Archive for March, 2011

Annabel Westman Public Lectures 11-17 April 2011

We are delighted to advertise a series of illustrated public talks by Annabel Westman, one of our international speakers here for the MA11 conference. Annabel will share her enthusiasm and expertise in historic textiles with audiences in Auckland, Wellington and Nelson.  Click here to download the flyer: A Westman Flyer

Please forward this information to your networks.

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Message from ICOM Japan

Below is a message from Dr. Eiji Mizushima on behalf of ICOM Japan sent 18 March 2011. We would like to share with with our New Zealand colleagues.

Dear my colleagues, Dear my friends,

First of all, on behalf of Japanese museum colleagues, I appreciate your many sympathetic e-mails.

We are very much encouraged by your e-mails and we shared your concerned voices.

Last week, on 11 March, several catastrophic earthquakes in Northeastern region of Japan were happened.

Because of this natural disaster, many villages and (of course, many cultural/ natural heritages including many museums) were disappeared from this land.

At the time being, we do not know how size of these damages, but we will know later.

Under these difficult situations, lifeline such as electricity, gas, road, are the first priority, and parallely food-supply, but unfortunately, probably you know, Nuclear Power Plant are also damaged.

Therefore we have no time to think of cultural properties by the government.

But I have to report to you all museum professions, over the world, that we Japanese museum professions, including the museums association and academy like a JMMA, have already began to set up the website to receive the all the informations of damaged museums, lost cultural properties (and unfortunately the personnel.)

We began to talk with Japanese ministry of education as well as Cultural Agency what we should do next for preserving the museum world in Japan.

Maybe it will take a much time to make an official report of these all damages, but thanks to your sympathetic e-mails, we are now very much encouraged.

And once again we have to confront the natural disaster, to face to the risk, to stand up to the earthquake, to venture to the damaged sites and the investigations of cultural properties.

As a chair, I worked for Japanese governmental Task Force Team to set up the ‘Risk management manual for museum’ during 3 years.

But to be honest, in front of these catastrophes, there is no meaning. How vulnerable we are!

I reflect myself and later I will contribute to share these experiences with you.

I send this e-mail in order to relieve your concerns.
Thanks again and I really hope to see you soon with a smile.
Sincerely yours,

Dr. Eiji Mizushima
Prof. Tokiwa University
ICOM Japan

 

News Update 18 March 2011

Earthquake news still dominates our media – now in Japan as well as Christchurch. Today’s national memorial service in Hagley Park will have been seen or heard by many thousands around the country.

There was a minor press furore as it seemed a Christchurch antique shop might be demolished without any attempt to retrieve items from it – but this seems now to have been done. A small group of people protested yesterday about the apparent demolition of some buildings without the owners or occupiers knowing or being given a chance to salvage anything. Authorities are gradually allowing access where possible and clearing vehicles from the CBD. As well as the mainstream news media, there is lots of activity on blogs, local websites and Facebook.

Much of the Christchurch CBD still has a closed ‘red zone’, staff have not yet been able to return to Christchurch Art Gallery or Canterbury Museum, and COCA trustees have made the decision to close indefinitely – and have made all the staff redundant. Sumner and Lyttelton museum collections have been removed prior to probable demolition of both buildings. The future restoration of other heritage buildings is as yet unknown, including the Arts Centre. In the mean time, the Air Force Museum is open, and helping fellow museums as well as several other displaced organisations.

We have had numerous offers of help, mostly expertise, person power, fundraising ideas, or respite from CHCH. At this stage there is limited scope for extra people to help on the ground. Judith Taylor and Ian Wards of National Services Te Paerangi will be helping COCA to pack up its collection and prepare for an ‘indeterminate period’ of closure. There is little more that can be done from outside Christchurch until Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery staff get back into their buildings to undertake a careful assessment and plan for recovery. Until that time, we thank all those who have made generous offers, and we know that many have already been able to help their friends and colleagues personally as well.

There is other news of course. In the UK, some simmering disquiet about the fate of gifted items held in the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum has resulted in the dismissal of its director and a pending police investigation, read about it here. This collection includes items presented to Britain by New Zealand, and raises important questions which align with the planned collection ethics discussion at MA11 in Nelson.

News Update 3 March

Kia ora

We have uploaded the latest batch of news from the print media here, you will need to be logged in the the members’ area to view.

The last week has been overshadowed by news from Christchurch. Our aroha, sympathy and very best wishes are with all our whanau, friends and colleagues who have been caught up in the earthquake and its aftermath. Museums Aotearoa and National Services Te Paerangi are compiling a register of volunteers and ideas to help the Christchurch cultural sector’s recovery. Please contact Sophie de Lautour Kelly at sophie@museumsaotearoa.org.nz (or call 04 499 1313) if you would like to volunteer or have any suggestions.

We have had messages of solidarity from all over the world, including ICOM headquarters in Paris. Click here to read the ICOM Letter from Director General Julien Anfruns . You can also read and contribute a message of support on our Facebook discussion page here, or in the comments on our previous blogpost here.

In the Christchurch area, people are already pulling together. Thérèse Angelo reports that the Air Force Museum, which suffered only minor damage, is not only providing working space for two government agencies, SPCA/emergency vets and a firm of architects, but their staff are also going out to help Lyttelton Museum volunteers retrieve collection items from their severely damaged building.

Back in the office, we are working on details of the MA11 conference. If you haven’t registered yet, the earlybird rate is available until Monday 7 March. We will extend this rate for people whose plans have been interrupted by the Christchurch earthquake. If this applies to you, please contact the office as soon as you can, so that we may secure you a place.

We have also received an exciting batch of applications for the 2011 New Zealand Museum Awards, and look forward to announcing finalists later this month ahead of the celebration dinner on 14 April.

Nga mihi,

Phillipa and Sophie


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