The future direction of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery (SMAG) will be decided in the next six months as a wide-ranging review of the organisation, facilities and operations gets underway.
Strategic planner Tim Walker, who was instrumental in the development of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the planned Art+Creativity Invercargill (ACI), will be undertaking the review.
“I’m keen to build on the excellent discussions and warm relationships developed with the SMAG board and staff, councils, funders, Iwi and others during the ACI development process last year,” Walker said.
Walker was visiting Invercargill today (Friday 25th May) to meet with SMAG representatives, the Invercargill City Council and community funders.
The museum was closed to the public on April 12 for safety reasons based on seismic assessments.
Janette Malcom has been appointed Public Consultation Co-Ordinator to mange a Southland wide public consultation process to gather idea’s and suggestions.
“We want the public to think in five years time when they walk into the new Museum what would they like to see, its an opportunity for everyone of all ages to have their say,” Malcom said.
The review, supported by the Southland Regional Heritage Committee (SRHC), will consider development and storage options, as well as relevant local, regional or national information, including where SMAG fits into regional planning around heritage and arts.
Governance options, staffing and operations models will be considered, with a clear plan to align with existing regional proposals, including SRHC’s proposal for a single regional collection store.
Specific community consultation around SMAG will be undertaken as part of the process, Walker said.
“Like the ACI, community consultation will be a key thread woven through all of the work we do during the next six months. It’s a real opportunity for the public to get involved in what the museum could become.”
The museum has a well-established focus on the many rich stories of Southland and Southlanders, Walker said.
“This will inform everything we do – it’s certainly not a ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ exercise. The closure does provide an opportunity to stand back, think, and test a few options of how best to ensure Invercargill and Southland have a 21st Century museum they can be proud of for decades to come.”
SMAG Board Chair Toni Biddle said they were excited to have Walker and Malcolm on board.
“Tim is a genuine, humble professional who puts people at the forefront of his strategic planning. He has successfully led and shaped some of that best museums in New Zealand.”
The wealth of his knowledge and experience will be an absolute asset to the board, Biddle said.