Posts Tagged 'ICOM'

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.


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:

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.


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


International Museum Day 2011

Issued by Museums Aotearoa
17 May 2011

I remember when…

Memories can be clear or fuzzy, recent or distant, personal or received, happy or sad. It is the accumulation of memory that informs our view of the world. When we collect memories from others, from those that have existed in the past and the now, we enrich ourselves with a deeper understanding of our world.

This week, museums around the world are celebrating International Museum Day with the theme of ‘Museum and Memory’. All kinds of museums collect and exhibit object which tell stories – sparking, sharing and connecting memories from different places and times. The experience of shared memory can be a powerful tool to help individuals to operate collectively as a unified society. Museums have an important role to play in this process, helping people to reflect upon the society in which they live.

Memory is not just reminiscence for the old. While some museums reach back into the distant past, others offer immediate experience which can trigger personal reflection, or be the foundation for new memories. Historical objects and contemporary art are all part of the interplay of object and memory discovered through a visit to a museum of any kind.

Whanganui Regional Museum is combining the theme of International Museum Day with celebrating NZ Music Month. They have a series of events which include concerts on New Zealand’s first barrel organ (1829), ballads and chamber music, indigenous and imported musical traditions – all stirring memories which reflect the rich heritage that contributes to ‘New Zealandness’ today.

At Waikato Museum, the opening of the touring Anne Frank exhibition has been timed to coincide with International Museum Day. This exhibition focuses on the written memories of one individual in extraordinary circumstances, reminding us that sharing another’s memories can help us to understand and learn from history.

An even more personal approach is being taken at the Colonial Cottage Museum in Wellington. Visitors are invited to bring along their own memories, especially those triggered by some of the more intriguing objects in the collection, and share them with museum staff.

Access to collection objects – and to the memory they embody – is being enhanced at Te Papa, with a new loans web page to be launched on International Museum Day. Other museums and galleries around the country are offering free entry, talks and tours, and all will be sure to evoke and enrich memories for those who visit.

Media enquiries: Phillipa Tocker Executive Director, Museums Aotearoa Mob: 021 606 135

Further details

New Zealand museums and public galleries care for more than 40 million items relating to New Zealand’s history, culture and creativity. Generating in excess of 1000 public exhibitions and publications and attracting well over 8 million visits each year, museums and galleries are currently ranked as the top attraction for New Zealand’s overseas visitors.

New Zealand museums are actively focused on enriching their communities by enhancing the quality of their facilities, collections, programmes, products and services.

The last decade has seen unprecedented growth in the establishment and development of museum facilities and services in most regions of New Zealand. Over 3500 people are currently employed in New Zealand museums, and at least twice that number of volunteers. Total annual museum operating and capital expenditure is well in excess of $300 million.

Museums Aotearoa strives to be the strong, objective, fully representative voice for the evolving museum community, and to promote a shared sense of professionalism, solidarity and identity.



An objects from Colonial Cottage Museum, Wellington

News Update 1 April 2011

Taking in the enormity of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami is difficult. The latest message from ICOM Japan on 30 March estimates that there are 400 museum in the areas affected. Information is scarce as access is so limited, and they do not yet know what the future options might be. Of 144 museums whose current situation is known, some museums are safe, and 31 very seriously damaged – ‘some museums were vanished by the Tsunami’. You can read Professor Mizushima’s message uploaded on the nzmuseums blog here.

There is a lot of talk now about the economic effects of the Christchurch earthquake. While our situation may not have the global ramifications of the disaster in Japan, there will still be a major impact on New Zealand’s economy. The howls of anguish as the IRB decision to move the Rugby World Cup games from Christchurch was announced, show how vital tourism is to us. Recent statistics show that not only has international tourism been hit by the global financial crisis which began in 2008, but domestic tourism is also suffering.

Compared to the previous year, figures for the year to December 2010 show:

  • domestic overnight trips fell by 3.8% to 16.1 million
  • domestic day trips fell by 6.5% to 29.a million
  • spend by domestic travellers fell by 1.1% to $8.8 billion.

Many of our museum and gallery visitors are New Zealanders from outside the local area, so this decline may result in lower than predicted visitation for some. For the latest data see

In other research, Suzette Major and Rose Gould-Lardelli are conducting a study of arts management, in particular the role of arts managers and the career paths and general characteristics of those who manage artists or arts organisations in the New Zealand creative industries. Even if you are not currently an ‘arts manager’, your views could contribute to this research – or you could forward this request to other people you know in the arts management field.  Here is a link to the survey:

Roger Fyfe, Senior Curator Anthropology at Canterbury Museum, delivered the 2010 McMillan Brown Lecture series in Christchurch last November. These are now being played on National Radio. The first in the series, ‘Who Owns the Past?’, aired on Sunday 27 March, and surveys the development of museums in New Zealand in the 19th and 20th centuries. If you missed the broadcast, I highly recommend that you download or listen to this fascinating lecture on the Radio NZ website here.

And for those who are interested in images of post- (and pre-) earthquake Christchurch, there is very good high re aerial imagery here.

We’re now in final count-down to the MA11 conference in Nelson. We are expecting around 150 delegates and speakers, and looking forward to some insightful discussion, catching up with friends and colleagues, and having some fun as well. We will be announcing the winners of the 2011 NZ Museums Awards, and electing new Board members at the AGM. Election and voting information will be emailed to members next week.

Kia ora ano,

Phillipa and Sophie

News Update 3 March

Kia ora

We have uploaded the latest batch of news from the print media here, you will need to be logged in the the members’ area to view.

The last week has been overshadowed by news from Christchurch. Our aroha, sympathy and very best wishes are with all our whanau, friends and colleagues who have been caught up in the earthquake and its aftermath. Museums Aotearoa and National Services Te Paerangi are compiling a register of volunteers and ideas to help the Christchurch cultural sector’s recovery. Please contact Sophie de Lautour Kelly at (or call 04 499 1313) if you would like to volunteer or have any suggestions.

We have had messages of solidarity from all over the world, including ICOM headquarters in Paris. Click here to read the ICOM Letter from Director General Julien Anfruns . You can also read and contribute a message of support on our Facebook discussion page here, or in the comments on our previous blogpost here.

In the Christchurch area, people are already pulling together. Thérèse Angelo reports that the Air Force Museum, which suffered only minor damage, is not only providing working space for two government agencies, SPCA/emergency vets and a firm of architects, but their staff are also going out to help Lyttelton Museum volunteers retrieve collection items from their severely damaged building.

Back in the office, we are working on details of the MA11 conference. If you haven’t registered yet, the earlybird rate is available until Monday 7 March. We will extend this rate for people whose plans have been interrupted by the Christchurch earthquake. If this applies to you, please contact the office as soon as you can, so that we may secure you a place.

We have also received an exciting batch of applications for the 2011 New Zealand Museum Awards, and look forward to announcing finalists later this month ahead of the celebration dinner on 14 April.

Nga mihi,

Phillipa and Sophie

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