News update 9 March 2012

At last its official! Part of the new Air Force Museum development will be available for the restoration, storage and rehabilitation of heritage and cultural collections displaced by the Canterbury earthquakes. A proposal to establish a collections recovery centre has been with funding agencies in Wellington since last year, and it has now been confirmed that $1.5 million from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust and up to $2 million from government will be available to make it happen. Canterbury’s displaced cultural institutions will be able to use the facilities at the Air Force Museum, due to open by November, free of charge for up to three years. Storage will be available for a further three years. See this and other recent news stories here.

We also congratulate all the team at the Air Force Museum on, and heartily endorse, their Christchurch City Council Mayoral Award presented ‘in recognition of acts of kindness, service and heroism during and following the Christchurch earthquakes’. And marking one year on from the February 2011 earthquake, NSTP has posted a ‘Canterbury earthquake anniversary series’, including a piece by Thérèse Angelo which shows the medal and outlines the recovery centre project, on the nzmuseums blog.

Those who were at MA10 in New Plymouth will recall Queensland Art Gallery’s Tony Ellwood’s inspiring presentation about how he ensures QAG is relevant to its audiences and stakeholders. It has been announced that Tony will be the new Director of Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria after Dr Gerard Vaughan retires later this year. The Herald Sun interview with Tony asks him about his plans for the NGV.

There is no news roundup on our website this week. We’re having some technical challenges, as the method of delivery of news items to us has changed, and we are still working out how to make the new online links available to members. This is in part a reflection of the fact that physical newspapers are in decline around the world as more of our news and information-gathering is sourced online. here is an example of a story about Rotorua Museum appearing in ‘Happyzine’.

MA12, 18-20 April 2012 – REGISTER NOW
More details are being added to the MA12 conference programme as they are confirmed. Our Minister, the Hon Chris Finlayson, is hosting the Directors and Governors’ Dinner at Parliament. There will be special sessions for the ICOM-NZ, Directors of Small Museums and TENNZ groups as well as other associated events. See our website for details or click here to go straight to registration.

Inaugural Museums Aotearoa Lecture – Tuesday 17 April
We are very excited to be launching a new annual Museums Aotearoa lecture series. The first lecture will be on the evening of Tuesday 17 April, so plan to come to Wellington the day before MA12. We have confirmed the speaker and have a generous sponsor – more details very soon…

Diversity Action – Race Relations Day 21 March
Its good to see museums and galleries exhibiting and offering programmes that address issues of diversity, prejudice and inclusion. Te Ngira – the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme – run by the Human Rights Commission, is a great way to gain support for and extend the reach of such programmes. HRC send out regular emails and promote all kinds of activities through their website, including a museums and exhibitions listing. They also facilitate the annual Diversity Forum, usually in August, and Race Relations Day each year on 21 March. There is information about the programme on the diversity action web pages, links to a poster and other resources to support race relations and diversity action.

Creative New Zealand’s Optimise programme supports online marketing capability for arts organisations, and some of its is directly relevant to museums of all kinds. They are planning webinars and the first edition on the online newsletter Optimise Insights has information about the coaching programme, mobile trends and energising your Facebook audience.

Last month we noted crowdsourcing as a growing way for smaller organisations to raise funds and build communities of interest. This includes fundraising websites such as PledgeMe, Givealittle and Fundraiseonline, as well as social networking. We would be interested to hear about your experiences with any of these tools – what has worked (or not) for you, and how.

And in amongst conference organising, sending out the 2012 Directory, arranging scholarships and awards, we have been continuing our advocacy. Phillipa Tocker and MA Chair, Thérèse Angelo met with the Hon Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, earlier this week. We discussed current sector issues, especially the continuing squeeze on public funding, and some of the consequences and possible ways of alleviating them. We talked about specific areas of need such as Christchurch, about collaborative opportunities, and the benefits of accreditation, and where these fit with broader policy challenges. Our Minister is very supportive of his portfolio, and we look forward to continuing to work with him and the Ministry for Culture & Heritage to ensure the best possible outcomes for all our members.

Nga mihi,
Phillipa and Sophie

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