News Update 14 December 2012

Kia ora ,

As we hurtle towards the end of 2012 there is lots of museum news from around the country. The re-opening of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, new exhibitions and summer activities around the country such as Te Papa’s gingerbread house. There are some controversies as well, with varying opinions on fundraising for the redevelopment of the Sarjeant Gallery, and a mystery surrounding Waikato Museum’s fake Lindauer.

The re-opening of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum was a series of celebrations, with guests from around the country as well as Dunedin and Otago. The museum has retained some old favourites such as the settlers portraits and Pixietown, hugely improved and expanded the display of key textile, social history and transport collections, and added new dimensions of interactive objects and information.

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Toitū Otago Settlers Museum Opening

Director Linda Wigley spoke about their aim to move beyond the ‘book on the wall’ approach, and the enormous team effort which made it all possible. It was particularly encouraging to hear the Mayor, Dave Cull, speaking so positively and supportively at the civic opening, reflecting the strong working relationship between the Dunedin City Council and Toitū. The staff sang their waiata with feeling, and there were some emotional moments as key people were thanked, including project development manager Bronwyn Simes. Our congratulations to all concerned.

Toitū has had excellent coverage in the media, including this radio interview with Director Linda Wigley on The Arts on Sunday the week before the opening:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/artsonsunday/audio/2540277/toitu-otago-settlers-museum

Congratulations also to Te Tuhi on being voted best Public Art Gallery in Metro’s Best of Auckland 2012 awards. The magazine is not online, but you can see what makes them so good on the Te Tuhi website.

In Wellington, policy and politics continue. Earlier this year MCH organised a series of workshops to explore the possibility of legislation for Immunity from Seizure, and we noted at the time that there was a move towards this in Australia. The legislation for Immunity from Seizure was introduced in Canberra recently, as the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Bill. We will keep you informed as this progresses on both sides of the Tasman.

The Charities Commission has been working on engagement between business and community organisations, and jointly commissioned some research with Creative New Zealand earlier this year. Their report is now published, and has some great insights and vision for how charities can design and achieve beneficial business/community partnerships.

Phillipa recently attended the INTERCOM conference #museumchallenges (see conference tweets) in Sydney. INTERCOM is the ICOM international committee on museum management, and the conference was attended by around 70 delegates from 20+ countries. There were really interesting presentations and useful conversations with people from museums – and museum associations and government agencies – which reflected many common challenges throughout the world of museums. Several people from New Zealand were there, including Tarisi Vunidilo, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Museum Association and Greg McManus, current Chair of the INTERCOM committee.

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Phillipa Tocker and Tarisi Vunidilo

As part of the conference, the annual Stephen Weil Memorial Lecture was given by Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum in Sydney. His title was ‘Do Indians Belong with Dinosaurs?’, in which he explored indigenous cultural engagement: the relationship of the institution with indigenous communities, and how the perspective of the ‘other’ is part of the story itself. We look forward to this lecture being published, and to the continuing debate.

This afternoon we are awaiting delivery of the 2013 Directory from the printer, which will be sent out next week. We also expect to open registration for the MA13 conference next week. We will be here until Friday 17 December, then closing the office until 14 January 2013.

And for your Friday afternoon enjoyment, check out the Museum of Coffee Machines in Milan – yes, it really does exist, set up by Gruppo Cimbali to celebrate over 100 years of business.

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa & Talei

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