Keeping your seat warm

Get a seat early!

Photo by Brian Herzog, 2009, via Flickr.

The Museums Australia Conference always offers a big and bountiful program, but this year there are four streams running concurrently and a heap of juicy bits worth racing out the door for as soon as the Keynotes are finished. We don’t want you to miss out, but you’ll need to make a speedy exit, bypass the plates of friands and muffins and the gluten free fruit platter, and head straight to the breakout locations!

Just in case you want us to keep a seat warm for you, we’ve made a list so you know where we’re heading.

Day 1

Heroin for historians: why collections can feed the addiction of genealogists”, presented by Cassie Mercer from Inside History and World War OneLink fame. We thought it might be good to hear about those outside immediate museum staff who need access to collections. We toyed with the parallel session about interpreting commemoration given the attention to Anzac centenary, but couldn’t resist the ‘heroin’ session, as we’ll be caffeinated after our breakfast session at Darling Harbour.

After lunch we’re heading to “Buy it now! Building your collection by going shopping online.” We’re going to this because we’re addicted to eBay, Etsy, Amazon and Asos, and know that there is a heap of valuable A list objects with excellent provenance online where Due Diligence has been carefully observed. While we’re busy buying, you may be thinking sell, sell, sell so the session next door on Deaccessioning might suit you better.

In the afternoon we’ll settle into the theatre to hear the lovely Colin Macgregor, from the Australian Museum talk about “Collection care and sustainability ‐ financial and environmentally sustainable solutions for regional museums” mainly because we like the sound of his voice but also because it’s pertinent to our Standards Program and it’s good to use these national events to collect tips and hear the latest thinking.

... this year there are four streams running concurrently and a heap of juicy bits worth racing out the door for as soon as the Keynotes are finished.

Day 2

There was a lot of squabbling about what to see in the morning session. We were torn between the Indigenous workshops because of the way they include multiple artforms, but eventually the loudest voice won out and we settled on the three sessions listed under “Social inclusion and emotions”. By 12.30 we’ll be well and truly ready for lunch and ravenous after tackling some of the hard questions.

The afternoon sessions caused a spill. Half opted for the Digital stream while the others groaned under the weight of it. 3D caught our interest last year and if we listen hard in “Real and virtual: the role of computed tomography and 3D imaging in museums” we might even find out what ‘tomography’ means. The M&G party poopers will head for “Evaluation, art collections and social history”.

Day 3

Because it’s a Saturday we thought we might need our reality augmented, so we’ve chosen “Using playful technology to exhibit the creativity of expert children  Designs in Augmented Reality” but the real reason is we love playing games and this will cheer us up considerably.

At 11.30 we’ll hop over to catch the session on “Where the medium, the message and the context meet: mapping the visitor experience” because everyone needs to know everything possible about your audience, and if you don’t find out Arts NSW might get cross.

After lunch, our heads will be turned to the Conservation stream where Simon Ives from AGNSW’s Conservation will dissolve layers of yellowed varnish, and peel back ugly infill painting to reveal a long lost treasure, and Tegan Anthes and Andrew Jacob from MAAS will tell us how to conserve the stars. They mean the ones in the sky. Would have thought that was a tad outside our remit but we love people with big vision. Go you good things.

There was a unanimous agreement to go to the “Cultural planning and precincts” session because we’re right into regional tourism, cultural hubs and cool places to go on the weekend and we want more of them. If you need fresh air though, there’s a tour and some outside activities to choose from.

We opted for the Kids stream in the last session, solely because we want to hear stories about what happens when kids accidentally scribble on a prized exhibit instead of on their “Draw your favourite painting Fun Card”, or push their baby brother in the stroller into Ming vase on pedestal. Yep. We do.

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