Archive for May, 2011

International Museum Day 2011

Issued by Museums Aotearoa
17 May 2011

I remember when…

Memories can be clear or fuzzy, recent or distant, personal or received, happy or sad. It is the accumulation of memory that informs our view of the world. When we collect memories from others, from those that have existed in the past and the now, we enrich ourselves with a deeper understanding of our world.

This week, museums around the world are celebrating International Museum Day with the theme of ‘Museum and Memory’. All kinds of museums collect and exhibit object which tell stories – sparking, sharing and connecting memories from different places and times. The experience of shared memory can be a powerful tool to help individuals to operate collectively as a unified society. Museums have an important role to play in this process, helping people to reflect upon the society in which they live.

Memory is not just reminiscence for the old. While some museums reach back into the distant past, others offer immediate experience which can trigger personal reflection, or be the foundation for new memories. Historical objects and contemporary art are all part of the interplay of object and memory discovered through a visit to a museum of any kind.

Whanganui Regional Museum is combining the theme of International Museum Day with celebrating NZ Music Month. They have a series of events which include concerts on New Zealand’s first barrel organ (1829), ballads and chamber music, indigenous and imported musical traditions – all stirring memories which reflect the rich heritage that contributes to ‘New Zealandness’ today.

At Waikato Museum, the opening of the touring Anne Frank exhibition has been timed to coincide with International Museum Day. This exhibition focuses on the written memories of one individual in extraordinary circumstances, reminding us that sharing another’s memories can help us to understand and learn from history.

An even more personal approach is being taken at the Colonial Cottage Museum in Wellington. Visitors are invited to bring along their own memories, especially those triggered by some of the more intriguing objects in the collection, and share them with museum staff.

Access to collection objects – and to the memory they embody – is being enhanced at Te Papa, with a new loans web page to be launched on International Museum Day. Other museums and galleries around the country are offering free entry, talks and tours, and all will be sure to evoke and enrich memories for those who visit.

Media enquiries: Phillipa Tocker Executive Director, Museums Aotearoa Mob: 021 606 135

Further details

New Zealand museums and public galleries care for more than 40 million items relating to New Zealand’s history, culture and creativity. Generating in excess of 1000 public exhibitions and publications and attracting well over 8 million visits each year, museums and galleries are currently ranked as the top attraction for New Zealand’s overseas visitors.

New Zealand museums are actively focused on enriching their communities by enhancing the quality of their facilities, collections, programmes, products and services.

The last decade has seen unprecedented growth in the establishment and development of museum facilities and services in most regions of New Zealand. Over 3500 people are currently employed in New Zealand museums, and at least twice that number of volunteers. Total annual museum operating and capital expenditure is well in excess of $300 million.

Museums Aotearoa strives to be the strong, objective, fully representative voice for the evolving museum community, and to promote a shared sense of professionalism, solidarity and identity.



An objects from Colonial Cottage Museum, Wellington


News Update 9 May 2011

It’s May already, with Christchurch still shaking and crazy weather around the country. In mid-April in Nelson, the sun shone for 2 out of our 3 conference days, and we had a great time – thanks to all who were there and all who helped. We presented the Annual Report at the AGM, and this will be posted to members later this month with the next issue of MAQuarterly.

MA11 conference links

There are some photos in our previous post, and more on Facebook, and we will add presentations to our website as they become available.

Shane Simpson spoke about deaccessioning and collections ethics. His almost completed online publication Collections Law has just been relaunched on a new website, and is highly recommended. It focuses on the subject of the business and law of public collecting organisations in Australia, and is certainly relevant to NZ as well. The Powerhouse Museum has supported the publication, and hopes it will be a useful reference guide for public museums, libraries, archives and galleries across Australia. Recently added chapters include; Philanthropy, Reproduction of Useful Things and Protection of collections during times of armed conflict.

And following the ethics theme, we discussed the very topical case of artefacts of NZ origin, which were in the collection of the British Commonwealth and Empire Museum in Bristol, which had appeared for sale through a London dealer. Some news items are in our roundup in our members’ site, and the UK Museums Journal reported the dismissal of the BCEM Director here. The NZ Listener covered it in the issue dated 16 April, but the article is not online yet. A timely case when the AGM endorsed the establishment of an Ethics Committee for MA.

2011 New Zealand Museum Awards

Congratulations again to all who made it through as finalists in this year’s Awards – and especially to the winners. We have compiled the press clippings into a separate edition here for our members, and Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Beloved was featured on local television here

Museum appointments

While we were in Nelson it was announced that Roy Clare, currently Chief Executive of the MLA in the UK, is to be the next Director of Auckland Museum, starting in August. His appointment is covered in the UK Museums Journal here, and in an interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio here. And last week Bill Macnaught, former Manager of Puke Ariki and MA Board member, took up his new position as National Librarian. On the negative side, Karen Williams (Taupo Museum) and Brian Patrick (Central Stories) have both had their roles disestablished in council cuts.

There has been good coverage of recent openings at Te Manawa and Aotea Utanganui (Patea) as well as progress on the Rotorua Museum and Auckland Art Gallery developments. Some other proposed developments are struggling against council budget constraints as the annual planning round progresses – and staff casualties have already been noted. We hope most councils will see the benefits of continuing to invest in the arts and culture as an essential part of their service to their communities.

Next up for Museums Aotearoa is the first meeting of the new Board, which will be in Wellington on 18 May. We will be looking at our various activities and projects, including accreditation and the Code of Ethics.

We have also invited all museums and members in the Wellington area along to meet with the Board and start planning for next year’s MA12 conference – and before we blink another year rolls around!

Other useful links:

“Journeys Towards a New Paradigm Exploring Collaboration and Access to Digital Artefacts in the GLAM Sector”, a one-day symposium sponsored by the School of Information Management at Victoria University of Wellington on 18 April. Video from the sessions:

Personal Journeys and Research Perspectives: Prof. Wendy Duff and Kay Sanderson
Trajectories of Technological Design: Chris Todd, Adrian Kingston, and John Roberts
“The Scary Washing Machine” Discussion Amanda Cossham, Chris Todd, Adrian Kingston, John Roberts
Linked Open Data (Part 1): Brenda Chawner
A video clip of Tim Berners-Lee on Linked Open Data which was viewed at the Symposium is available here
Looking Back at the Journey: Prof. Wendy Duff

The NZ Conservators of Cultural Material have a very user-friendly new website here which includes advice, links and a directory of conservators.

ARANZ have a status report listing Christchurch archival collections, levels of access, web/email contact and a brief description of the current situation after the February earthquake, here.

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