By Judith Taylor, South Island Museum Development Adviser | Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga, National Services Te Paerangi
At National Services Te Paerangi we find many ways to help meet the development needs of museums.
Chatham Island Museum Manager, Eva Gregory-Hunt, recently came to mainland New Zealand to investigate newer museums in the Canterbury Region as the Chatham Island Museum and Cultural Heritage Charitable Trust is in the planning stages for a new museum. Together we visited Akaroa, Ashburton Museum and Art Gallery, Kaiapoi and Kaikoura museums as well as meeting staff at the Canterbury Museum. We learnt some critical things about managing relationships, project management and order of work that can affect the success of a project.
”As we are in the planning stages of building a new museum,” Eva said, “the Trustees felt it would be a perfect opportunity to send me out meet and seek advice from experienced museum personnel while we plan and draft a set of preliminary requirements for our new museum.”
“These meetings were invaluable and we can already see the benefits in the close dialogue we have with the designers. We were taken through the display and back of house areas and shown what has or hasn’t worked and what to avoid. As museum specifications are different to a normal build, we need to have someone who understands this and is willing to be a part of our team and help us achieve a fit for purpose space.”
“I was amazed at the time [staff from these organisations] spent with me despite their obviously busy schedules. Everyone was genuinely encouraging and keen to assist. The information and guidance given, has helped me in many other areas besides designing the new building.”
Teviot Museum in Roxborough Central Otago is working with Teviot Valley Community Development Officer Jennie Clarke. Jennie is helping the museum to access programmes and grants for their project to manage, catalogue and digitise their collections so these can be more widely shared. The museum approached us requesting eHive cataloguing training and Leisa Taylor from Vernon Systems Ltd agreed to lead a workshop at the museum in partnership with NSTP.
The workshop was attended by seven Teviot District Museum volunteers along with representatives from Millers Flat Bakehouse and Hokonui Pioneer Village and Museum.
Jennie noted how valuable a hands-on component was in this workshop: “The workshop included a brief presentation about National Services Te Paerangi; a comprehensive ‘tour’ of eHive; creating a record (we each created our own); a discussion of copyright and useful copyright tools; uploading images; and much to everyone’s delight, Leisa and the group together created an eHive account for the Teviot District Museum. Now, we are almost ready to begin. There is definitely increased enthusiasm for the project and a far greater understanding of the processes involved.”
Following on from the workshop the museum is requesting an Expert Knowledge Exchange to guide them through museum practices for preservation of their collection. This exchange programme is a way for sector experts to share their knowledge with other museums and can cover a wide range of training opportunities.
Helping Hands Grants, Travel Subsidy Grants and Professional Development Grants can also be used to support work and training in museums.
For more intensive training consider enrolling in the ServiceIQ New Zealand Certificate in Museum Practice, an affordable programme to introduce staff to museum practice in house. Trainees are supported and assessed by NSTP staff and there are also workshops on some topics.
Whatever stage museums are at, training in and refreshing your disaster planning and management is essential. In August Vesna Zivkovic lead a workshop Do your Own Disaster Plan with the Canterbury Disaster Salvage Team in partnership with NSTP and Wigram Airforce Museum.
Vesna has extensive international experience that includes emergency management, storage and preservation for museum collections. Participants from all over New Zealand enjoyed the interactive workshop peppered with fun team testing and building exercises. Everyone went away with resources and renewed motivation to adequately prepare for disaster.
I acknowledge the late Therese Angelo Director Airforce Museum Wigram who supported and encouraged NSTP’s work in Canterbury during the earthquake recovery period. I will miss her strong, generous, unwavering commitment to collaboration and training in the museum sector.
David Luoni is taking up a year secondment from his current role as Heritage Officer Gore District Council and coordinator for Museums of Southland digitisation pilot Project Ark. He will manage the Southland Museum and Art Gallery museum project on a fixed term contract.
I am also making a short term change and will be taking on the part time role of Director at Hokitika Museum for the next year, to support the early stages and background work for proposed museum redevelopment and seismic upgrade of the Carnegie Building. This is a great opportunity to be involved in an exciting project in its initial stages and I am sure NSTP resources and programmes and colleagues’ knowledge and support will be fully utilised!
Please call in and visit us at Hokitika museum if you are on the West Coast. There’s a lot happening here, including the well-known Wildfoods Festival.