Posts Tagged 'Tairawhiti Museum'

iPads and Coconuts by Aaron Compton

I’ve been looking at trends in museum education. It’s a pretty specialised role and in New Zealand there is a very small community of us, so I like to think it’s easy for us to set our own trends. For instance I just noticed that Te Papa is doing light painting for Matariki this year.

Hell, at Tairawhiti Museum we’ve been doing that since 2011. I’m a trendsetter.

Sophie: This girl disappeared down a wormhole, leaving only her shape on the wall behind her. But really we waved lights behind this girl to get her silhouette, she stepped away and we shone a torch on the ngatu where she had been standing

Sophie: This girl disappeared down a wormhole, leaving only her shape on the wall behind her. But really we waved lights behind this girl to get her silhouette, she stepped away and we shone a torch on the ngatu where she had been standing

Light painting is an activity with a definite WOW factor for children, teachers and parents. Take a dark room, a webcam hooked up to a long-exposure app and a big screen, some pretty light sticks and torches in different colours, add a group of excitable children and you’ve got some fun times ahead. You can draw in the air and make freaky portraits and the results appear in real time on the big screen; you can then print them out or give them to the teacher as .JPGs.

This is the kind of museopunk thing I love (check out museopunks.org ). It stemmed from me wanting a hands on activity to go with the graffiti art exhibition we had, but not wanting to mess with spray paint fumes in our enclosed classroom space, or to have to explain to parents why I was teaching their children to be vandals.

Tagging: A budding graffiti artist writes his tag in the air. No paint, no fumes, no clean up.

Tagging: A budding graffiti artist writes his tag in the air. No paint, no fumes, no clean up.

There is a lot of high tech stuff I and other museum folk dream of doing. iPads, wifi through all the galleries, location awareness, all that good, expensive stuff. I don’t have a budget for iPads. What I can afford though is coconuts.

Back in 2012 when the Transit of Venus was all we could talk about here in Tairawhiti, I was thinking about navigation. I wanted those iPads but instead my mind went to what I had heard called a ‘starpeeker’– a coconut shell with holes drilled at certain places to align with stars. I wasn’t sure how it worked but the idea appealed.

So I did a mash up of this Polynesian navigation device with a European one – a map. I made 15 maps of our gallery space and on each one put 2 different coloured footprints. Each map goes with a specific, numbered, starpeeker coconut with 2 sets of holes colour coded to the footprints on the map. When a pair of students find the exact right spot in the gallery where the footprints on their map should be, they can look up through the starpeeker and find the right coloured star in the rafters. When all is aligned correctly an arrow on the starpeeker points them in the direction of a certain taonga, and they have to answer a question about that taonga. Phew.

Children at Tairawhiti Museum use a mashup of European and Polynesion navigation techniques to find their way through the gallery.

Children at Tairawhiti Museum use a mashup of European and Polynesion navigation techniques to find their way through the gallery.

It was hugely complicated to set up but worth it – children really have to think to succeed with this and teachers love it, it aligns with a lot of NZ Curriculum stars.

Wifi? No. Location awareness? YES!

High tech is trending highly but hands on activities will always be in style. The low tech backlash starts here. Go and buy some coconuts!

Aaron Compton
Education Officer, Tairawhiti Museum

 

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News Update June 26

Kia ora ,

It has been another busy couple of weeks, with newspapers reporting council funding decisions, new exhibitions and other museum sector activities – including citizens and politicians in Dunedin debating renaming of Otago Settlers Museum, the Sarjeant Gallery’s partial closure due to earthquake risk, and Te Papa paying $1.5 million for the piano Michael Parakowhai made for the Venice Biennale. Auckland Art Gallery has added to its haul of awards, including the NZIA 2012 NZ Architecture Medal and Chris Saines’ CNZM in the Queens’ Birthday Honours, this time scooping three of the 2012 NZ Property Council Awards – Rotorua Museum only got one.

Statistics survey(s) current and coming up
We have mentioned before that MA is working on a bigger and better sector statistics project. This is now scheduled for August, and museum and gallery organisations will soon be contacted to ask for your input. This is a vital piece of work for all of us – each institution needs to have such data for its own planning, and sharing it enables everyone to gain a better understanding of the bigger picture into which we all fit. MA has engaged researcher Lisa McCauley to run the survey, whom some of you might know from her time as Auckland Museum’s research manager, and we’ve convened a small reference group to ensure that the project is robust, authoritative, useful and accessible. We’re also working with key stakeholders such as MCH and ATTTO as both providers and users of our sector information.

Staff appointments – Waikato, Rotorua, Waitangi, Palmerston North, Auckland…
Waikato Museum has welcomed new Director, Cherie Meecham, lately Deputy Director at Rotorua Museum, and will shortly farewell Deputy Director Andy Lowe to take up the Director’s vacancy at Te Manawa. Now Rotorua is now to also lose its Director, with Greg McManus to become Chief Executive of the Waitangi National Trust in early August. So we anticipate a bit of movement around the country, with a record 17 vacancies advertised in May, and senior appointments awaited at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Tairawhiti Museum, and several at Auckland Museum.

There are plenty of interesting and useful opportunities and events coming up in the second half of this year. Training sessions for UNESCO’s Memory of the World project will be held this week and next in Wellington and Dunedin, and Auckland will host creative sector networking event Survive and Thrive in early July. November’s INTERCOM conference in Sydney has extended its call for papers until 15 July. Nga mihi o Matariki,

Phillipa & Talei

PS – we’re enjoying finding out about Matariki and all things astronomical with the Carter Observatory on Facebook – a great example of successful museum engagement via social media.


News Update 14 June

Kia ora,

There have been consultations and announcements about council funding around the country, and most councils seem to be continuing to support culture and heritage – although not always as much as we would hope. In this financial climate just holding the status quo can be seen as a victory. The newspapers are covering museum and gallery activities around the country, and the latest news can be read by members on our website here. In other news, we were delighted to hear that Mana Recovery won the Green Gold category at the Wellington Gold Awards last week. Mana Recovery employ people with disabilities, and made our wonderful recycled banner bags for the MA12 conference. The Gold Awards also recognised Denis Adam, whose Adam Foundation has been very supportive of the arts. And a reminder that you can listen to Radio NZ broadcasts via the internet, including an interview with Aotea Utanganui’s Cameron Curd on last week’s Arts on Sunday and an item on the proposed Hundertwasser Arts Centre in Whangarei the week before.

Statistics and research
Museum organisations should have received an invitation from Strategic Pay to participate in this year’s museum sector remuneration survey. Now in its third year, this survey is providing extremely useful information. MA worked with Strategic Pay to set up the survey, and reviews it each year. The report is available for purchase by participating organisations. If you are interested, or your museum has not received an invitation, please contact Strategic Pay or the MA office.

We are working on an expanded museum sector research project. This will provide a comprehensive overview of the museum sector, identify and measure sector trends, and inform and assist with advocacy and strategic and business planning. We will be contacting museum organisations shortly to explain the project and seek information.

Philanthropy
Philanthropy is top of mind at Creative New Zealand these days. They have recently appointed Jean Goodband in the new role of Manager, Private Giving and Partnerships Programme and are hosting the Guy Mallabone Sessions on fundraising. They will shortly be launching a new philanthropy programme to help the arts sector to identify and develop alternative sources of funding. “There is huge potential to grow a culture of giving to the arts in New Zealand and this programme will be key to realising this,” Jean says.

New Zealanders and the Arts
Creative New Zealand has also recently made available online the reports from its research New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, Attendance and Participation in 2011. This project aims to provide insights that help the arts community and its supporters identify new trends in a changing environment and take up new opportunities. The research was conducted by independent research company Colmar Brunton. It builds on previous research in 2005 and 2008. A full report of the national results and a video of New Zealanders talking about what the arts mean to them are available on the Creative New Zealand website.

MCH appointments
As well as moving their office down the street – to almost opposite MA – the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has just made appointments to three new staff positions. Dr David Butts will move from Tairawhiti Museum to the role of Manager Heritage Operations in July, and Ralph Johnson will be Manager Heritage Policy. Bev Hong has joined the Cultural Policy Branch as Senior Adviser, Cultural Sector Research – we will be working with Bev and Murray Costello on our museum sector statistics project.

Mystery Item
Karel Kaio, Collections Manager at Kiwi North (Whangarei Museum and Heritage Park) was searching through some unregistered museum dental items and has come across one that has her stumped. Can you help identify this tool?

Dimensions are : 225mm (L) x 880mm (W) x 50mm (H). Materials: Bone (handle) and Brass

CONTACT INFO: Karel Kaio, Collections Manager, Kaitiaki Taonga P: +64 9 438 9630 ext 3 E: karel@kiwinorth.co.nz

 

Nga mihi o Matariki,
Phillipa & Talei


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