, and the National Army Museum has enlisted Sir Peter Jackson’s expertise to plan its Western Front battlefield experience. We recommend the resources on the official MCH WW100 website, where its easy to list your museum and gallery projects and events.

Local politics continues to have a direct effect on museums and galleries. In Whangarei, the council has decided to can the controversial Hundertwasser Art Centre project despite the funding threshhold being met, and in Oamaru, the council is to investigate merging the Forrester Gallery and North Otago Museum on the Forrester site. MTG Hawke’s Bay is still in the news over budget and visitation. We’re currently doing some research on museum and gallery governance, to see if there are structures and patterns which we can analyse and learn from so that museums can be better positioned to survive and thrive in their own local contexts. This research will feed into our next sector survey later this year.

And if you’re in Wellington we can personally recommend the City Gallery’s current exhibition Seung Yul Oh: MOAMOA, A Decade. As well as interactive inflatable objects and large fibreglass birds that rock and chime (Oddooki, commissioned by Te Papa 2008), there’s The Ability to Blow Themselves Up. Check out the City Gallery staff practising in this online video.

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa and Talei

 

News Update, 24 June 2014

Kia ora

Congratulations to the Air Force Museum and Rotorua Museum. The Air Force Museum’s new wing was one of 64 finalists in 10 categories at the 2014 Property Industry Awards. They earned an award of excellence and won best in category for tourism and leisure property. The judging process involved inspections and assessments that considered all aspects of each project from the design and construction phase, the innovation and vision evident through to the financial performance, user satisfaction and environmental impact and seismic rating of the completed development – a deserved recognition for both the museum and architects Warren and Mahoney.

Rotorua Minecraft

MINECRAFT MASTERMIND: Alex Pace (right) with his Minecraft creation of the Rotorua Museum. He is pictured with brother Nathan. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Rotorua Museum has added to its success in the NZ Museum Awards with another four awards in the past year: Best Direct Marketing Campaign with The Edge in the national radio awards for last year’s same-sex wedding promotion; Hospitality Excellence Award in the Rotorua Business Excellence Awards; a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award; and their 80-strong team of volunteer guides were runners-up in the 2013 Trustpower Spirit of Rotorua Community Award. They have also been in the news for a minecraft replica.

The news lately has had a lot about museums. As well as the good news – such as capital grants totaling $4.1m to museums in Akaroa, Chatham Islands and Waitangi – there has been criticism of Te Papa and MTG Hawke’s Bay. In the case of MTG, it stems from a report commissioned by the Napier City Council, which was to investigate “the level of present revenue and expenditure performance” and “unexpected results from the redevelopment, especially insufficient storage…” The Independent Review attempts to benchmark MTG’s performance, and propose ‘rescue remedies’, Being commissioned by council, it does not address the expectation gap between the previous council’s plans of 3+ years ago, and the new council’s current agenda. However, the council is ‘looking forward to a positive future for MTG Hawke’s Bay’, so as long as they don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and the media don’t do too much damage to their public reputation, we’re hopeful that will be the case.

One of the consultants who had worked on the McDermott Miller review of MTG Hawke’s Bay was Michael Volkerling. Known to many in the museum and gallery world in his past roles at the Arts Council, the Museum of New Zealand project, as well as his academic and cultural policy work, Michael had attended our MA14 conference in Napier. Sadly, Michael passed away unexpectedly earlier this month at his home in Sydney. A service was held for him at Wellington’s Old St Paul’s today, where he was remembered fondly by his family, friends and colleagues.

Police Museum Director Rowan Carroll in their new armoury

Police Museum Director Rowan Carroll in their new armoury

This a quieter time of year for us here at MA, so last Friday afternoon we got out of the office for some visits. We took a quick look at the excellent exhibitions on at Pataka (we particularly enjoyed Fiona Pardington’s EREWHON: Left for Dead in The Field of Dreams) and then carried on to the Police Museum to check out their new storage. This project has carved all sorts of useful space out of a rather inflexible building and brought their facilities up to environmentally acceptable standard. On our way back in to town we also stopped in at NZ Micrographics and got a full tour of the fascinating giant scanners and cool things they do – give them a call if you’re in the area.

Andy Fenton and Sheryl Sporle-Fahey showing Phillipa Tocker and Lillian Bayly-McCredie around NZMS

Andy Fenton and Sheryl Sporle-Fahey showing Phillipa Tocker and Lillian Bayly-McCredie around NZMS

A Washington Post Blog reported last week that there are more museums in the US than there are McDonalds and Starbucks combined. We ran the stats and discovered the same is true here. In fact there are more museums (c450) in New Zealand than there are McDonalds, Starbucks, KFCs and Burger Kings combined (332) – fast culture, not fast food!

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa and Talei

 

News Update 12 June, 2014

Having just come back from Australia, I have been thinking about New Zealand museums and galleries in relation to international issues. It seems that there are some common threads, especially the focus on ethics and standards, and communicating the various forms of ‘value’ that museums and galleries contribute – cultural, creative, economic, amenity, social, educational etc.

At MA14, Auckland Museum presented research they have undertaken with Auckland Council to measure the Social Return On Investment (SROI) for the Moana – My Ocean exhibition. This paper has now been peer reviewed and published, showing a dollar value for SROI.  We expect to have videos of the MA14 keynote speakers, including Ganesh Nana’s exploration of economic and other ‘value’ on our website next week.

In Australia there has recently been publicity about dubious provenance of items acquired by museums. The National Gallery of Australia is embroiled in an international legal battle after it was found that an item it had bought from a New York based dealer Art of the Past was in fact stolen. It has subsequently come out that the NGA bought several million dollars worth of items from this dealer, as did other major museums internationally. A meeting of the four peak museum sector organisations in Australia has issued a joint statement on ethics in collecting to highlight the importance of due diligence and maintaining the highest possible ethical standards.

In China, the museum-building spree is running into problems with fakes. According to state media, 299 new establishments registered last year, but fakes are said to be rife in its antiques market. Police shut down the Lucheng museum, in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, after finding almost a third of the 8,000 items on display were not genuine. Counterfeits on show included a sword touted as dating from the Qing Dynasty and worth 120 million yuan (£11m), the report said.

The local news has been mixed, with the struggling Katikati Museum closing, and minimal damage from a potentially disastrous fire at Waikato Museum. Coincidentally, we had a fire evacuation drill at the MA office this week.  When did you last have a fire drill? Do you hold them regularly?

Kiwi North has secured $370k from Lotteries towards its $700k stage 2 development, Lopdell House is on track to open later this year as Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, and in Ashburton locals have flocked to an open day to in the new museum and art gallery building ahead of fitout for opening later this year.

Curator Tryphena Cracknell at a floor talk for Momo Kauae: Moko Kauae in Contemporary Art

More good news stories include kuia featuring in exhibitions at Aratoi (Kuia: Kiri Riwai-Couch) and HCAG (Momo Kauae: Moko Kauae in Contemporary Art), the Sarjeant Gallery reopening in its temporary premises on Sarjeant on the Quay, and the new extension at Tairawhiti Museum has opened.

Creative New Zealand is consulting on a review of its support for visual and craft/object art, with responses due on Wednesday 25 June.  This is an important opportunity to have a say on the structure which affects how funding is distributed, and how.  A number of museum and gallery professionals took part int he focus groups whcih preceded the darfts reports which are now out for response. MA will be making a response, and we encourgae all who have an interest in Creative NZ’s craft/objecta dn visual art forms to read them and respond.  If you want to feed into MA’s response, please let us know by Friday 20 June.

And a reminder that ICOM New Zealand is calling for abstracts for the Pacific Connections conference in Auckland, 22-23 September 2014, which will focus on Pacific museum collections and research. Abstracts are due on 16 June 2014. Proposals for the 2014 National Digital Forum are also due on 16 June.

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa and Talei


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