journal of museums aotearoa
NEW YEAR, NEW MEDIUM
Welcome to the first issue of Te Ara – Journal of Museums Aotearoa to appear on-line. The fiscal realities of publishing in print led the Board of Museums Aotearoa to reconsider its communications strategy, so we have followed the lead of many museums into cyberspace. Knowing that there will be members and readers who remain loyal to the printed word, we now have two options available for Te Ara in addition to the electronic version. Single articles can be readily downloaded, but libraries and fans of the traditional journal format can still obtain each new issue in hard copy through the Print on Demand option.
Once we have fully mastered the new electronic format, the intention is to continue to produce two issues annually. In the period since our last issue, much has happened on the museum and cultural heritage scene, but it does not always get discussed in any depth among the museum community. Legislative changes have updated the Protected Objects Act 1975; the Office of the Auditor-General has produced an important report on the management of collections within local authority funding spheres; Auckland Museum has completed its 12 year refurbishment programme; Te Papa is celebrating its tenth birthday; TheNewDowse and Tauranga Art Gallery are breaking new ground and many other institutions are advancing their own developments. Local government elections have changed the political flavour of several territorial authorities, while a General Election in 2008 could foreshadow higher level policy changes. Our sector will increasingly find itself facing the effects of macroeconomic factors – oil prices, credit squeezes, the high New Zealand dollar, fluctuating tourism flows. And then there is climate change… All of these have impacts on the museum sector and merit reflection and debate in Te Ara , so contributions in any of these areas are welcomed.
COLLECTIONS IN THE REAL AND VIRTUAL WORLDS
As Museums Aotearoa proceeds with implementing A Strategy for the Museum Sector in New Zealand (2005), collections will get greater public attention through the Distributed National Collection project. Parallel initiatives, such as forthcoming features for New Zealand Museums On-line, should encourage the availability of collection information via museums’ websites. How will these developments affect the numbers of visitors and researchers engaging with “the real thing”? The jury is still deliberating, but there’s no doubt that museums need to experiment with emerging communications technologies if they are to capture the attention of the digitally literate. iPods, Blackberries and multi-functional mobile telephones are just the beginning. Can museums keep up?
LAST UPDATED: 28/06/2010