Posts Tagged 'Museums Australia'

News Update 26 May 2014

Kia ora

Over last weekend and International Museum Day, Phillipa and a small contingent of Kiwis were among around 400 delegates at Museums Australia’s conference in Launceston, Tasmania. While the weather was more like our West Coast, the welcome was warm and there were lots of inspiring and thought-provoking presentations as well as great social occasions.

After the conference, some of us headed to Hobart to visit MONA and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). We enjoyed a tour of the award-winning redevelopment of TMAG with Acting Director Jennifer Storer, who many will have met at our MA14 conference. Tasmania has certainly changed in the 20+ years since my last visit. I can recommend both MONA and TMAG in Hobart, and QVMAG in Launceston, who were our generous conference hosts. They all offer a great museum experience, and have their own special characteristics and stories to share.

2014-05 TMAG tour w Jennifer Storer PT P1020052

The Tourism Industry Association has appointed a new CE after Martin Sneddon left to return to the world of cricket. Chris Roberts comes from Tourism New Zealand, and will continue the work of implementing and developing the new Tourism 2025 strategy.

And MBIE has released the International Visitor Survey for the year ended March 2014. The good news is that spending by international visitors in New Zealand has increased nine per cent on the previous year. US visitor spend is up by 55%, and visitors from China are also spending more. This correlates to the predicted shift in Chinese visitation from low-cost packages towards longer stay and higher spending individuals.

This week is Samoan Language week, check out the facebook page. If you want to make sure you know the dates for all the pacific language weeks go to this page for the full list for 2014.

If you are in need of some light diversion this week check out Otago Museum’s entry to #museumdanceoff. For more on what this is all about check out ‘When You Work At a Museum‘ .

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa and Talei


News Update 4 June 2013

Kia ora,

The new MA Board met for the first time in Wellington on 13 May. We reviewed feedback from the MA13 conference and Kahui Kaitiaki, and planned priority activities for the coming months. We are excited to be working on a series of regional forums for members and museum staff to get together to discuss key issues. The first of these will be in Napier on 11 July.

MA13 conference material is now online, including videos of keynote presentations on YouTube.

We are delighted to see that Auckland Museum, finalist in the 2013 NZ Museum Awards for its energy saving project, is now a finalist in the Green Ribbon Awards to be announced at Parliament tomorrow (World Environment Day).

Dr Ian Griffin, new Director of Otago Museum has told Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ’s Nine to Noon that ‘museums are absolutely critical to any civilised society’. Listen to the interview to hear more of his background and ideas about museums in general and Otago Museum in particular.

The Museums Australia conference in Canberra was a good opportunity to see how colleagues across the Tasman are dealing with very similar challenges and issues as we are. In some areas they seem to be doing well – while funding is always an issue, the general feeling was positive, and some exciting projects were showcased. In engagement with indigenous and diverse communities there was recognition that there is much that Australia can learn from Aotearoa. Canberra was in celebratory mood, with a year-long programme of festivals and events marking its centenary. While I wasn’t in the right place at the right time to see it floating above the city, Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale hot-air balloon sculpture occasioned much discussion alongside the more serious conference topics.

Phillipa with The Lady Denman

Phillipa with The Lady Denman

On the way back from Canberra I stopped in at the Lady Denman Maritime Museum in Jervis Bay. I had not planned the visit – it was raining, the museum happened to be well-signposted, and I was looking for a break from driving. While I didn’t wander the extensive grounds and outbuildings because of the rain, there was plenty to see inside besides the centrepiece Sydney Harbour ferry ‘Lady Denman’ (1911-1979) which was built nearby. The museum has the eclectic collection of miscellany you expect in a community museum, including local history, shipwreck stories, and an extensive personal collection of surveyors’ instruments and maritime memorabilia. As a hub for its community, I experienced the strains of the local men’s choir rehearsing, a delightful volunteer who wanted to share her enthusiasm for every aspect of the museum, and could have purchased local art and craft. In addition, I found that the museum manager (and only paid staff member) was MA member Melinda Loe, formerly of Te Papa and more recently the Rocks Discovery Museum in Sydney. Mel has been there a few months now, and would love more visits from fellow New Zealanders.

He tangata, He tangata, He tangata! the theme for National Volunteer week, 16-22 June. This is a special time to recognise and celebrate the wonderful work of volunteers, without whom many museums simply could not operate. See Volunteering NZ for resources and ideas. Also coming up is Maori Language Week, 1-7 July, with the theme Ngā Ingoa Māori – Māori names. Coming alongside Matariki, there are ideas, activities and resources on the Korero Māori website and MLW Facebook page.

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa and Talei

STOP PRESS – MA14 conference, Napier, 2-4 April 2014

Reserve the dates now, and send us your ideas any time. We’ll put out a preliminary call for contributions very soon.

News Update 21 May 2013

Kia Ora,

Phillipa has spent the last few days in Canberra at the Museums Australia conference. She and a small contingent of kiwis presented papers – Jenny Harper from Christchurch Art Gallery, and Nicola Railton, Bernard Makoare and Megan McSweeney from Auckland Museum. The conference was three full days in Canberra’s bright cold early winter. Coinciding not only with International Museum Day, but also Canberra’s centennial and the final days of the Australian National Museum’s Andrew Sayers’ term as President of the Museums Australia National Council, it brought together a showcase of Australia’s national institutions with around 500 delegates from across the country.

Delegates enjoy the lunchtime sun – up to 13C after frosts for the last 3 nights

Delegates enjoy the lunchtime sun – up to 13C after frosts for the last 3 nights

The Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards (MAPDA) 2013 included several successful New Zealand entries. Congratulations to Dunedin Public Art Gallery, winner of their website category, Te Papa joint winner for Buller’s Birds, and Christchurch Art Gallery, highly commended for their Bulletin. Overall, the conference was a great experience, and Phillipa is coming home with new ideas and opportunities for more trans-Tasman collaborations.

The Museum of Wellington City & Sea made international news in last week’s list of the World’s 50 Best Museums nominated by a ‘panel of experts’ for The Times (UK). Ranking number 41 in such illustrious company is pretty good going – congratulations to all who sail in her. It’s also good to see that the Dominion Post picked up the story here. No NZ art museums made the previous week’s list of the World’s 50 greatest galleries (article put online by the Yale Centre for British art, no.15). The closest is the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (no.46) and the list is topped by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Museum sector research
Our research programme continues, which we see as a vital contribution to advocacy and resources for our members and for the sector. There is currently a range of data collection by MA and other organisations:

The 2013 Museum Sector Remuneration Survey is being prepared by Strategic Pay. Museums with paid staff will be receiving an invitation to participate soon – it costs nothing to enter your data and the more museums included the more complete and robust the information. There is a charge for the full report, which ranges from $195 to $700 for participating museums, depending on size.

A new association membership survey is being administered by Survey Matters. All paid individual members should have received an invitation to participate in this Australasia-wide survey – thank you to those who have already completed it.
The annual Visitor Survey is complete and participating museums have been sent their clean data. We will be publishing a summary of this year’s survey very soon.

The 2012 Sector Survey report and executive summary are available for download here. In the coming months we plan to prepare a ‘prettier’ publication summarising the key findings for more general use, and will be looking at the best way to continue this vital research on a regular basis.
International research can also help us to advocate here. The Arts Council England has just released a comprehensive independent research report on The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy, which quantifies the actual economic and value-added contribution, as well as the ‘spillover’ effects of a vibrant cultural community.

And lastly a reminder that MA members are invited to comment on the revised Code of Ethics 2013 by 14 June 2013.

Nga mihi,
Phillipa and Talei

Reflections on MA 12 – An Australian Perspective, Elizabeth Marsden

Today we have an outside perspective on MA12 by Elizabeth Marsden from Museums Australia.

An Australian perspective.

The conference for me brought out many similarities between the current Australian and New Zealand museum perspectives. The New Zealand convergence experience is an area which many Australian organisations have been watching with a keen interest over the years and is a trend which now occurs more regularly in Australia, especially in regional centres, and we share many of the same issues raised through such amalgamations. In particular I found Hammi Piripi’s presentation on the Te Ahu development an excellent case study and especially appreciated his comment of community ‘partnership rather than consultation’ being the key to success. Remaining relevant was an underlying theme which continued to pop-up. Indeed there appears to be a shared trans-national pattern here, with those museums closely aligned with their local population and government often being the most successful in terms of both relevance and financial stability.

Elizabeth Marsden and Phillipa Tocker

During the panel discussion, Wira Gardiner touched on a future challenge for New Zealand museums – to go beyond biculturalism towards greater multicultural representation. I found this comment particularly interesting as in Australia I feel we are arguably struggling with the reverse: being a multicultural country now seeking a more balanced and authentic representation of our Aboriginal Australians. While massive steps have been made with regards to this in Australia in the past three decades, I do feel our different approach to national identity has possibly slowed indigenous representation in Australian museums and we are now playing catch-up. Possibly the same is true with presenting a multicultural New Zealand?

I left the conference asking myself why there isn’t greater collaboration and conversation between Australian and New Zealand museums. Given we are such close neighbours with an interconnected history I feel there is a lot to be gained through greater involvement with each other’s national museum forums. Each of us excels in our own particular areas, and these represent ideas, experiences and methodologies from which we both could learn, but only if they are brought to the same table.

Elizabeth Marsden
Manager, Museum Accreditation Program, Museums Australia (Victoria)

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 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:

Here’s another link to a comprehensive collection of pictures that is being pulled from multiple sources, giving an indication of the quake damage:

And here is yesterday’s blog post from Jenny Harper at Christchurch Art Gallery ‘Emergency HQ’:

Also on the same blog is a post by Librarian Tim Jones, with a small but poignant observation from his library:

Nga mihi nui,

Phillipa and Sophie

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