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International Museum Day - 18 May 2014

16 May 2014

International Museum Day - 18 May 2014

Museums forge connections between collections and communities

When you walk into an art gallery or museum, what do you find? We look for many different things – excitement, inspiration, information, emotion – and always for a personal connection. Scientific exhibits help us to experience the wonders of the natural world. Contemporary art asks us questions about how we view our world. Historical material connects us to our own past, and taonga Māori is a fundamental aspect of our living, dynamic culture.

These precious public collections need to be well looked-after and accessible, and International Museum Day’s theme this year, “collections make connections”, is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work that goes into the care and presentation of our cultural collections.

This year's International Museum Day (18 May 2014) comes at a time when two of the country’s key museum organisations have committed to working together on a range of key areas to support the sector. Phillipa Tocker, Executive Director of Museums Aotearoa, says "Just last week our Board and Te Papa’s senior executives sat down and agreed on ways to work together to help develop our museum standards and capacity, right across the country."

Te Papa's National Services Te Paerangi, as well as other Te Papa staff, provide strategic and practical support to museums throughout New Zealand, to help them achieve the best possible results. "We have a well-established Museum Development Officer service, providing onsite support and advice to museums and galleries across New Zealand," says Tracy Puklowski, Te Papa's Associate Director, Museum of Living Cultures. "This service is part of Te Papa’s mandate to support and help build capacity in the wider New Zealand museum community."

"Through the Development Officers, NSTP supports the established museum standard scheme, which is being revitalised," says Phillipa Tocker. "We are looking forward to working with Te Papa with a view to this evolving into a more practical development tool for the whole museum sector, and to help prioritise support."

By working together, Te Papa, our national association, and museums and galleries nationally will be able to make more connections with all our collections and communities.

New Zealand has more than 450 public museums and galleries. These range from local volunteer-run historical or machinery museums, through to metropolitan museums and art galleries. Together, they care for and exhibit more than 40 million objects which represent our cultural memory. Many are offering special programmes in their own regions to celebrate International Museum Day this weekend.

"Local museums and galleries make connections with locals, and you may be surprised how personally our public collections resonate through the stories they tell", says Tocker.

Museums Aotearoa
New Zealand museums and public galleries care for more than 40 million items relating to New Zealand’s history, culture and creativity. Generating in excess of 1000 public exhibitions and publications and attracting well over 12 million visits each year, museums and galleries are currently ranked as the top attraction for New Zealand's overseas visitors.

New Zealand museums are actively focused on enriching their communities by enhancing the quality of their facilities, collections, programmes, products and services.

The last decade has seen unprecedented growth in the establishment and development of museum facilities and services in most regions of New Zealand. Over 3500 people are currently employed in New Zealand museums, and at least twice that number of volunteers. Total annual museum operating expenditure is in excess of $300 million.

Museums Aotearoa strives to be the strong, objective, fully representative voice for the evolving museum community, and to promote a shared sense of professionalism, solidarity and identity.

ICOM – International Council of Museums
ICOM was created in 1946 by and for museum professionals.

ICOM is a unique network of almost 30,000 members and museum professionals who represent the global museum community in 137 countries and territories. The network includes 117 National Committees and 31 International Committees dedicated to various museum specialties.

ICOM has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is a leading force in ethical matters, and is one of the founding members of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS).

New Zealand's ICOM National Committee is supporting International Museums Day.

National Services Te Paerangi
National Services Te Paerangi is a division of Te Papa that works in partnership with museums, galleries, and iwi (tribes) in New Zealand, offering a range of practical and strategic programmes aimed at strengthening the sector.

For more information about National Services Te Paerangi visit


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