News Update 24 Jan 2012

Nga mihi o te Ao Hou!

As we get back to work after the summer break, the weather settles, and we think wistfully of the beach – which was too wet and windy to be attractive when we had the time!  Looking back over January, we were relieved to hear that recently-installed sprinklers prevented a fire at the Kauri Museum from causing serious damage over the summer. You can read about that in the latest Museum News which is rounded up in the members’ area of our website here (you need to be logged in to view).

2012 is shaping up to be an invigorating and inspiring year, with lots to look forward to, as well as some big challenges. Local councils are examining their expenditure and targeting ‘nice-to-have’ budget lines including museums and galleries as they struggle to balance the books for ratepayers. And the budget squeeze is continuing in central government. This means we need to re-energise our advocacy work on a national level to help empower the sector and support the fantastic work done by individual organisations. Museums Aotearoa is about to start two vital pieces of work: the National Visitor Survey coming up next month, and a new more comprehensive Museum Sector Statistics project. This statistics work will gather essential information so we can all back up our advocacy with hard facts, both nationally and locally.

Other immediate priorities for MA are tidying up after 2011 and getting ready for our financial audit and 2012 membership administration. We also have the February 2012 issue of MAQuarterly in preparation – items, notices and advertising are welcome by 8 February.

The MA Board will meet in Wellington on the afternoon of Friday 24 February, and we are also hosting a Disaster Recovery workshop session for senior managers that morning, with presentations from Christchurch museum directors. Separate invitations are being sent about this session and numbers are very limited – if you are keen to come and have not received the notice, please contact us.

MA12, 18-20 April 2012: Keynote speakers
The other major project currently occupying our time is MA12. We’re having some issues with technology, and registrations will open as soon as we can get it set up and working. A reminder about our exciting international keynote speakers:

  • Umberto Crenca, founder and artistic director of AS220, a nonprofit centre for the arts in Providence, Rhode Island (see www.as220.org)
  • Jim Marchbank, former CEO of Science North, Sudbury, North Ontario, (see http://www.sciencenorth.ca/)

Both visitors will be spending some extra time in New Zealand and we are working on itineraries to get them out and about as much as possible. If you are particularly keen to host or meet with either Jim or Bert, please contact us.

The annual New Zealand Museum Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday 19 April at the City Gallery, with some fine dining and a fantastic local band lined up for entertainment. Applications for the awards close on 1 March, with full details on our Awards web page.

There will be plenty of other social events and opportunities to catch up with colleagues, as well as visits to a range of institutions and organisations in the Wellington region. There are several all day events happening on Tuesday 17 April followed by a public lecture in the evening, Wednesday welcome function and group dinners, Awards and behind the scenes bus and walking tours. Other special group meetings will also be held during the conference. We look forward to catching up with members and colleagues in Wellington in April.

Opportunities – deadlines extended and looming
A reminder about some current opportunities:

  • The Clark Collection / Creative New Zealand Scholarship – application deadline extended, now due 5pm, Monday 30 January
  • Mina McKenzie Scholarship – applications due 5pm, Monday 13 February
  • New Zealand Museum Awards 2012 – applications due 5pm, Thursday 1 March

Further detials about all these are listed below and application information is on our website.

Post-holiday research and reading
We have found some items of interest to distract you from your day-to-day work and hopefully interest and inspire you as part of the wider museum community.

  • Videos of NDF 2011 conference presentations are now online here. They are listed in order of appearance without titles, so you may want to refer to the conference programme on the NDF website
  • The USA’s Wallace Foundation undertakes research into all sorts of aspects of the GLAMS sector. A recently released series of case studies looks at audience development, including how the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum boosted participation by young adults, here
  • Closer to home, Radio NZ’s ‘Summer Nights’ programme made 18 virtual museum visits over December/January, interviewing people from a wide range of museums including Hokonui, Waipu, Lyttelton, Chatham Is, Rotorua, Police, Albertland, Okain’s Bay and Owaka. The podcasts can be heard or downloaded from the Summer Nights summary page, use search word museum.

Directors change direction
You may have heard the news that a number of museum directors around the country are moving on. Kate Vusoniwailala has left Waikato Museum after nearly a decade to return home to the warmer climes of Fiji. Long-serving Director of the City Gallery Wellington, Paula Savage, is moving to Auckland, Te Manawa Director Steven Fox is returning to Canberra, and later in the year Colonel Raymond Seymour will be retiring from the National Army Museum, Waiouru. These are some great roles for the next generation of museum leaders, and we look forward to seeing them take on the challenge.

So get those applications in, gather your information, and make your travel plans – lets make 2012 a great year for all our museums and galleries!

Nga mihi,
Phillipa and Sophie

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