News Update 12 June, 2014

Having just come back from Australia, I have been thinking about New Zealand museums and galleries in relation to international issues. It seems that there are some common threads, especially the focus on ethics and standards, and communicating the various forms of ‘value’ that museums and galleries contribute – cultural, creative, economic, amenity, social, educational etc.

At MA14, Auckland Museum presented research they have undertaken with Auckland Council to measure the Social Return On Investment (SROI) for the Moana – My Ocean exhibition. This paper has now been peer reviewed and published, showing a dollar value for SROI.  We expect to have videos of the MA14 keynote speakers, including Ganesh Nana’s exploration of economic and other ‘value’ on our website next week.

In Australia there has recently been publicity about dubious provenance of items acquired by museums. The National Gallery of Australia is embroiled in an international legal battle after it was found that an item it had bought from a New York based dealer Art of the Past was in fact stolen. It has subsequently come out that the NGA bought several million dollars worth of items from this dealer, as did other major museums internationally. A meeting of the four peak museum sector organisations in Australia has issued a joint statement on ethics in collecting to highlight the importance of due diligence and maintaining the highest possible ethical standards.

In China, the museum-building spree is running into problems with fakes. According to state media, 299 new establishments registered last year, but fakes are said to be rife in its antiques market. Police shut down the Lucheng museum, in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, after finding almost a third of the 8,000 items on display were not genuine. Counterfeits on show included a sword touted as dating from the Qing Dynasty and worth 120 million yuan (£11m), the report said.

The local news has been mixed, with the struggling Katikati Museum closing, and minimal damage from a potentially disastrous fire at Waikato Museum. Coincidentally, we had a fire evacuation drill at the MA office this week.  When did you last have a fire drill? Do you hold them regularly?

Kiwi North has secured $370k from Lotteries towards its $700k stage 2 development, Lopdell House is on track to open later this year as Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, and in Ashburton locals have flocked to an open day to in the new museum and art gallery building ahead of fitout for opening later this year.

Curator Tryphena Cracknell at a floor talk for Momo Kauae: Moko Kauae in Contemporary Art

More good news stories include kuia featuring in exhibitions at Aratoi (Kuia: Kiri Riwai-Couch) and HCAG (Momo Kauae: Moko Kauae in Contemporary Art), the Sarjeant Gallery reopening in its temporary premises on Sarjeant on the Quay, and the new extension at Tairawhiti Museum has opened.

Creative New Zealand is consulting on a review of its support for visual and craft/object art, with responses due on Wednesday 25 June.  This is an important opportunity to have a say on the structure which affects how funding is distributed, and how.  A number of museum and gallery professionals took part int he focus groups whcih preceded the darfts reports which are now out for response. MA will be making a response, and we encourgae all who have an interest in Creative NZ’s craft/objecta dn visual art forms to read them and respond.  If you want to feed into MA’s response, please let us know by Friday 20 June.

And a reminder that ICOM New Zealand is calling for abstracts for the Pacific Connections conference in Auckland, 22-23 September 2014, which will focus on Pacific museum collections and research. Abstracts are due on 16 June 2014. Proposals for the 2014 National Digital Forum are also due on 16 June.

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa and Talei

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