Saturday, 21 March 2020

Tasmanian Museums and Galleries and COVID-19 – message from Janet

from * 

On March 11 the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak of a novel coronavirus and global pandemic and since then, for many of us the world has completely changed, and with it our museums and galleries. I hope you, your family, and your colleagues are safe and well.  Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus AMaGA Tasmania has had to suspend our professional development and networking events, but we are here if you have questions or issues. Please contact one of the committee.

I am sure like me you have been bombarded by articles about the virus, and earnest messages of solidarity from many businesses and organisations over the last few days, so I won’t repeat that again, but I thought it might be useful to bring together some information that is hopefully relevant to the cultural sector in Tasmania. Please feel free to add links you have found useful in the comments section, and help build this into a resource for AMaGA Tasmania.

First and foremost the situation is changing every day, and for the latest health advice for yourself and your organisation in Tasmania see here.

Cultural organisations across Australia have had to cancel programs and events, put in place social distancing, and many have closed to the public, including TMAG, QVMAG and Port Arthur here in Tasmania (see our Facebook post for the dynamic list).  A State of Emergency was declared on Thursday and at present all arrivals in Tasmania (with some exemptions) have to self-isolate for 14 days.  Check here for all the latest announcements by the Tasmanian Government.  With the rapid decline of tourists to the island, Tourism Tasmania is issuing a regular news update with information tailored for visitor attractions and tourism businesses. I would recommend subscribing to both sites, for at least the duration of this crisis.
With the rapid onset of the crisis, many museums have been digging out their disaster or business continuity plans, and adapting them for the current situation, or rapidly putting one together. You might find the following sites from the museum sector in other parts of the world useful if you are making a plan, or reviewing a disaster plan that was put together assuming the threat would be a bushfire or flood (which made perfect sense at the time):

While the odd day working from home isn’t unusual, as collecting institutions and/or historic properties, onsite working is the norm for museums and galleries, but many are now shifting to working remotely, or planning in case it becomes necessary. For many staff and volunteers this will be a major shift in work practices, and while isolation might be necessary, it can be disruptive and upsetting for teams and individuals. See this useful article with tips for handling self-isolation and maintaining connections.  There is a lot of information on productive remote working particularly from the private sector. For instance see for a summary on do’s and don’ts for working from home from the Harvard Business Review.

And what to do if your museum is closed, or your visitors are locked down in their homes? The pandemic is accelerating the production of online content, and there seems to be good awareness building, with many (bored) users eagerly taking it up. ICOM is leading the charge in this area, see its hashtag #museumsandchill on social media, and many of the majors have online channels or their own hashtag. For instance see
And of course now would be a great time to engage with digital volunteering eg via Digivol.
Lastly our own National Director Alex Marsden continues her work to advocate for the cultural sector at this difficult time. This is despite trying to find her way back from South Africa, and facing two weeks self-isolation on arrival. Listen to her from about 40 minutes in at

Keep safe, and keep washing your hands!

Best wishes
Janet Carding
President AMaGA Tasmania

*Use your sleeve to open the door muttering 'perhaps they will listen now'. This poster is from the web site developed by a 17 year old young person. Generate a poster with words from your favourite song.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

CANCELLED Heritage Networking Event

Put aside your networking shoes for the moment. This event has been cancelled. 

Heritage Community Networking Event
6 to 8pm Thursday 19 March 2020
Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Carnegie Gallery,
16 Argyle St Hobart

See previous post

Keep up the social distancing or as some might say physical distancing. 
We can still stay in touch just not actually touch if you follow.
Keep handwashing and stay safe.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Heritage Community Networking Event: the inside story

Heritage Community Networking Event
6 to 8pm Thursday 19 March 2020
Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Carnegie Gallery,
16 Argyle St Hobart

AMaGATasmania is pleased to be one of the supporters of the Heritage Community Networking Event for another year.  This event presents the opportunity for old and young players in the GLAM sector to share the realities of getting into and working with museums, library, archives and galleries. AMaGAT caught up with Michelle Blake, one of the key drivers to get the background on this very Tasmanian event.

Welcome Michelle

Michelle Blake is a professional historian and researcher

As a student undertaking the Graduate Certificate of Museum Studies by distance through Deakin University I was busy trying to get experience by volunteering, working to try and pay rent and wondering what hope I even had of getting a job in museums or heritage. I started speaking with those I had available to me through my volunteering efforts. I also introduced myself to others I wanted to get to know in the sector. I wanted to know how they got their jobs, how they got started, and see what advice or suggestions they had for me.

I realized I couldn’t be the only student feeling like this and wanting some sort of encouragement or reassurance. I soon found out that there were over 30 students currently enrolled or recently graduated from the Post Graduate course in Cultural Heritage through Deakin. I had a friend studying the Post Graduate Library and Information Management course through Curtin University. There are also students studying Cultural Heritage and Fine Arts at UTAS.  I wanted to meet others that felt like I did, and to get to know more people in the heritage and museum sector.
Out of these thoughts and with the help and encouragement of those that I had spoken with the Heritage Community Networking event was born. I collaborated with Mark Hosking of the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and Elizabeth Bondfield (currently of AMaGAT, COMA and Ross Wool Centre). The idea was to create an opportunity for volunteers and students to meet with those already in the GLAM business.

Tasmania has over 115 museums and galleries across the state. Not to mention the network of Tasmania’s library and archival services. Let’s get to know each other.

About the event

This is the chance for established professionals and those already working in the sector to meet keen students and volunteers. It is a way to get to know each other, to introduce yourself to others, and to offer encouragement and support. It could be a chance to discuss collaborations and issues effecting the sector. 

Hear from Elspeth Wishart, Senior Curator Cultural Heritage at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
and AMaGAT committee member as she speaks of her experience in the sector

See the Australian Society of Marine Artists Inc (ASMA) 2019 National Exhibition before it closes

The event presents the last opportunity to see the Australian Society of Marine Artists Inc (ASMA) 2019 National Exhibition before it closes on the 22nd March. The exhibition showcases the best examples of the ASMA Members’ artwork, masterfully illustrating the rich maritime heritage, beautiful coastlines and waterways of our nation.  While emphasising the continuation of and dedication to the Marine Art tradition, the exhibition also highlights the relevance of this specialised artistic genre in the contemporary context.


If you would like to join in this free event register through this link to Eventbrite 

The Heritage Community Networking Event is supported by the Australian Museums and Galleries Association (Tasmanian Branch), Maritime Museum of Tasmania, Deakin University, Curtin University and Michelle Blake - Historical Research. 

Thursday, 20 February 2020

AMaGA2020 Bursary Applications OPEN

The 2020 AMaGA National Conference will be held in Canberra from 18-21 May.  Members and colleagues are invited to apply for bursaries to assist in their travel and/or registration to attend. An application from a Member will be considered for funding from ALL appropriate and available sources. 

This year AMaGATasmanian Branch is offering $1750 for one of our state branch members. We understand payment of the conference fees, travel and accommodation to Canberra will be quite a stretch for many of our members --and we want you to have the opportunity to attend. 

Completing ONE form opens up the opportunity to win from a range of offers. Just complete ONE form.

Applications close Monday 24 February 2020.

Funding sources

Members only
  • Members can apply for funding assistance from their AMaGA's State/Territory Branch and/or National Networks (eg Education, EVR, History, EMP). You MUST be a member to apply for this funding. Members will be considered for funding from ALL appropriate available sources (i.e. if you are a member from NSW with a subscription to the Education network, we will automatically place you in the pool for funding from both the branch and the network, and also the federal funding (see below).
  • In addition, AMaGA's Conference Inclusion Fund will fund volunteers in regional and community museums and galleries or people who would usually not be able to afford to attend. Read more about the Inclusion Fund and how you can contribute
Open to all
  • Federal funding through the Department of Communications and the Arts is available for people living and working/volunteering in regional and remote areas, and Indigenous people. Priority will be given to Indigenous Australians, and volunteers from regional and remote locations, and then to those volunteering in small, community museums. Speakers who are presenting on topics targeted at community museums and Indigenous issues will also be considered for funding. You do not need to be a member.
  • The Cartwright/Douglas Fund (private philanthropy fund) provides one bursary, quite flexible but preferring a regional person; may be a non-AMaGA member working in the industry.

 How bursaries work

  • Bursaries are paid as a reimbursement. Your nominated bank account will be credited with the bursary funds before the conference.
  • You must register for the conference before applying for a bursary and select the pay later/invoice option. We check the registration status of each applicant when allocating funds.
  • Per diem expenses and social event registrations are not eligible for inclusion in your application.
  • Accommodation costs are capped depending on the location of the conference.
  • Priority will be given to people who haven't received a bursary in the past few years. 
  • Different funding sources have different criteria. The only funding source that is available for non-members is the federal funding which is dedicated to Regional, Remote or Indigenous delegates. All other funding sources require the applicant to be a member of AMaGA. Join now.
  • State/Territory Branches and/or National Networks may have additional criteria and may contact you for more information before allocating bursaries to eligible applicants.
  • Bursary recipients must provide a written report on their conference experience.
  • All applicants (whether successful or not) will be registered at the early bird rate

Friday, 18 October 2019

Bursary Winner: AMaGA National Conference 2019 report

Amy Cavanough, Registrar at QVMAG  was the deserved recipient of the AMaGAT Bursary 2019. This is her report from the AMaGA National Conference 2019.  

As an emerging professional in the field, the 2019 National Conference was the first AMaGA conference I have attended. I anticipated the conference would enable me to engage in networking opportunities and deepen my own knowledge and understanding in the sector. While this was a major benefit of the conference, I was much more confronted and inspired from the tensions that were articulated and greatly felt throughout the conference and extending into the sector.

Todd River, Mpantwe Alice Springs

These tensions ebbed and flowed throughout the sessions, but I came away with the conviction that these tensions are part of our remit. It is a common idea in current museology that museums are not neutral spaces, however I think sometimes we are uncomfortable in sitting in the uncomfortable. In the second Regional and Remote (R&R) Day, Mandy Paul, Director of the Migration Museum, commented that museums should be creating exhibitions that are complex and unresolved. She highlighted a multitude of elements that overlap and have to exist in the same space, plus more she did not discuss.

Russell Briggs, Nathan Sentence, Laura McBride, Sharni Jones and Courtney Marsh, all from the Australian Museum, spoke on the idea of Disruption is a Strategy; that diversity means disruption. They highlighted the tension in the division between First Nations frameworks and endemic, traditional, institutional frameworks. They stressed that it is hard to challenge and critique these frameworks because they are so embedded and invisible. While this may be uncomfortable, it is necessary to disrupt in order to gain true diversity and openness to genuine interpretation, content, and engagement outside traditional bounds.

Jacinta Koolmatrie and Jade Turner presented on the theme of Learning to Listen: Lessons in Cultural Renewal at the South Australian Museum. They stressed the idea that museums have never been a neutral space: Indigenous people have been the subject of our institutions, not the creator or even the audience. Museums made of bricks and mortar, with a linear presentation, are reflective of Western culture and progress narratives. With genuine engagement in diversity and allowing First Nations Peoples to have agency over their own narrative and frameworks, there is opportunity to develop exhibitions and narratives in a framework more aligned with First Nations frameworks. I was greatly struck by the notion that at their core, Museums operate as a colonial construct, within a colonial narrative. Exhibitions are largely constructed in a linear approach. And, museums in Australia largely promote, perhaps subconsciously, the idea of a Progress Narrative. However by highlighting the Progress Narrative, we often miss the local stories. Evelyn Parkin and Elisabeth Gondwe from the North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah argued that smaller museums are better placed to engage with local and complex narratives. They shared that while their audiences are sometimes unsettled by alternative stories, this is not something to shy away from.

Many of the sessions, both keynote and streams, focussed on the idea of community engagement, and community-led response/content. In one lightning session, Yael Fillipovic highlighted that museums and art galleries carry unwritten rules of how to behave in a museum, often reinforced by audiences rather than staff, which makes our spaces alienating. 

A number of presenters both at the R&R Days and the main conference discussed programs where the community or audience becomes the co-curator, co-builder, or collaborator: Erin Wilson (Devonport Regional Gallery), Allison Dellit (National Library of Australia), Keir Winesmith (Old Ways, New), Shaun Angeles (Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory), and Mariko Smith (Australian Museum) among others.

The 2019 AMaGA National Conference was a thought provoking, confronting, and challenging experience. I look forward to continuing these conversations with my colleagues at QVMAG, and in the wider cultural sector in Tasmania.

I would like to acknowledge the generous bursary support I received from the Emerging Professionals Network and AMaGA Tasmania to attend 'At the Centre: Our People, Our Places, Our Practices in Mpantwe, Alice Springs'. I would also like to acknowledge the support of my employer, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, in enabling me to attend the conference as a professional development opportunity.


Diary Date

Reminder that registration is soon to open for the 2020 AmaGA National Conference being held in Canberra from the 18-21 May. 

How to build an educational or public program from scratch

Join your colleagues from the Bass Strait Maritime Centre for the AMMC Regional Workshop and AGM in Devonport Tasmania, from the 31 October  to the 1 November 2019 (travel may be required on the 30 October 2019).

The theme of the Workshop is 'How to build an Educational and Public Program from scratch'. The Workshop will feature plenty of delegate interaction and learning with a range of experienced and interesting speakers. At the end of the workshop you will be in a position to build or refresh your own programs offer.

Some of the presenters

Chloe Simons – Secondary Coordinator (Teacher) Woodbridge School Marine Discovery Centre.
Geoff Dobson - Convention and Arts Centre Director: Churchill Fellowship.
Peter Tattersall – Head of Learning Australian National Maritime Museum.
Ben Arthur - Engagement Programs Coordinator CSIRO.
Jackson Pellow - Manager Brand and Marketing, Australian National Maritime Museum.

The Workshop is a series of participatory workshops

Workshop #1 How to build a Public Program from Scratch

Speaker: Geoff Dobson
Research and Implementation in developing a public program.

Speaker: Peter Tattersall
The process of experience and public program development at the ANMM using a whole of museum approach to idea sourcing and development, as well as the set of guidelines ANMM have developed to guide their decisions. Peter will some stories of success and failure that will offer value for program development across all AMMC institutions.

General Discussion led by: Peter Tattersall, Geoff Dobson and Ben Arthur

Expect to learn: Process of constructing an overall public programming goal and creation of events and leaning opportunities to meet that goal. How to build a series of programs to connect together with goals/mission/exhibitions. What sources of funding options are there? Any strategies for getting funding for a public program?

Workshop #2 How to build an Educational Program from Scratch

Speaker: Chloe Simons
Museum education pedagogy – ideas for teaching in a day-visit setting.
• How to provide engaging learning experiences utilising museum artefacts and displays.
• Linking the museum visit with pre and post visit activities for teachers.
• Using technology in a museum setting.

Speaker: Peter Tattersall.
ANMM’s approaches to both onsite and online educational experiences. ANMM process of curriculum mapping, development, marketing and delivery. The importance on organisational direction and strategy in shaping education programs and how we report on our success to ensure support for the program.
Activity: Build Your Own Educational Program lead by Ben Arthur
Expect to learn: How to build an educational program so teachers are excited by it and bring their classes in? What sources of funding options are there? Any strategies for getting funding for an educational program?

Workshop #3 Working with the Australian National Curriculum AND
How do we connect with older (high school) students?

Speaker: Ben Arthur
The role of the Marine National Facility as a platform for marine education and training, in addition to supporting and enabling excellence in marine research. In line with the recommendations of the National Marine Science Plan, we have developed and implemented a number of educational programs over the last couple of years, targeted at both students and teachers. Ben will discuss these programs which include the Educator on Board, Floating Classroom, Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea-Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN) and the Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship. 

Speaker: Chloe Simons
• Navigating the Australian Curriculum.
• Examples of lesson plans to support a museum visit.
• Working with teenagers - Designing and presenting   experiential learning activities for students in years 7-12

Activity: Build Your Own Educational Program with the Curriculum, using same themes/programming as previous session – work with the Curriculum for a particular age group.

Activity: Explore how to tailor the programming.

Panel Discussion with Ben Arthur, Chloe Simons, Steve Reid on questions from the floor

Expect to Learn: What kind of hands-on activities do older students connect with? How do we mine the ANC for inspiration and how do we make Curriculum connections explicit and attractive for teachers? Are there strategies for how you present yourself to a high school group as opposed to (or similarly to) presenting to a primary school or general public group? Funding options?

Workshop #4: Ways of learning marketing segmentation AND
Targeting specific ways of learning in public and educational programming
Speaker: Jackson Pellow
Market Research and Outcomes for Public Programs

Speaker: Peter Tattersall 
‘Curriculum 101’ curriculum websites and forms, how to understand the structure and navigate it all.

Expect to learn: What market research has been done and the outcomes from that research. How to conduct local research and use both data sets to drive public and educational programming to meet market demand. 

Download the full program here.

Booking enquiries email

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Private collections and memories

This post* features two projects from the north of the state which feature private collections and landmarks.

Private collections

This exhibition explores the private collections of local people.  Marvel at the intricate model boats on display, the wonderful wombat figurines, have a hoot over the owls, become more familiar with English satire from a range of 'Punch' magazines, learn about early commerce in Australia and Tasmania with a selection of promissory notes or just enjoy the whole exhibition and wonder about the art of collecting - if you have more than 3 of a set, you have a collection!

On now until December 2019

St. Helens History Room                              
61 Cecilia Street, St. Helens, Tas. 7216
Phone: (03) 6376 1479

Landmarks: A photographic journey of local icons

The Burnie Regional Museum is running public programs to celebrate its current temporary exhibition, Landmarks: A photographic journey of local icons, throughout Burnie Shines festival. Here is one coming up soon...

Landmarks of the North-West: A Tasmanian Aboriginal Perspective
Guest Speaker from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
Wednesday 23rd October @ Burnie Regional Museum

If you’re interested in attending this event, please book via RSVP to 03 6430 5746 or

The community is invited to share their special landmarks with the museum, from family picnics, farm visits, bush walks to beach days…Share favourite landmarks, stories and photos of places in the North-West. Tag the Burnie Regional Museum’s Facebook page and they will share your photos throughout Burnie Shines!

*Promote your event through AMaGAT

We would love to share your upcoming member events, exhibitions, programs, staffing changes or celebrations through this blog and via our Facebook page.

Email your info to

Provide as much detail as possible in a Word document (not a PDF) and if you have images (always a winner) attach them in separate files in JPG format.  For example images sent from a smartphone  come in this format. These requirements are very simple but specific--otherwise your information can be difficult to publish. This attached form may help you gather these details-but feel free to send whatever you have--did  I mention it must be in Word and as a JPG?  😊