Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Meet colleagues in the Museum Standards Program

Staff from a selection of museums in the Museum Standards Pilot Program were interviewed about the vision for their museums and how participating in the Program may help them get there. Have a look and a listen--you will be inspired! Watch within blogger or for full screen viewing pleasure click on the banners to the right of the green smiley faces.

The East Coast Heritage Museum

Maureen Martin-Ferris

The East Coast Heritage Museum from Museums Tasmania on Vimeo.

The Special & Rare Collections

Juliet Beale

The Special & Rare Collections of UTAS from Museums Tasmania on Vimeo.

Tasmanian Wool Centre. 

Margaret Young

Tasmanian Wool Centre Ross from Museums Tasmania on Vimeo.

To find out more about the Museum Standards Program and how you and your museum could benefit you can listen to the Elizabeth speaking about the program at this blog post.

Otherwise go to the Arts Tasmania website; email Elizabeth Bondfield, Roving Curator or call 61656666. 

The Museum Standards Program

Arts Tasmania hosts the Museum Standards Program to assist museums, collections and galleries in Tasmania. The Program is a series of online workbooks with links to practical and good resources to help your museum streamline your internal processes and improve your offer to the visiting public. 

If you can answer YES to these questions you can register for the program
  •          Do you manage a collection of movable cultural heritage objects?
  •          Are you based in Tasmania?
  •          Is your museum legally constituted or incorporated?
  •          Does your museum have an ABN (Australian Business Number)?
  •          Is the museum open regular hours to the public? 

Working through the materials will be helpful, connect you to other museum professionals and is free of charge! If you can answer yes to the following questions you too are able to register your museum, gallery or site for the program.

Any museum until the end of June 2018 can participate in the program. The Roving Curators (Melissa, Veronica and Liz) aim to give any group who participates in the program three days of their time for free, including a visit to work together on what the museum has already accomplished and their priorities for the future. The first point of contact is Elizabeth Bondfield as the program coordinator. 

Turn up your speakers to hear Elizabeth talk about the Program. You can watch it within blogger or watch it full screen by clicking on the banner to the right of the green face.

Tasmanian Museum Standards Program from Museums Tasmania on Vimeo.

The Pilot Group

A Pilot Group of museums have started the process. Their responses to it will shape the future Museum Standards Program. Here is a full list of the brave piloteers. 

*Staff from these museums were interviewed and these little AVS can be seen at this blog post.

Arts Tasmania are very keen to receive feedback on the experiences of any group that registers.

Monday, 3 July 2017

10 Objects-10 Stories. The Curators' Talk 13 July 2017

Image by Image: Scott Gelston/the Examiner

The talk

You are cordially invited to attend this free talk.

When:  Thursday, 13 July 2017, 12.45pm
Where: Queen Victoria Museum
            2 Invermay Road, Launceston
Who:    Arts Tasmania’s Roving Curators –Melissa Smith and Veronica Macno
Cost:    Admission free

10 Objects - 10 Stories: Celebrating Community Collections
This exhibition presents a remarkable range of objects and their stories and highlights the role that small museums and collections play as the custodians and story tellers of Tasmania’s unique cultural heritage. Curators Melissa Smith and Veronica Macno work with the state’s community museums, history groups and organisations on projects designed to improve best practice in the preservation of our heritage. This talk will provide an insight to the Roving Curator program and reveal more detail about some of the treasures on display and their associated tales.

The stories

Here is one of the stories about one of the objects in the exhibition. It is about the Brush tail Possum Jacket and hat being admired by Veronica and Melissa in the image above.

Jacket and hat, c.1970s
Black Brush Possum fur, polished cotton

From the collection of the Deloraine and Districts Folk Museum, Deloraine
John Cunningham as a young forester stationed at The Arm River Forest Camp, Mersey in the 1970s, kept himself entertained of an evening snaring possums on North Maggs Mountain and the Dublin Plain. His intention was to acquire enough skins to have a jacket and hat crafted for his future bride, Sharon. He dried the skins in the historic hut, The Dew Drop Inn which was adjacent to the Forest camp. Later John was transferred to Mathinna and he took over the abandoned snaring run of Hector Raynor on Mt. Blackboy. When enough skins of quality were obtained they were tanned and assigned to Furrier Frank Zaplatel at Montrose in Hobart to be constructed into the beautiful coat and hat. In total 26 skins were used in the jacket and two skins in the hat. The majority of the many skins taken in Tasmania during this time were exported overseas, mainly to Europe, making these locally made pieces rare products of this trapping period.

The Deloraine and Districts Folk Museum is located in the 1860s heritage listed Family and Commercial Inn in Emu Bay Road in Deloraine. The museum’s collection represents the local rural history and heritage and the folklore of the community living in the region.

The museums

Thank you to the museums that caretake our heritage. This year's exhibition features objects from these museums:

Avoca Museum and Information Centre

Deloraine and Districts Folk Museum

Australasian Golf Museum

New Norfolk Historical Information Centre

Wynyard RSL Museum

Burnie Regional Art Gallery

Tasman Peninsula Historical Society

Penguin History Group

Scottsdale RSL Museum

Deny King Heritage Museum

For more information: http://www.arts.tas.gov.au/funding/programs/roving_curator_program 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Public performance of recorded music


If you wish to play recorded music or music videos in your exhibition or as a public program you will need to consider if you need one or more licenses otherwise you may be infringing copyright and being unfair to the artists involved.

Copyright licences are issued to individuals and businesses who are users of music. These licences are administered by the following organisations:
  • Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). APRA grants licences for the broadcast and public performance rights in the musical work and distributes licence fee income to songwriters and their publishers. This covers the copyright in the song, being the composition and/or lyrics (i.e. the "musical work" in copyright language).   
  • Phonographic Performance Company of Australia of (PPCA).PPCA grants licences for the broadcast and public performance of recordings and distributes licence fee income to record labels and directly to registered Australian recording artists.  This covers the copyright in the recorded version of the musical work. 

According to the PPCA website a performance can still be a “public performance” even if:
(a) the performance is given for free;
(b) the audience is small;
(c) there is no admission fee to hear or see the performance; or
(d) the performance is confined to members of a club.
In relation to sound recordings, it does not matter whether the public performance takes place by means of a compact disc, record, cassette, tape or other carrier.   Similarly, for music videos it does not matter whether the public performance takes place by means of a celluloid film, DVD or video tape, or through a large screen or a TV monitor.  In all cases, you still need a licence to publicly perform or exhibit the sound recording or music video.  Under the Act, only the copyright owner or exclusive licensee of a sound recording or music video can authorise (or license) its playing or public performance.  The record companies have authorised PPCA to grant non-exclusive “blanket licences”, which cover the public performance of protected sound recordings from a number of different record companies under the one licence. The Committee recently received a letter from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). The letter details the different categories of licenses you may want to consider as well as contact details. 

If you want to play copyright protected music or music videos you first have to obtain the requisite licences. It is illegal to play protected sound recordings for commercial purposes without a licence. The Copyright Act imposes an obligation on those who wish to broadcast, communicate or publicly perform protected sound recordings and music videos to obtain the licence of the copyright holders.  

Both APRA and PPCA provide detailed information and guidelines on music copyright licences for users of music in business via their websites. 


You may be able to source royalty free music. Check which is best for you as part of your planning processes.

Insurances for Museums and Galleries

Image licensed under Creative Commons from https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/17102040447

As stewards of Australia's art, culture and heritage, museum operators and gallery owners face risks that are very different from many other organisations. Museums Galleries Australia, in collaboration with Arthur J Gallagher Insurance Brokers, has developed insurance solutions tailored for the Museums sector. Download this document for more information about the range of insurances and contact details. 
Arthur J Gallagher is the endorsed broker for Museums Galleries Australia. Members of Museums Galleries Australia enjoy ongoing discounted premiums on its full range of insurance solutions, including: 

  • Voluntary Workers Group Personal Accident Policy
  • Museums Public Liability Insurance
  • Combined Professional Indemnity & Public/Products Liability Insurance
  • Contents – Museum Collection Insurance
For more information about this offer go to Museums Galleries Australia website here. Armed with this information call the AJG Museum team for a review of your current program on 6283 6555 or send an email to museumsinsurance@ajg.com.au.

Bursary Report 2017

Image: Illuminated Brisbane sign at Southbank with Brisbane City backdrop

The Museums Australia (Tasmania) Committee offered its members the opportunity to apply for a bursary to attend the The Museums Galleries Australia National Conference 2017. Amy Bartlett from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery was one of the two recipients. This is her report. 

The Museums Galleries Australia National Conference 2017, with the theme Museums & Galleries in their Cultural Landscapes, was the first MGA conference that I had ever attended. As Senior Conservator at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, I have frequented many conservation specific conferences or workshops and attending a general museology event was an excellent professional development opportunity. I was fortunate to be awarded a Bursary from Museums Galleries Australia (Tasmania) and I received support from my workplace in order to go to the conference.

The Regional and Remote Day was held at the State Library of Queensland on Sunday 14 May 2017. The plenary session about young people in museums presented by Dr Dea Birkett (Creative Director, Kids in Museums) was full of energy and was an inspirational start to the conference. A number of programs were described and the comment 'small changes make a big impact' has resonated with me. Other interesting talks included exhibition delivery with minimal resources and collection management systems. A presentation on de-accessioning attracted an audience of many with professionals sharing stories about collections and storage during question time.

Image: Chair John Waldron (President, MGA QLD) at the Regional and Remote Day

The first event in the social program was the Welcome Reception at the Queensland Museum. Songwoman Maroochy of the Turrbal People performed the Welcome to Country and we saw a number of noteworthy performances. The evening also provided an opportunity to meet other museum professionals face to face that I work with on projects with such as inward and outward loans.

Image: Museums Galleries Australia National Conference 2017 Welcome Reception

The main conference was held from Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 May 2017 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The plenary speakers on each of the three days were well chosen and I found the morning tea breaks interesting with attendees excited, full of discussion, and ready to take back suggested improvements to their respective workplaces. I found all of the sessions to be educative with key messages from museum professionals and artists about how important stories are in order to connect people with collections. In addition, the importance of data and the appropriate use of technology in today's changing sector were highlighted.  

I made sure I immersed myself in the unknown during the concurrent sessions as this was the perfect learning landscape to discover the inner workings of the myriad of behind the scenes roles that take place in the cultural sector. Due to my interest in co-curating an exhibition next year, I attended sessions on exhibition design, curatorial decisions, and collaborative curating. I found myself taking notes on how the examples given, often from institutions much larger than my own, could be massaged to work for our exhibitions. I also attended education and learning talks and those on digital access to collections. The importance of allowing visitors to lead the museum experience was expressed, how education programs can give participants a voice, how the physical environment impacts the sense of belonging, and how digital collections and technology can be used successfully.  All factors in some way led us back to the fact that stories are paramount to the success of the physical museum and digital realm. Stories make collections come alive!

Overall, the conference was stimulating and educational. My main objectives in attending were to broaden my knowledge on other roles within the sector, develop some skills in project/exhibition management, network and create contacts for inter-institutional activities, and see how professionals Australasia wide are responding to changing environments. These goals were achieved and I have gained a significant number of ideas which I hope to translate into practice during my upcoming role as Conservator and Co-Curator in 2018, in addition to my day to day work.

Image: Snapshot of MGA TAS Facebook post about attendance at the conference - MGA TAS 2017 Bursary recipients Amy Bartlett and Erin Wilson
 My attendance at the Museums Galleries Australia National Conference would not have been possible without the generous support from the Museums Galleries Australia Tasmania branch and support from my workplace. It was a fantastic opportunity and I am grateful. During the conference I submitted a photograph of myself and Erin Wilson, as state division Bursary recipients, for posting on the MGA Tasmania Facebook page to express our thanks. 

While I was in Brisbane, I made my way to a number of the cultural institutions and spent a considerable amount of time in the Queensland Museum and Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art. This provided a chance to examine contemporary display methods and signage that I could take back to my colleagues in order to evolve procedures for continuous improvement. I also enjoyed looking at the exhibitions and wandering the cultural site.

All of this information will be delivered to other Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery staff during a joint presentation in July, with Katrina Ross who also attended the conference. In addition, I will be discussing the conference with fellow Tasmanian Conservators from around the state at the upcoming Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material Tasmanian Division branch meeting. These presentations will enable me to share my professional development with others. Thank you again for the opportunity.

Amy Bartlett

Senior Conservator, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery