Posts Tagged 'News'

News Update 13 July 2011

The latest museum news round-up is full of positive stories of happenings in museums and galleries around the country as well as the effects of more earthquakes in Christchurch and the recovery efforts.  You can find this in the members’ area of our website here (note: you need to be a member of Museums Aotearoa to access this information).

More rounds of consultation are underway aorund the country.  Especially at the local government level, this seems to be continuous – if not drafting the next Annual Plan, there’s a specific topic such as animal control, transport or parking to consider, or another round of Long Term Plan consultation.  One reason for this is that we’re living in a time of constant change.  So it seems incredible that many of us, including Museums Aotearoa, are still operating under 103-year old legislation.

Currently much of our not-for-profit sector is governed by the century old Incorporated Societies Act 1908 – an Act which the Law Commission argues is in need of major reform.  Introducing the review, Law Commissioner Professor Geoff McLay says preliminary consultation and research suggested there were a number of problems with the old Act including the lack of adequate processes for dealing with conflicts of interests and resolving internal disputes.  “Getting basic governance structures right, understanding what is appropriate conduct for those who govern societies, and providing for suitable mechanisms for resolving disputes is critical for all organisations, especially those which seek government or other sponsorship. The 1908 Act, in our view, does not require societies to ask the appropriate questions when they are being set up. Nor does it provide incentives for already existing societies to improve.”

The Law Commission has released an Issues Paper exploring the shortcomings of the 1908 Act, the implications of possible changes, and seeking public input into the review/reform process.  The paper acknowledges the valuable contribution of non-profit organisations, especially incorporated societies, to society as a whole.  It seeks to create an ‘enabling environment’, with a balance between greater accountability and governance controls, and unnecessary compliance costs.

The range of issues and options for reform raised in the paper includes:

  • minimum governance rules as a condition of incorporation
  • a code that makes the obligations of committee members clearer
  • how to provide for the resolution of disputes between members and their societies
  • what rules ought to be required to societies’ constitutions
  • whether a new Incorporated Societies Act should also replace the ability to incorporate under the Charitable Trusts Act

There are 23,052 incorporated societies and 20,106 charitable trusts in New Zealand.  A quick search of the register brings up 99 societies and 113 charitable trusts with museum or gallery in their name.  These include not only museums and galleries themselves, but also friends and supporters organisations, and some institutions have two or more societies and trusts associated with them.  I encourage all museums and galleries to look into the implications and opportunities raised by this review, to seek input from your governance bodies and legal advisors, and to respond to the Law Commission by 30 September 2011.

Te Papa  is also in consultation mode.  They have already done a great deal of work with their staff, and are now seeking wider stakeholder input into developing Te Papa’s proposed vision and ten year strategic plan.  There is an online discussion, ‘Envisioning the Future’, where you can provide direct feedback.  The Te Papa Statement of Intent 2011-2014 has also been released, and can be downloaded here.

On the national stage, we’re gearing up for two major festivals – the Rugby World Cup 2011 and November’s general election.  Your views on the election issues and policies as they affect our sector are invited, and MA will be bringing you some commentary as we get closer to the election.  However, we’ll leave the rugby commentary up to others!

And on a final note, we’ve just been sent this picture by the folk at the Far North Regional Museum, which we shall share with you. They’re going full steam ahead with preparations for moving into the Te Ahu complex, Kaitaia’s new multi-purpose community facility.  Te Ahu will be a focus for both visitors and local communities, bringing together the functions of museum, i-Site, Library and exhibition space, alongside a cinema, council service centre and other community activities.  More images, plans and information is on the Te Ahu website here www.teahu.org.nz

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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.

News Update 10 February 2011

The latest batch of museum news is online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view). We’re a couple of days late with the latest news as we’ve been away in Rotorua. The Museums Aotearoa Board met on Tuesday, hosted in fine style by Rotorua Museum. We really appreciated their cheerful hospitality as well as their air conditioning – it felt like about 30 degrees outside, especially to those of us from further south! and it was great to have an opportunity to see their re-development progress, which is on track towards a successful opening on 20 August.

Museums Aotearoa Board Members inspecting progress at Rotorua Museum

We also really enjoyed meeting with members from the area, some of whom had driven quite some distance to be there. We had afternoon tea and a good discussion of current issues and projects, including the work towards accreditation for museums and galleries in New Zealand. This is an important development in encouraging and recognising best practice standards in all museum and galleries, whatever their size. Another topic of discussion was a review of the Code of Ethics. We will have discussion papers about both these projects circulated for debate at the AGM in April.

MA11 conference planning has been taking much of our time, with details of the 3-day programme on Collecting Culture being finalised. Our hosts at Nelson Provincial Museum and the Suter are looking forward to welcoming colleagues to their place, and to their region. The first day of the conference will be held at the pan-iwi Whakatū Marae which will provide an ideal setting to explore bicultural collections. Thursday and Friday will be at various venues, including the Suter and Nelson Provincial Museum, with the Awards dinner at Nelson School of Music. The conference will be followed by a BarCamp convened by National Services Te Paerangi on Saturday 16 April. More details and registration information are on our website, make sure you register before 25 February to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount. And don’t forget, National Services have travel subsidies available, specifically to assist smaller organisations to attend MA11. These are being administered via the Helping Hand Grants, click here for application forms.

Here in Wellington, talk is focussed on politics. Controversy within the Māori Party is hotly debated, as well as the second reading of the new Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill. This Bill is being brought to the House by Hon Christopher Finlayson, as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. Being Attorney General as well as the Arts, Culture & Heritage portfolio, our Minister is a very busy man. Currently before the parliament he also has the Cultural Property (Protection in Armed Conflict) Bill (to enable NZ to ratify an international convention), the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Bill (which re-jigs the Arts Council and its committees), the Ngā Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill, Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill, a Legislation Bill and a Whanganui Iwi Bill.

On top of all this, the General Election has been set for 26 November this year. So it is even more vital that issues for the museum and gallery sector are well-understood by politicians on all sides of the debate. Museums Aotearoa keeps in contact with various ministers and MPs, in government and in opposition. Next week we have another meeting with Hon Christopher Finlayson, and we’re delighted that he will address the MA11 conference at the closing session on Friday 15 April.

This month deadlines are looming for conference registration and awards entries. More details are on our website, or contact us at the Museums Aotearoa office in Wellington.

Ka kite,

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 Update 22 December 2010

Kia ora

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

This is an action-packed last round-up for 2010. The notices include:

  • MA11 conference registration
  • 2011 NZ Museum Awards applications
  • Attingham Summer School 2011
  • National Visitor Research project (February 2011)

All these are activities which happen early in the new year, and have deadlines, so please note them for your January ‘to do’ list!

The news includes items about some wonderful exhibitions and public programmes in museums and galleries around the country, so it’s going to be a busy summer. One that has captured media attention is Outrageous Fortune at Auckland Museum (details here). Coinciding nicely with the end of the long-running series, the exhibition promises lots of fun and through the exhibition, the show will live on, with the public invited to submit scripts to be filmed in the exhibition’s set. It is also an opportunity to consider why this particular TV show captured the attention of the nation so successfully.

Which reminds me that it also coincides with 50 years of Coronation Street. Kim Hill interviewed Sean Egan, writer of an unofficial history of ‘the street’ on 11 December, exploring some of the reasons why the series has survived so long, and remains popular in so many cultures outside of its setting in the north of England. You can listen to the interview online here. I recommend the Radio NZ website for a wide range of replayable material – great for putting onto an iPod or media player for listening on those long holiday car journeys, or while relaxing in the garden.

Other news covers the roll out of Creative NZ’s Arts Leadership Investment funding, which replaces the ‘recurrent’ scheme. So far 22 organisations have been confirmed, including Objectspace, The Physics Room and Capital E’s National Theatre for Children, and another 10 asked to provide more detailed information over the next few months. Seven other organisations that expressed interest have missed out, and are instead being directed towards another of CNZ’s new schemes, Arts Development Investment. Some newspapers have covered the story, and full details are on the CNZ website here.

Annual report ‘season’ is nearly complete for the larger museums and related organisations such as Historic Places Trust and MCH, and many of these are available online. They make interesting reading if you want to know where our money comes from/goes to and why. There is plenty of other ‘holiday reading’ online, such as:

  • Minister’s Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce report, Growing the pie released 17 December. As well as improving general promotion and recognition, recommendations include: developing a new mentoring and advice initiative; introducing ‘gift aid’; exploring cultural gifting; and matched government funding for private giving.
  • We already mentioned CNZ’s October research report, The art of the possible, on options for strengthening private sector support for the arts.
  • Shane Simpson’s book on Collections Law, covers a wide range of areas such as governance, collection management, acquisitions, deaccessioning and disposal, digitisation, import/export and repatriation, exhibitions and loans, copyright and commercial. Shane will be speaking at MA11 and this nearly completed resource makes great background.

The Board and staff of Museums Aotearoa wish all our members, friends and colleagues an enjoyable summer, and look forward to a happy and productive new year.

We’re closing the Museums Aotearoa office from Friday 24 December, and will re-open on Monday 10 January 2011.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te tau hou,

Phillipa and Sophie


MA11 conference registration

Is opening tomorrow! Look out for our announcement email launching the new website, with programme and registration information on the conference (13-15 April), keynote speakers, workshops, social events and collections BarCamp (16 April).


2011 NZ Museum Awards applications

Also opening officially tomorrow! We’ve simplified the application process and added more awards, including a ‘small museum’ category, and we’re planning a great celebration event in Nelson on 14 April. We will send out further details tomorrow, including links to download the application forms. Applications are due on 24 February 2011, so think about all those great projects and individuals you could enter from your museum or gallery.


Attingham Summer School 2011

Expressions of interest are now invited for the July 2011 Attingham Summer School. This year, The Clark Collection / Creative NZ Scholarship is not being offered. However, to ensure the continuation of this valuable opportunity, support is available through the generosity of Mr Clark for an approved candidate to attend the Attingham Summer School. Full details are on our website, here.


National Visitor Research project (February 2011)

Early in 2010 we undertook a pilot visitor research project with Victoria University of Wellington and 12 museums and galleries from around the country. The pilot was reported at the MA10 conference, and further work has now been completed to develop the methodology, survey and guidelines into a national project. Early in 2011, museums will be invited to participate in this important work to gather and benchmark visitor information nationally.


 

 

 

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

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). This is currently online as a downloadable PDF, index will follow shortly.

Another busy fortnight, and we’ve been out and about. Both Sophie and I visited Auckland privately, and squeezed in some museum visiting while we were there. I had a quick look at the Walters Prize exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, and visited the new home of the Wallace Arts Trust, the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre at Pah Homestead, where finalists in the 2010 Wallace Art Awards are on show until 3 October before travelling to TheNewDowse (opening 22 October). While we await the announcement of the Walters Prize on 8 October, interviews with the four finalists can be found online here and you can also vote for the ‘Peoples Choice’.

Last week I spent a very enjoyable 2 days in the Far North with the Northland Museums Association. Heritage Kaikohe hosted the meeting, and treated some 40 visitors to train rides as well as warm hospitality and a cosy fire. Serious discussion of museum strategies, national and local issues took up most of Friday, with a little time for local politics as well. The NMA is made up of a wide variety of museums, from the council-owned Whangarei Art Museum, to the independent Kauri Museum, and volunteer-run Hokianga Historical Society (Omapere). They span tourist areas such as Russell and country towns like Kaikohe.

It was sad to hear about Omapere having to move their collections into containers after the building they shared with the i-Site was declared unsafe, although Alexa tells me they have now been offered space at the local school. We wish Far North Regional Museum all the best as they negotiate their way forward as part of the Te Ahu complex, Shirley and friends at the Jack Morgan a successful opening and a well-deserved breather, and Mangawhai Museum success in raising funds to put a roof on top of their newly-built walls and floor. All in the NMA show great enterprise and enthusiasm. Best wishes also to Scott as Chair, Eileen as secretary, and Lynda for her work as out-going secretary. And a big thank-you to all the folk at Heritage Kaikohe for their hospitality, especially Ian, Heather and Trevor.

NMA members take the Heritage Kaikohe train, driven by Trevor Bedggood (photo: Don Hammond/Far North Regional Museum)

I have also been out and about as a ‘lay’ juror for the Wellington branch NZ Institute of Architecture Awards. I’ve seen some really inspiring spaces, both public and private. This has afforded a fascinating insight into how awards work from the selectors’ perspective – very timely as we begin work on growing the Museum Awards for 2011. Watch out for notice of criteria and entry opportunities before the end of the year.

With the school holidays now underway, many museums will be busy with holiday programmes and lots of families visiting. And Auckland is in the thick of its Heritage Festival, with lots of museums and galleries taking part. The festival runs from 18 September to 3 October, click here for details. Further south the biannual Otago Festival of the Arts is coming up 8-17 October, including theatre performances at Otago Settlers Museum and exhibitions at Dunedin Public Art Gallery as well as lots of other dance, theatre and music events. We hope you all have lots of visitors and lots of fun.

Nga mihi,

Phillipa and Sophie

PS – don’t forget to vote for your local mayor and council!

“No one can be forced to vote. However, it’s vitally important that those of us who can, make the effort to do so, even if it only goes so far as reading the voter’s guide that comes with your voting paper before deciding whose name to put a tick beside. If nothing else, to most people’s minds, anyone who chooses not to vote also loses their mandate to complain over the next three years when decisions are made which they do not agree with.”
(Race to be mayor springs into life, Bay of Plenty Times, 25 September 2010)

Ian Wards, Phillipa Tocker, Heather Ayrton and Ian Day at Heritage Kaikohe (photo: Don Hammond/Far North Regional Museum)


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