Archive for February, 2011

Canterbury Earthquake Museum Update

Updated 31/3

Offers of help – We have had many offers of help from around the country.  Please email us and we’ll keep a register of offers for when those on the ground are ready for your support.

The latest from Christchurch is very grim, however, we have not heard of anyone being hurt in museums or galleries there. We have received a number of messages of support, and these are in the ‘Messages for Canterbury’ Discussion Board on our Facebook page here. Please add your own messages, either on our facebook page, or in the comments below, and hopefully our colleagues in Christchurch will be able to access these when their power and communications are restored.

We understand that most of the damage this time is confined to the city and Lyttelton areas. Here is what we have heard about Christchurch institutions so far.

Air Force Museum
Updated 24/2 Message from Director Thérèse Angelo:

Firstly, and most importantly all of the Museum staff and their families are safe and uninjured. As far as we have been able to ascertain, our volunteers are also OK. Some staff have damage to their homes but many live on the west side of Christchurch or in rural locations and have no damage to report at all.

The Museum itself is in good shape with only minor damage such as ceiling tiles down and fluorescent lights falling. A structural survey yesterday has given the buildings the green light to re-open when we wish. I understand we still have all services to the site but this may change over the next couple of days.

However, given the significant damage to local infrastructure, water, sewer and roading problems, along with petrol shortages, the Museum will remain closed until Monday at least. This also gives staff time to try and start processing the enormity of what has happened to Christchurch. Some staff have also headed out of town for a few days to settle jangled nerves.

Akaroa Museum
Is unaffected this time, all are OK.

Arts Centre of Christchurch
No direct word, but news and internet photos show significant damage.

Canterbury Museum
Staff are all OK. The sprinklers were activated and lots of loose things moved around in the staff areas. The situation in the public and storage areas is unknown but presumed to be ‘a mess’ and some bits have fallen off the building. With the whole central city cordoned off, they do not expect to get back in until after the weekend. The museum server is completely out of action so no staff will be able to access their work e-mails, even from outside the museum.
Updated 25/2: Director Anthony Wright will be releasing a media statement shortly, check their site. Anthony has confirmed that all staff are OK, but some have had their homes completely destroyed. He was able to enter the museum today with structural engineers, who inspected all spaces from the basement to the roof in both the main museum building and the Robert McDougall building. Both have been declared structurally sound, which is great news. Otherwise, there is loose masonry on the building, and the exhibits look to be 95% ok upon initial inspection (although by torchlight). It is not known about collection damage in the collection areas, however the water damage from activated sprinklers is reportedly only in a small area. It will be several weeks before staff can be admitted back into the building.

Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA)
Updated 25/2:
The building is still standing, but everything has come off the walls. They will be postponing the Anthony Harper Award dates, as well as their planned recruitment for a new position.

Christchurch Art Gallery
Updated 24/2: Gallery staff are all accounted for and safe, apparently no structural damage – ‘we’re in good shape considering all that has happened’. CAG is once again starring on TV news as the Civil Defence HQ, and will be closed until further notice while they support Civil Defence. They have sustained a small amount of damage to the collection. 10-15 works are affected & they are assessing condition & repair options.
Updated: 25/2: Experiences of CAG Senior Curator Justin Paton reported in the guardian here.

Lyttelton Museum
Has been closed since the September earthquake, and apparently suffered additional damage on Boxing Day. We have no information as yet, but fear it is now even worse.

Okains Bay Museum
Is unaffected this time, all are OK.

Our City O-Tautahi
Updated 31/3:
This was in the Municipal Chambers building which suffered damage last September and was still closed to the public. It is within the restricted ‘red zone’ and the current situation is not yet known.

Sound Archives
We’ve had unconfirmed reports that the archive has flooded. Will update when we learn more.

The Physics Room
All staff are safe, don’t expect to get back to their building to assess it for some while.

Timeball Station (NZHPT)
Is severely damaged, but thankfully both staff members there at the time of the quake got out safely. No news yet about the collection items which have been stored offsite since the September earthquake.

We have also heard that Lincoln Entomology Museum, Landcare Herbarium, Ashburton area museums, as well as South Canterbury Museum are ok.

We know that this information is only about the public face of these museums, and many staff will have huge challenges ahead with their own homes and families. Our thoughts and best wishes go to all our colleagues.

Kia kaha,

Phillipa and Sophie

Special Update 22 February 2011

Oh no, not another one. As I put aside conference planning to write about the latest news, I felt our 8th floor office gently swaying. Little did I know that the effects in Canterbury were far worse. Unlike last September’s quake, this one struck in the middle of a busy day. It has caused even more damage in the city area, including in the Canterbury Museum and the Cathedral. However even that is overshadowed by the as yet uncounted human cost.

Like the rest of the country, we are watching and listening to news, and will bring you details about museums and galleries in Canterbury as they come to hand. We send all our aroha to friends and colleagues who have been affected.

We will distribute the last fortnight’s news stories and regular notice updates tomorrow. Meanwhile, we would like to announce an extension of the deadlines for earlybird registration for MA11, until 7 March. Application deadline for the helping hands grants to attend has also been extended until 28 February. And a reminder that New Zealand Museum Awards 2011 applications are due by 5pm this Thursday, 24 February. We will extend all these deadlines for earthquake-affected colleagues – please just let us know you are intending to apply.

 

Third Judge Announced for 2011 NZ Museum Awards

Kia ora

We are delighted to announce that renowned architect, Ian Athfield (Ath) will join the Museums Aotearoa judging panel for the 2011 New Zealand Museum Awards.

Ath is the founding principal of Athfield Architects Limited and well-known to many in the museum and gallery sector. He is renowned for his big picture thinking and has been involved in the creation of many of New Zealand’s most successful urban spaces, landscapes, and buildings – including art galleries and museums. His work spans from domestic to civic, stretching across all scales from furniture and public sculpture to architecture, landscape, and urban design.

Ath has been involved with the annual NZ Institute of Architects’ Awards for many years – as a judge and an award winner – and he is looking forward to providing a different perspective to the museum awards. He has a long time interest in heritage and culture and is a member of the Historic Places Trust Board.

There is now one week to go until entries close on 24 February.

We have information on our website here to help you to prepare your entry. You can also contact your regional museum support people, the National Services Te Paerangi Museum Development Officers, past winners, Museums Aotearoa Board members or the Museums Aotearoa Office for help and advice on preparing your entries.

So tell us about the projects you are proud of, or the people whose outstanding achievements deserve to be recognised, and share in the celebration in Nelson on 14 April.

Please contact me if you require any further information.

Ngā mihi,

Phillipa Tocker
Executive Director
Museums Aotearoa
T
(64 4) 499 1313 F (64 4) 499 6313 M (64 21) 606 135
phillipa.tocker@museumsaotearoa.org.nz

 

News Update 10 February 2011

The latest batch of museum news is online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view). We’re a couple of days late with the latest news as we’ve been away in Rotorua. The Museums Aotearoa Board met on Tuesday, hosted in fine style by Rotorua Museum. We really appreciated their cheerful hospitality as well as their air conditioning – it felt like about 30 degrees outside, especially to those of us from further south! and it was great to have an opportunity to see their re-development progress, which is on track towards a successful opening on 20 August.

Museums Aotearoa Board Members inspecting progress at Rotorua Museum

We also really enjoyed meeting with members from the area, some of whom had driven quite some distance to be there. We had afternoon tea and a good discussion of current issues and projects, including the work towards accreditation for museums and galleries in New Zealand. This is an important development in encouraging and recognising best practice standards in all museum and galleries, whatever their size. Another topic of discussion was a review of the Code of Ethics. We will have discussion papers about both these projects circulated for debate at the AGM in April.

MA11 conference planning has been taking much of our time, with details of the 3-day programme on Collecting Culture being finalised. Our hosts at Nelson Provincial Museum and the Suter are looking forward to welcoming colleagues to their place, and to their region. The first day of the conference will be held at the pan-iwi Whakatū Marae which will provide an ideal setting to explore bicultural collections. Thursday and Friday will be at various venues, including the Suter and Nelson Provincial Museum, with the Awards dinner at Nelson School of Music. The conference will be followed by a BarCamp convened by National Services Te Paerangi on Saturday 16 April. More details and registration information are on our website, make sure you register before 25 February to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount. And don’t forget, National Services have travel subsidies available, specifically to assist smaller organisations to attend MA11. These are being administered via the Helping Hand Grants, click here for application forms.

Here in Wellington, talk is focussed on politics. Controversy within the Māori Party is hotly debated, as well as the second reading of the new Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill. This Bill is being brought to the House by Hon Christopher Finlayson, as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. Being Attorney General as well as the Arts, Culture & Heritage portfolio, our Minister is a very busy man. Currently before the parliament he also has the Cultural Property (Protection in Armed Conflict) Bill (to enable NZ to ratify an international convention), the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Bill (which re-jigs the Arts Council and its committees), the Ngā Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill, Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill, a Legislation Bill and a Whanganui Iwi Bill.

On top of all this, the General Election has been set for 26 November this year. So it is even more vital that issues for the museum and gallery sector are well-understood by politicians on all sides of the debate. Museums Aotearoa keeps in contact with various ministers and MPs, in government and in opposition. Next week we have another meeting with Hon Christopher Finlayson, and we’re delighted that he will address the MA11 conference at the closing session on Friday 15 April.

This month deadlines are looming for conference registration and awards entries. More details are on our website, or contact us at the Museums Aotearoa office in Wellington.

Ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie


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