NZ Museum Awards finalists

3 April 2012

New museum developments, innovative projects and excellent exhibitions will be recognised in the 2012 New Zealand Museum Awards.  Winners will be named from among 15 finalists at a gala dinner in Wellington on 19 April celebrating the fifth annual national museum awards. 

The selection panel, including guest judges Jock Phillips and Heather Galbraith, had a hard job selecting from the record number of entries. ‘The panel had some robust debate about which entries were most deserving, which is why we have such a large number of finalists’, says Phillipa Tocker, Executive Director of Museums Aotearoa. ‘We are delighted at the quality and quantity of these projects.’

A new feature this year is the category of ‘museum and gallery development’, which recognises some major capital projects completed recently.  While the scale of the finalists ranges from the Auckland Art Gallery rebuild and MOTAT Aviation Display Hall to more modest developments at Te Manawa and Whangarei Art Museum, each was a significant challenge which has exceeded expectations. 

In the innovation and new technology category, the judges have recognised mobile phone and online projects at Auckland Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery, and Waikato Museum’s innovative temporary wall system that addresses the issue of waste and sustainability for changing exhibitions.

The exhibition category drew the most entries, and the judges were attracted to those which stretched both the institution and the audience.  Challenging subjects were explored by Museums Wellington with Death and Diversity, and Dunedin Public Art Gallery in Still Life: The Art of Anatomy.  Other challenges were logistical, with Aratoi working with iwi to borrow a significant waka from Te Papa for Wairarapa Moana, and Luit Bieringa successfully encompassing 125 years of design in a free-standing exhibition Old School New School for Massey University in Wellington.

Christchurch museums were back in the awards this year with exhibitions from Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery.  Both affected by and developed as a result of the earthquakes, Canterbury Quakes and De-Building offered visitors exciting ways of exploring and learning from their effects.

The other major national event of 2011 was recognised in Red, Yellow and (All) Black developed by Waikato Museum.  Among so many rugby-related offerings, the judges agreed that this exhibition stood out as engaging and user-friendly for all kinds of visitors. 

The award judges, Jock Phillips, Heather Galbraith, Greg McManus and Jane Legget, said that the entries exercised and impressed them.  ‘It is rewarding to see so many creative and exciting projects being produced despite – or in spite of – the financial and other challenges facing our public museums and galleries,’ said Phillipa Tocker, ‘the announcement of the winners on 19 April will be a wonderful celebration of their achievements.’

The New Zealand Museum Awards dinner at City Gallery Wellington is part of Museums Aotearoa’s MA12 conference, Collaboration in practice.  The awards programme is proudly sponsored by Story Inc, New Zealand’s leading creator of visitor experiences.

New Zealand Museum Awards 2012 Finalists 

Finalist                Project
Aratoi exhibition: Wairarapa Moana
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki project: gallery redevelopment
Auckland War Memorial Museum project: AQUA mobile trail
Canterbury Museum exhibition: Canterbury Quakes
Christchurch Art Gallery
Te Puna o Waiwhetu
online project: MyGallery
Christchurch Art Gallery
Te Puna o Waiwhetu
exhibition: De-Building
Dunedin Public Art Gallery exhibition: Still Life: The Art of Anatomy
Luit Bieringa exhibition: Old School New School
Museum of Transport
and Technology
project: Aviation Display Hall development
Museum of Wellington
City & Sea
exhibition: Death and Diversity
New Zealand Historic Places Trust project: Pompallier Mission
& Fyffe House interpretation
Te Manawa Museums Trust project: Te Manawa development
Waikato Museum project: temporary exhibition wall fabrication system
Waikato Museum exhibition: Red, Yellow, (All) Black
Whangarei Art Museum
Te Manawa Toi
project: Whangarei Art Museum
Relocation/Rebrand
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