Museums unite to develop strategy

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Museums across Central Otago have agreed to work together with the Central Otago District Council to develop a strategy for the district.
A meeting last week was organised by the council policy and strategy team chief adviser Dr Saskia Righarts and policy adviser Matt Adamson.
The aim was to discuss how the council and museum representatives could work together on future plans.
About 15 people took part in the meeting representing Maniototo Early Settlers Museum, Teviot District Museum, Cromwell Museum, Clyde Historical Museum and Alexandra’s Central Stories Museum.
The council provided funds for Central Stories, Cromwell and Clyde, but ‘‘the others not so much’’, Dr Righarts said.
Part of the meeting was to articulate what the council’s financial role and support looked like in this sector.
The meeting ‘‘went really, really well — we had really good representation from across the district’’.
Much of the meeting was an opportunity for people to get to know each other.
The museum sector had worked in ‘‘isolated pockets’’ over time so this was a ‘‘unique opportunity’’ to bring people together.
The museums had operated as their own entities, and the council was keen for more collaboration while respecting each museum’s individual position, Dr Righarts said.
Because museums were independent the council wanted to ensure that there was ‘‘buy-in to work on a strategy together’’ rather than ‘‘forcing’’ something on them.
There was discussion about what the challenges were as well as what was working well for museums at the moment.
It was ‘‘very early days’’ but the group agreed to meet again in early September.
The next meeting would focus on aspirations for the sector, where they wanted to go in the future and ‘‘how do we get there’’, Dr Righarts said.