Archive for September, 2010

Retrobloggin’

This is the new public blog version of our regular updates to Museums Aotearoa members (which have just been retro-blogged back to July), and other useful tidbits of course, so there’ll be a few links in here which are to members restricted content, but hey, good time to join Museums Aotearoa?

News Update

Kia ora

Check out the latest batch of museum news that has been uploaded today, online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view). This is currently online as a downloadable PDF, index will follow shortly.

Another busy fortnight, and we’ve been out and about. Both Sophie and I visited Auckland privately, and squeezed in some museum visiting while we were there. I had a quick look at the Walters Prize exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, and visited the new home of the Wallace Arts Trust, the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre at Pah Homestead, where finalists in the 2010 Wallace Art Awards are on show until 3 October before travelling to TheNewDowse (opening 22 October). While we await the announcement of the Walters Prize on 8 October, interviews with the four finalists can be found online here and you can also vote for the ‘Peoples Choice’.

Last week I spent a very enjoyable 2 days in the Far North with the Northland Museums Association. Heritage Kaikohe hosted the meeting, and treated some 40 visitors to train rides as well as warm hospitality and a cosy fire. Serious discussion of museum strategies, national and local issues took up most of Friday, with a little time for local politics as well. The NMA is made up of a wide variety of museums, from the council-owned Whangarei Art Museum, to the independent Kauri Museum, and volunteer-run Hokianga Historical Society (Omapere). They span tourist areas such as Russell and country towns like Kaikohe.

It was sad to hear about Omapere having to move their collections into containers after the building they shared with the i-Site was declared unsafe, although Alexa tells me they have now been offered space at the local school. We wish Far North Regional Museum all the best as they negotiate their way forward as part of the Te Ahu complex, Shirley and friends at the Jack Morgan a successful opening and a well-deserved breather, and Mangawhai Museum success in raising funds to put a roof on top of their newly-built walls and floor. All in the NMA show great enterprise and enthusiasm. Best wishes also to Scott as Chair, Eileen as secretary, and Lynda for her work as out-going secretary. And a big thank-you to all the folk at Heritage Kaikohe for their hospitality, especially Ian, Heather and Trevor.

NMA members take the Heritage Kaikohe train, driven by Trevor Bedggood (photo: Don Hammond/Far North Regional Museum)

I have also been out and about as a ‘lay’ juror for the Wellington branch NZ Institute of Architecture Awards. I’ve seen some really inspiring spaces, both public and private. This has afforded a fascinating insight into how awards work from the selectors’ perspective – very timely as we begin work on growing the Museum Awards for 2011. Watch out for notice of criteria and entry opportunities before the end of the year.

With the school holidays now underway, many museums will be busy with holiday programmes and lots of families visiting. And Auckland is in the thick of its Heritage Festival, with lots of museums and galleries taking part. The festival runs from 18 September to 3 October, click here for details. Further south the biannual Otago Festival of the Arts is coming up 8-17 October, including theatre performances at Otago Settlers Museum and exhibitions at Dunedin Public Art Gallery as well as lots of other dance, theatre and music events. We hope you all have lots of visitors and lots of fun.

Nga mihi,

Phillipa and Sophie

PS – don’t forget to vote for your local mayor and council!

“No one can be forced to vote. However, it’s vitally important that those of us who can, make the effort to do so, even if it only goes so far as reading the voter’s guide that comes with your voting paper before deciding whose name to put a tick beside. If nothing else, to most people’s minds, anyone who chooses not to vote also loses their mandate to complain over the next three years when decisions are made which they do not agree with.”
(Race to be mayor springs into life, Bay of Plenty Times, 25 September 2010)

Ian Wards, Phillipa Tocker, Heather Ayrton and Ian Day at Heritage Kaikohe (photo: Don Hammond/Far North Regional Museum)

News Update

Kia ora

Check out the latest batch of museum news that has been uploaded today, online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view). This is a slim edition due our special ahead-of-schedule news last week (which now has an index online to view).

The media over the last week has shown us a roller coaster of images and news from Canterbury. We are all extremely relieved that no lives were lost and there was relatively little damage to museum and gallery collections. Serious damage will need to be dealt with at Kaiapoi Museum and the Logie Collection at Canterbury University, and many heritage buildings are damaged or still awaiting assessment. We also feel for all the private owners and collectors whose treasures have been lost.

However, major institutions such as Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Art Gallery and the Air Force Museum have come through almost unscathed. The art gallery staff are this week cleaning up after hosting civil defence HQ, in readiness for reopening to the public along with other Christchurch institutions such as Ballantynes.

There is a huge job to be done to repair and clean up across the affected region, not to mention the emotional and psychological healing that will be required. It is great to see groups such as NZ Conservators of Cultural Materials and NZ Institute of Architects stepping up and offering help, as well as the Canterbury Disaster Salvage team and many other individuals and organisations. National Services Te Paerangi has several useful links and contacts up on their website worth checking out. We wish everyone involved a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, the wheels of government continue to turn. We notice there have been significant changes made to the LEOTC funding model this year, and it will be interesting to see what this looks like for the museum sector in both the short and long term. The most obvious change is a move away from annual tender rounds based on specific ‘learning areas’ of the curriculum, allowing proposals for any learning area to be submitted. The other notable change appears to be a greater regional emphasis in the selection process. Also any new contracts entered into over the next two years will have an end date of June 2013 to bring all contracts into the same cycle and ” to pave the way for the new contracting environment”. There is information about these changes on the LEOTC website here, and the current tender document (number 30798) is available on the government electronic tendering service website here, for download.

And in Auckland the framework for the new Auckland City is now in place, ready for the new council to take up the reins following the October elections. The Board for Regional Facilities Auckland, the new ‘super-CCO’ group responsible for Auckland Art Gallery alongside the zoo and various stadia and events centres, has been announced, Appointees include Sir Don McKinnon as Chair, with Dame Jenny Gibbs as Deputy Chair. Regional Facilities Auckland is expected in future to also be responsible for the Auckland Museum and MOTAT, as well as Voyager Maritime Museum and others currently under the Auckland Regional Amenities Act, further details are available online here.

There have been Mayoral debates in several cities, and some interesting statements by candidates. So keep in touch with goings-on in local politics and make sure you vote for your local councillors who actively support arts, culture and heritage. Many candidates have profiles on the national election website or visit www.localgovt.co.nz for links to all local councils as well as news and other useful links.

Best wishes to all, especially our friends in Canterbury,

ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie

News Update

Kia ora koutou,

This is a follow up to yesterday’s notice, bringing you a special instalment of our regular news updates ahead of schedule. As our media monitoring service is now picking up some stories from Canterbury about earthquake damage, we are keen to keep you up to date.

The latest batch of news clippings has been uploaded onto our site, for you to download here. Remember you need to be logged in to view (see the instructions at the end of this email if you have trouble). There is no index for this batch yet, but we’ll put one up shortly.

We’re conscious of the fact that there are still lots of aftershocks (and new shocks) keeping people on edge, and we’ve even felt a few small ones here in Wellington today. It is an unnerving time, and we would like to reiterate our concern and support for our colleagues down south. We have also recieved the following letter of support from Museums Australia, which we would like to pass on, below:

On behalf of Museums Australia, our President (Dr Darryl McIntyre), the National Council and all colleagues in Australia, we wish to send an expression of general concern and support after the tragic effects of the earthquake in Christchurch at the weekend.

Messages have been criss-crossing between particular colleagues across the Tasman since Saturday. I was particularly relieved to see Jenny Harper’s message about the good condition of her gallery – that the McDougall seems to have withstood the earthquake safely. However we still await relays of news about other bodies and custodians of New Zealand’s heritage, and simply wish to express our heartfelt anxiety for the general welfare of all people affected by this natural disaster.

Please accept this general message as conveying our encompassing concern for you all in New Zealand/Aotearoa at this very stressful time, when such devastation and disruption has befallen our good friends and colleagues.

We think of you all keenly at this time.

Bernice Murphy
National Director
Museums Australia

You will have seen from the news coverage that there has been damage to many historic properties in the region, with demolition inevitable for some. This is obviously cause for much sadness, and now questions arise about what happens next. Check out this blog that’s sprung up, covering one resident’s perspective thus far: http://rebuildingchristchurch.wordpress.com/

Here’s another link to a comprehensive collection of pictures that is being pulled from multiple sources, giving an indication of the quake damage: http://www.crashbang.co.nz/quake040910/index.html

And here is yesterday’s blog post from Jenny Harper at Christchurch Art Gallery ‘Emergency HQ’:
http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/news/bulletin/2010/09/06/emergency-hq/

Also on the same blog is a post by Librarian Tim Jones, with a small but poignant observation from his library:
http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/news/bulletin/2010/09/06/library-unscathed/

Nga mihi nui,

Phillipa and Sophie

Best wishes to colleagues in Canterbury

Kia ora koutou,
Despite the shock of the Canterbury earthquake, we are very pleased that the damage to museums and collections appears to be very minor. We have been in touch with museum colleagues in the affected area today. While we have not been able to contact every museum, most that we have heard from say that their buildings are unscathed, and the larger institutions are almost unaffected – except that they will be closed for a few days and Christchurch Art Gallery has transformed into a Civil Defence centre. The same goes for collections – it seems that museums have been very good at securing their objects on display, using museum wax, fixed mounting techniques and other means which have minimised movement and damage.

Others have not faired so well. There has been some chimney damage at Okains Bay Museum and the Lyttelton Timeball Station. The Logie Collection of antiquities at Canterbury University has sustained significant damage. And our sympathies go to William Cottrell, whose Gunyah homestead near Mt Hutt was badly damaged when 6 chimneys fell through the roof, and some of the collection of colonial furniture smashed. Other historic homes and buildings have been badly damaged, some probably beyond repair, including Christchurch Repertory Theatre, Homebush and Ohinetahi homesteads. It has been reported that the Kaiapoi Museum has also suffered badly, but we have no further details.

If there is anyone wanting assistance, please do let us know. Staff at the larger museums have offered help and advice, and Museums Aotearoa can put you in touch with someone with suitable expertise.

We are extremely thankful that the earthquake happened at 4.30am when so few people were about to get in the path of falling facades and verandas in the inner city. Taken on a global scale, the people of Canterbury have got off very lightly. And it is a powerful reminder to us all to think again about our preparedness, both professionally and personally, for when the next earthquake strikes.

Kia kaha,

Phillipa and Sophie


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