News & Notice 23 November

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).

Lots of news coverage this fortnight, most of it good. There are a few items which don’t reflect so well on the museum sector – we can count on the media to dig any dirt they can find to make a ‘good story’. They seem to have nearly forgotten the Canterbury earthquake, and even the steampunk revolution in Oamaru has become less newsworthy as they scramble for tidbits about Hillary family artifacts, and flash cars for museum directors. Check it all out here.

Last week we were in Christchurch for the quarterly MA Board meeting, and had a very enjoyable function at Canterbury Museum with members from the region. It was a pleasure to be there for the launch the new regional Outreach service based at Canterbury Museum. Eva Huismans has taken up this part time role, which will complement the work of NSTP’s Judith Taylor, through direct links with Canterbury Museum expertise. The same evening, Senior Curator Roger Fyfe lead some of us on a fascinating tour of the anthropology store, explaining the rationale and workings of their recent re-housing project. Roger is currently delivering the 2010 Macmillan Brown lecture series in Christchurch on the topic, ‘The World Under One Roof – who owns the past?’ These will be broadcast by Radio NZ in the new year.

Philip Howe, Director of South Canterbury Museum, Anthony Wright, Director of Canterbury Museum and Lynda Wallace, Director of Akaroa Museum at the MA members function, and launch of Canterbury Museum’s new Outreach Service.

While we were in Christchurch we saw, rather too briefly, some great exhibitions. Ron Mueck at the Christchurch Art Gallery will certainly evoke a response – the craftsmanship is exquisite and his choice of subjects and manipulation of scale tests our view of ourselves alongside our fellow human beings. The ‘Heart of the Great Alone’ at Canterbury Museum is a magnificent collection of photographs of Antarctica from the Royal Collection. Beautiful, poignant and intriguing, we wished we’d had much more time to see them all. And a quick visit to The Physics Room was all we had time for – well worth catching new work by contemporary New Zealand artists Geoffrey Heath and Sriwhana Spong, and a pity we couldn’t stay for the artists’ talk.

Back in Wellington the TENNZ network met at Te Papa last Friday, a very collegial and productive meeting. As well as sharing information and ideas about touring exhibitions, they discussed climate controlled cases for display and transport, and iPads and iPods as the new generation audio guide – and much more affordable and user-friendly. Peter Sarjeant, Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at Te Manawa, has taken over from Stephen Pennruscoe as chair of the network, and their next meeting will be during the MA11 conference in Nelson.

Here in the office, we’ve been busy writing and compiling information for the last two publications of the year – the final MA Quarterly and the 2011 Directory. Thank you to everyone who has sent in articles and details. These, more information about MA11, and the new individual membership information will be arriving in your postbox before the Christmas break.

Ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie

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