Archive for October, 2010

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).

In the last fortnight the media – and the general public – have continued to examine the pros, cons and implications of Te Papa’s conditional invitation to regional museum staff to a collection store tour. After the initial ill-informed knee-jerk responses, it was good to see some more considered and thoughtful pieces appearing in the news. Clearly there are serious issues for any cultural institution to consider, including the rights of donors and original makers, public access, culturally specific expectations, minority viewpoints and changing social attitudes. These are questions which every museum and gallery needs to address from its own perspective, and even though there may be no ‘right’ answers, it is useful to examine and debate them from time to time.

Linking data, linking people was the theme for the very successful and inspiring National Digital Forum conference held at Te Papa last week. It was great to see so many museum and gallery colleagues from around the country there, with lots of opportunities for catching up as well as some really terrific presentations. The general atmosphere was upbeat – I heard less of ‘we’d love to do all this if we had funding/permission/time/skills’, and more of ‘we could give that a go’. There was also a reassuring acknowledgement that digital is not different or extra, but intrinsic to all that we do – working methods, personal communication, means of information gathering – as well as being part of the business of museums, galleries, libraries and archives. As Nick Poole tweeted, “we have to stop regarding technology as the achievement”.

We’ll let you know when conference presentations are up online. Meanwhile you can see the official conference Twitter feed from @ndf2010 here, and if you’re really keen there is an archived version of all the #ndf2010 Twitter activity. It was also a milestone for the NDF to be registered as an Incorporated Society on 18 October – opening the way for more independent activity as a legal entity. The new Board will be meeting soon to begin planning various initiatives including next year’s 10th NDF conference.

A couple of weeks earlier Museums Australia held their conference Interesting times in Melbourne. I’ve spoken to several people who were able to attend, and by all accounts it too had lots of good ideas and opportunities. Australian Regan Forrest has written several blog posts here. This year’s Museums Australia Multimedia & Publication Design Awards (MAPDA) awards were announced during the conference in Melbourne. Once again NZ galleries were prominent – congratulations to category winners Christchurch Art Gallery (‘The Vault’ exhibition catalogue) and Dunedin Public Art Gallery (‘Beloved’ book and invitation, also highly commended for ‘Log’ magazine).

And while in Australian mode, check out the recently revamped website of the National Museum of Australia here, a rich source for all kinds of content.

Back in the office, we’ll be sending out a notice about our own MA11 conference soon. We have 3 international keynote speakers to announce, taking various views on the collections theme. Make sure you plan to be in Nelson 13-15 April 2011, and watch this space!

Ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie


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).

Local council elections lead this week, with lots of museums in the news as well. Some of the election results will have flow-on effects for museums and galleries, and of course we’ll all be watching to see how Auckland Mayor Len Brown, the new Auckland councillors, and multitude of community board members, manage the transition to the new city structure.

Some turn-ups include: Annette Main becoming Mayor of Whanganui District, pipping former Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon after Michael Laws stepped down; Nelson sitting Mayor Kerry Marshall only made fourth place against local businessman Aldo Miccio, a first-term councillor campaigning on a platform of possible regional amalgamation; Whangarei Mayor Stan Semenoff was ousted by Maurice Cutforth, who promises a more open council that takes more than 10 minutes for its monthly meetings; former TV handyman-presenter Dave Cull tipped out Mayor Peter Chin in Dunedin; in the Far North nothing much changed with Wayne Brown keeping the Mayoralty against a strong challenge split between Sir John Goulter and Laurie Byers; and unsurprisingly Bob Parker was returned as Mayor in Christchurch after gaining high profile in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake. In Wellington we’re waiting until all the special votes are counted to hear if Kerry Prendergast is returned for a 4th term, or ousted by the long-term Greens councillor Celia Wade-Brown.

Last week we had the Paul Henry affair(s), in which neither TV presenters and managers, nor our Prime Minister, read the public mood correctly when responding to politically incorrect statements. And this week the media went the other way, with a storm in a teacup brewing very quickly when the media got hold of Te Papa’s invitation to a behind the scenes collection tour which asked pregnant or menstruating women not to come. The blogosphere went wild, with so many ill-informed and badly written comments that it was just laughable. Check this blog post for one of the more balanced views.

Congratulations to the reopened Navy Museum, sitting pretty in Torpedo Bay, Devonport. There was a very well-received open day on Saturday, and the museum is now open 7 days a week, including a café. See the news coverage in our roundup and visit the museum website here.

We also hear that the NZ Furniture Symposium, hosted by Southland Museum & Art Gallery last week, was a great event. We expect to bring you a report of that in the next Museums Aotearoa Quarterly.

We hope to see many of you at Te Papa next week at the National Digital Forum conference, with guest speakers Michael Edson (Smithsonian, USA), Nick Poole (Collections Trust, UK) and Dan Hill (Arup, UK). It’s not too late to register here.

Back in the office, we’re busy with MA11 conference planning, with 3 international guest speakers expected. As soon as they are confirmed we’ll bring you more details…

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