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Standards Scheme promotes excellence in museums

14 November 2002 Media Statement

Standards Scheme promotes excellence in museums sector

A new Standards Scheme to promote excellence in New Zealand’s museums has been launched at Te Papa by Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard.

The Standards Scheme has been developed as a partnership between the museums sector and Te Papa National Services.

“This scheme is a first for New Zealand and represents a real landmark in the professional life of New Zealand museums,” said Judith Tizard. “A set of Standards has been developed that are benchmarked against international best practice in the museum sector and yet are tailored to the unique environment in which New Zealand museums operate.”

The essence of the Standards Scheme is a set of standards of best practice contained in the manual entitled The New Zealand Museums Standards Scheme: Ngâ Kaupapa Whaimana a Ngâ Whare Taonga o Aotearoa. The manual is available free from Te Papa National Services to every museum, iwi and related arts, culture and heritage organisation in New Zealand.

Under the Scheme museums will have the option of entering a formal review process based on the standards in the manual, consisting of a guided self review and a peer review.

Judith Tizard said this was an exciting and challenging time for the museums sector, with people’s expectations of a high-quality experience increasing.

“A cultural experiences survey by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage showed that in the 12 months before the survey over 1.3 million New Zealanders had visited exhibitions at art galleries or museums. New Zealanders are showing a heightened interest in engaging with their history and culture, but they are also demanding ever-higher levels of responsiveness and professionalism.

“The Scheme is about promoting excellence, lifting the game. In other words, it is about what museums across the country have been committed to individually, but this is the first time they have had an overarching guideline to help implement.”

Judith Tizard said the scheme was the culmination of a major investment of time and commitment from a great many people and emphasised the importance of strategic partnerships in the arts, culture and heritage sector.

Originally inspired by a Churchill Fellowship study tour to the United Kingdom taken by Lynda Wallace, currently director of Akaroa Museum, the Museums Association of Aotearoa New Zealand put a proposal for development of the Scheme to Te Papa National Services.

Since 1997 National Services has resourced and facilitated the development of the Scheme in partnership with the sector, through an intensive process of research, consultation and trials.

“Te Papa National Services has led this project effectively and the initiative is a clear example of the benefits that accrue from our national institution working with other museums, fulfilling a shared responsibility to New Zealanders.”


ENDS

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