Last museum missive for 2015

Santa by Bart Fields via Flickr


As the year comes to a close, and we turn our thoughts to the fat man in red and all that his presence entails, we want to leave you with a couple of things to munch on.

The first is to remind people about the changes to next year’s Standards Program.

Up until now, M&G has delivered Standards regionally with 125 organisations completing the program to date. While this mode of delivery has stood the test of time, some people missed out. So to provide a chance for those organisations to participate next year we’re adopting a new model. The program will be available to any organisation across the state and we’ll individualise both schedule and program to suit everyone involved.

If you’d like to explore the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries program with us in 2016, send through an Expression of Interest—in other words, email us and tell us a bit about you and your organisation. We’ll contact you to discuss the program and what’s required to complete it.

The second thing to talk about is our VIMs. We’ve changed the name and dropped the word ‘Initiated’ from the title and are now referring to them as Volunteer Museum Grants. It’s simpler and more descriptive. We still receive the money through Arts NSW’s devolved funding and continue to be responsible for setting the criteria on how the money is used. The grants are targeted to people who work in volunteer-run museums and those with up to 2 full-time staff members.

Geared toward developing skills so you can better engage audiences, and curate and care for your collections, Volunteer Museum Grants are broken down into four categories.

We offer bite–sized pieces like Small Grants which provide up to $2000 for a wide range of short term, collection focused projects. We also offer larger amounts in the Project Development Grant and the Skills Development Grant categories. In 2016 we encourage you to think about these larger Volunteer Museum grants as we’ve found that more money makes a bigger impact—more can be achieved and the results are longer-lasting.

Here’s an example. This year the Mid-North Coast Chapter of Museums Australian received a Skills Development Grant to present ‘No Surprises’—Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Workshop with Preservation Australia. Attracting participants from seven museums in the region, the workshop began with theoretical instruction including a number of case studies and scenarios, and was followed by a practical hands-on session which involved the entire group forming a disaster response team to deal with a ‘water’ disaster. The practical session gave participants a taste of what a real disaster would entail, options for recovery, and how to determine which recovery methods suit particular situations. There were practical take-aways, like the realisation about how much space is required for air-drying even a small quantity of materials and how tedious the task becomes after a short time.

Participants were able to talk to a qualified conservator, and to discuss conservation and preservation options for specific objects in their collections.

These outcomes couldn’t be achieved if such a program was delivered singularly or if regional people joined a large city-based symposium. The collection specific, scenario type learning opportunities likely would not be offered. Good reasons to get together.

So keep an eye on this page, and start thinking about what might be achieved next year with a Volunteer Museum grant.

And lastly, watch out for next week’s M&Gazine as we are publishing some fascinating finds about Murrurundi’s Magic Lantern slides which they recently uncovered—during the Standards Program, interestingly—and which we have been researching during our lunch hour.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a fruitful new year.

Tamara and Margot. Museum Program and Collections, M&G NSW

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