Posts Tagged 'Christchurch Art Gallery'



News Update 18 March 2011

Earthquake news still dominates our media – now in Japan as well as Christchurch. Today’s national memorial service in Hagley Park will have been seen or heard by many thousands around the country.

There was a minor press furore as it seemed a Christchurch antique shop might be demolished without any attempt to retrieve items from it – but this seems now to have been done. A small group of people protested yesterday about the apparent demolition of some buildings without the owners or occupiers knowing or being given a chance to salvage anything. Authorities are gradually allowing access where possible and clearing vehicles from the CBD. As well as the mainstream news media, there is lots of activity on blogs, local websites and Facebook.

Much of the Christchurch CBD still has a closed ‘red zone’, staff have not yet been able to return to Christchurch Art Gallery or Canterbury Museum, and COCA trustees have made the decision to close indefinitely – and have made all the staff redundant. Sumner and Lyttelton museum collections have been removed prior to probable demolition of both buildings. The future restoration of other heritage buildings is as yet unknown, including the Arts Centre. In the mean time, the Air Force Museum is open, and helping fellow museums as well as several other displaced organisations.

We have had numerous offers of help, mostly expertise, person power, fundraising ideas, or respite from CHCH. At this stage there is limited scope for extra people to help on the ground. Judith Taylor and Ian Wards of National Services Te Paerangi will be helping COCA to pack up its collection and prepare for an ‘indeterminate period’ of closure. There is little more that can be done from outside Christchurch until Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery staff get back into their buildings to undertake a careful assessment and plan for recovery. Until that time, we thank all those who have made generous offers, and we know that many have already been able to help their friends and colleagues personally as well.

There is other news of course. In the UK, some simmering disquiet about the fate of gifted items held in the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum has resulted in the dismissal of its director and a pending police investigation, read about it here. This collection includes items presented to Britain by New Zealand, and raises important questions which align with the planned collection ethics discussion at MA11 in Nelson.

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Canterbury Earthquake Museum Update

Updated 31/3

Offers of help – We have had many offers of help from around the country.  Please email us and we’ll keep a register of offers for when those on the ground are ready for your support.

The latest from Christchurch is very grim, however, we have not heard of anyone being hurt in museums or galleries there. We have received a number of messages of support, and these are in the ‘Messages for Canterbury’ Discussion Board on our Facebook page here. Please add your own messages, either on our facebook page, or in the comments below, and hopefully our colleagues in Christchurch will be able to access these when their power and communications are restored.

We understand that most of the damage this time is confined to the city and Lyttelton areas. Here is what we have heard about Christchurch institutions so far.

Air Force Museum
Updated 24/2 Message from Director Thérèse Angelo:

Firstly, and most importantly all of the Museum staff and their families are safe and uninjured. As far as we have been able to ascertain, our volunteers are also OK. Some staff have damage to their homes but many live on the west side of Christchurch or in rural locations and have no damage to report at all.

The Museum itself is in good shape with only minor damage such as ceiling tiles down and fluorescent lights falling. A structural survey yesterday has given the buildings the green light to re-open when we wish. I understand we still have all services to the site but this may change over the next couple of days.

However, given the significant damage to local infrastructure, water, sewer and roading problems, along with petrol shortages, the Museum will remain closed until Monday at least. This also gives staff time to try and start processing the enormity of what has happened to Christchurch. Some staff have also headed out of town for a few days to settle jangled nerves.

Akaroa Museum
Is unaffected this time, all are OK.

Arts Centre of Christchurch
No direct word, but news and internet photos show significant damage.

Canterbury Museum
Staff are all OK. The sprinklers were activated and lots of loose things moved around in the staff areas. The situation in the public and storage areas is unknown but presumed to be ‘a mess’ and some bits have fallen off the building. With the whole central city cordoned off, they do not expect to get back in until after the weekend. The museum server is completely out of action so no staff will be able to access their work e-mails, even from outside the museum.
Updated 25/2: Director Anthony Wright will be releasing a media statement shortly, check their site. Anthony has confirmed that all staff are OK, but some have had their homes completely destroyed. He was able to enter the museum today with structural engineers, who inspected all spaces from the basement to the roof in both the main museum building and the Robert McDougall building. Both have been declared structurally sound, which is great news. Otherwise, there is loose masonry on the building, and the exhibits look to be 95% ok upon initial inspection (although by torchlight). It is not known about collection damage in the collection areas, however the water damage from activated sprinklers is reportedly only in a small area. It will be several weeks before staff can be admitted back into the building.

Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA)
Updated 25/2:
The building is still standing, but everything has come off the walls. They will be postponing the Anthony Harper Award dates, as well as their planned recruitment for a new position.

Christchurch Art Gallery
Updated 24/2: Gallery staff are all accounted for and safe, apparently no structural damage – ‘we’re in good shape considering all that has happened’. CAG is once again starring on TV news as the Civil Defence HQ, and will be closed until further notice while they support Civil Defence. They have sustained a small amount of damage to the collection. 10-15 works are affected & they are assessing condition & repair options.
Updated: 25/2: Experiences of CAG Senior Curator Justin Paton reported in the guardian here.

Lyttelton Museum
Has been closed since the September earthquake, and apparently suffered additional damage on Boxing Day. We have no information as yet, but fear it is now even worse.

Okains Bay Museum
Is unaffected this time, all are OK.

Our City O-Tautahi
Updated 31/3:
This was in the Municipal Chambers building which suffered damage last September and was still closed to the public. It is within the restricted ‘red zone’ and the current situation is not yet known.

Sound Archives
We’ve had unconfirmed reports that the archive has flooded. Will update when we learn more.

The Physics Room
All staff are safe, don’t expect to get back to their building to assess it for some while.

Timeball Station (NZHPT)
Is severely damaged, but thankfully both staff members there at the time of the quake got out safely. No news yet about the collection items which have been stored offsite since the September earthquake.

We have also heard that Lincoln Entomology Museum, Landcare Herbarium, Ashburton area museums, as well as South Canterbury Museum are ok.

We know that this information is only about the public face of these museums, and many staff will have huge challenges ahead with their own homes and families. Our thoughts and best wishes go to all our colleagues.

Kia kaha,

Phillipa and Sophie

News Update 26 Jan 2011

Welcome to 2011! We hope you’ve all had a happy time with friends and family over the festive season. Latest museum news is online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view).

Over the break, the NZ print media seem to have been having a bit of a holiday too, with lots of listings and information about happenings and summer attractions, but not much hard news about museums during the ‘silly season’. However, it is good to see that the former Te Awamutu Museum director convicted of stealing medals from the museum has now been named, and sentenced to nine months detention, 350 hours community service and ordered to pay reparation of $19,138. While the damage to reputations – which extends to the whole museum sector in such cases – still lingers, at least the message has been reinforced that thieves get caught and held accountable. And it also reinforces our need, as volunteers and professionals, to heed our own Code of Ethics. There will be a discussion paper to be circulated prior, and more opportunity to engage with these issues at the MA11 confernce in April.

In the wintery northern hemisphere, museum news continues throughout the holiday season. The big freeze has not only brought snow, but more cuts and budget challenges in the UK, Europe and the USA. You can read another chapter in the continuing debate about the sale of collection items to raise funds in this article from the New York Times.

Over the last fortnight, major news stories seem to have been crime and natural disasters. Luckily the crime hasn’t been in museums, and while we hope that the recent flooding in the north island hasn’t affected members, it seems minor in comparison to the devastating floods in Australia. We send our aroha and special thoughts to friends and colleagues as they begin the long task of cleaning up.

Recovery is still going on in Canterbury since the September 2010 earthquake. I was in Christchurch last week, where a small working group is scoping development of a museum accreditation scheme as mooted at the 2010 AGM. There will be more work on this over the next couple of months to bring an options paper to the 2011 AGM. While in Canterbury, I experienced first-hand the continuing aftershocks, being woken up both nights I was there. I must say that Cantabrians seem to be a very resourceful bunch as they get on with their work and their lives despite the persistent tremors. And I noticed that the earthquake display at Canterbury Museum was very well-attended!

And following its star turn as civil defence centre last September, Christchurch Art Gallery has been scooping the audiences with its Ron Mueck show. With queues out the door and opening until midnight on the final Saturday, they finished the 4-month run with 135,140 visitors, including nearly 10,000 over the last weekend. It has been touted as the most popular paid-entry exhibition in NZ by a living artist. Who says blockbusters are passé?

Please see our website to find out about the important activities coming up for Museums Aotearoa:

  • MA11 conference registration – earlybird registration open until 25 February
  • 2011 NZ Museum Awards applications – due on 24 February
  • Attingham Summer School 2011 – expressions of interest due on 1 February
  • National Visitor Research project – throughout January-February

We are also offering a joint MA-ICOM membership this year. Details are on our new membership brochure/application form, which can be downloaded from our website here, or contact the office if you would like us to send you some hard copies.

Many museums and galleries are launching new shows over the next few weeks, and we wish you all the best with them. In the MA office we are busy with membership and getting details sorted for the MA11 conference, as well as this year’s Awards. Don’t forget to register/enter, more details about both are on our website.

Nga mihi,

Phillipa & Sophie

 

News & Notice 23 November

Check out the latest batch of museum news that has been uploaded today, online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view).

Lots of news coverage this fortnight, most of it good. There are a few items which don’t reflect so well on the museum sector – we can count on the media to dig any dirt they can find to make a ‘good story’. They seem to have nearly forgotten the Canterbury earthquake, and even the steampunk revolution in Oamaru has become less newsworthy as they scramble for tidbits about Hillary family artifacts, and flash cars for museum directors. Check it all out here.

Last week we were in Christchurch for the quarterly MA Board meeting, and had a very enjoyable function at Canterbury Museum with members from the region. It was a pleasure to be there for the launch the new regional Outreach service based at Canterbury Museum. Eva Huismans has taken up this part time role, which will complement the work of NSTP’s Judith Taylor, through direct links with Canterbury Museum expertise. The same evening, Senior Curator Roger Fyfe lead some of us on a fascinating tour of the anthropology store, explaining the rationale and workings of their recent re-housing project. Roger is currently delivering the 2010 Macmillan Brown lecture series in Christchurch on the topic, ‘The World Under One Roof – who owns the past?’ These will be broadcast by Radio NZ in the new year.

Philip Howe, Director of South Canterbury Museum, Anthony Wright, Director of Canterbury Museum and Lynda Wallace, Director of Akaroa Museum at the MA members function, and launch of Canterbury Museum’s new Outreach Service.

While we were in Christchurch we saw, rather too briefly, some great exhibitions. Ron Mueck at the Christchurch Art Gallery will certainly evoke a response – the craftsmanship is exquisite and his choice of subjects and manipulation of scale tests our view of ourselves alongside our fellow human beings. The ‘Heart of the Great Alone’ at Canterbury Museum is a magnificent collection of photographs of Antarctica from the Royal Collection. Beautiful, poignant and intriguing, we wished we’d had much more time to see them all. And a quick visit to The Physics Room was all we had time for – well worth catching new work by contemporary New Zealand artists Geoffrey Heath and Sriwhana Spong, and a pity we couldn’t stay for the artists’ talk.

Back in Wellington the TENNZ network met at Te Papa last Friday, a very collegial and productive meeting. As well as sharing information and ideas about touring exhibitions, they discussed climate controlled cases for display and transport, and iPads and iPods as the new generation audio guide – and much more affordable and user-friendly. Peter Sarjeant, Director of Exhibitions and Programmes at Te Manawa, has taken over from Stephen Pennruscoe as chair of the network, and their next meeting will be during the MA11 conference in Nelson.

Here in the office, we’ve been busy writing and compiling information for the last two publications of the year – the final MA Quarterly and the 2011 Directory. Thank you to everyone who has sent in articles and details. These, more information about MA11, and the new individual membership information will be arriving in your postbox before the Christmas break.

Ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie

News Update

Kia ora,

Check out the latest batch of museum news that has been uploaded today, online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view).

In the last fortnight the media – and the general public – have continued to examine the pros, cons and implications of Te Papa’s conditional invitation to regional museum staff to a collection store tour. After the initial ill-informed knee-jerk responses, it was good to see some more considered and thoughtful pieces appearing in the news. Clearly there are serious issues for any cultural institution to consider, including the rights of donors and original makers, public access, culturally specific expectations, minority viewpoints and changing social attitudes. These are questions which every museum and gallery needs to address from its own perspective, and even though there may be no ‘right’ answers, it is useful to examine and debate them from time to time.

Linking data, linking people was the theme for the very successful and inspiring National Digital Forum conference held at Te Papa last week. It was great to see so many museum and gallery colleagues from around the country there, with lots of opportunities for catching up as well as some really terrific presentations. The general atmosphere was upbeat – I heard less of ‘we’d love to do all this if we had funding/permission/time/skills’, and more of ‘we could give that a go’. There was also a reassuring acknowledgement that digital is not different or extra, but intrinsic to all that we do – working methods, personal communication, means of information gathering – as well as being part of the business of museums, galleries, libraries and archives. As Nick Poole tweeted, “we have to stop regarding technology as the achievement”.

We’ll let you know when conference presentations are up online. Meanwhile you can see the official conference Twitter feed from @ndf2010 here, and if you’re really keen there is an archived version of all the #ndf2010 Twitter activity. It was also a milestone for the NDF to be registered as an Incorporated Society on 18 October – opening the way for more independent activity as a legal entity. The new Board will be meeting soon to begin planning various initiatives including next year’s 10th NDF conference.

A couple of weeks earlier Museums Australia held their conference Interesting times in Melbourne. I’ve spoken to several people who were able to attend, and by all accounts it too had lots of good ideas and opportunities. Australian Regan Forrest has written several blog posts here. This year’s Museums Australia Multimedia & Publication Design Awards (MAPDA) awards were announced during the conference in Melbourne. Once again NZ galleries were prominent – congratulations to category winners Christchurch Art Gallery (‘The Vault’ exhibition catalogue) and Dunedin Public Art Gallery (‘Beloved’ book and invitation, also highly commended for ‘Log’ magazine).

And while in Australian mode, check out the recently revamped website of the National Museum of Australia here, a rich source for all kinds of content.

Back in the office, we’ll be sending out a notice about our own MA11 conference soon. We have 3 international keynote speakers to announce, taking various views on the collections theme. Make sure you plan to be in Nelson 13-15 April 2011, and watch this space!

Ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie

News Update

Kia ora koutou,

This is a follow up to yesterday’s notice, bringing you a special instalment of our regular news updates ahead of schedule. As our media monitoring service is now picking up some stories from Canterbury about earthquake damage, we are keen to keep you up to date.

The latest batch of news clippings has been uploaded onto our site, for you to download here. Remember you need to be logged in to view (see the instructions at the end of this email if you have trouble). There is no index for this batch yet, but we’ll put one up shortly.

We’re conscious of the fact that there are still lots of aftershocks (and new shocks) keeping people on edge, and we’ve even felt a few small ones here in Wellington today. It is an unnerving time, and we would like to reiterate our concern and support for our colleagues down south. We have also recieved the following letter of support from Museums Australia, which we would like to pass on, below:

On behalf of Museums Australia, our President (Dr Darryl McIntyre), the National Council and all colleagues in Australia, we wish to send an expression of general concern and support after the tragic effects of the earthquake in Christchurch at the weekend.

Messages have been criss-crossing between particular colleagues across the Tasman since Saturday. I was particularly relieved to see Jenny Harper’s message about the good condition of her gallery – that the McDougall seems to have withstood the earthquake safely. However we still await relays of news about other bodies and custodians of New Zealand’s heritage, and simply wish to express our heartfelt anxiety for the general welfare of all people affected by this natural disaster.

Please accept this general message as conveying our encompassing concern for you all in New Zealand/Aotearoa at this very stressful time, when such devastation and disruption has befallen our good friends and colleagues.

We think of you all keenly at this time.

Bernice Murphy
National Director
Museums Australia

You will have seen from the news coverage that there has been damage to many historic properties in the region, with demolition inevitable for some. This is obviously cause for much sadness, and now questions arise about what happens next. Check out this blog that’s sprung up, covering one resident’s perspective thus far: http://rebuildingchristchurch.wordpress.com/

Here’s another link to a comprehensive collection of pictures that is being pulled from multiple sources, giving an indication of the quake damage: http://www.crashbang.co.nz/quake040910/index.html

And here is yesterday’s blog post from Jenny Harper at Christchurch Art Gallery ‘Emergency HQ’:
http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/news/bulletin/2010/09/06/emergency-hq/

Also on the same blog is a post by Librarian Tim Jones, with a small but poignant observation from his library:
http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/news/bulletin/2010/09/06/library-unscathed/

Nga mihi nui,

Phillipa and Sophie

Best wishes to colleagues in Canterbury

Kia ora koutou,
Despite the shock of the Canterbury earthquake, we are very pleased that the damage to museums and collections appears to be very minor. We have been in touch with museum colleagues in the affected area today. While we have not been able to contact every museum, most that we have heard from say that their buildings are unscathed, and the larger institutions are almost unaffected – except that they will be closed for a few days and Christchurch Art Gallery has transformed into a Civil Defence centre. The same goes for collections – it seems that museums have been very good at securing their objects on display, using museum wax, fixed mounting techniques and other means which have minimised movement and damage.

Others have not faired so well. There has been some chimney damage at Okains Bay Museum and the Lyttelton Timeball Station. The Logie Collection of antiquities at Canterbury University has sustained significant damage. And our sympathies go to William Cottrell, whose Gunyah homestead near Mt Hutt was badly damaged when 6 chimneys fell through the roof, and some of the collection of colonial furniture smashed. Other historic homes and buildings have been badly damaged, some probably beyond repair, including Christchurch Repertory Theatre, Homebush and Ohinetahi homesteads. It has been reported that the Kaiapoi Museum has also suffered badly, but we have no further details.

If there is anyone wanting assistance, please do let us know. Staff at the larger museums have offered help and advice, and Museums Aotearoa can put you in touch with someone with suitable expertise.

We are extremely thankful that the earthquake happened at 4.30am when so few people were about to get in the path of falling facades and verandas in the inner city. Taken on a global scale, the people of Canterbury have got off very lightly. And it is a powerful reminder to us all to think again about our preparedness, both professionally and personally, for when the next earthquake strikes.

Kia kaha,

Phillipa and Sophie


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