Archive for March, 2009

Museum Studies and related courses around the country

CAN has put together a list of Museum Studies and Art Curatorship courses as a guide for anyone interested in studying in 2009 or 2010. In addition, ICOM and Educaedu are extremely useful international course directories. CAN hosts links to many of the university museums. These institutions often have wonderful art and natural history collections which may influence where you enrol.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post about any further education experiences you have had in museum studies, heritage, art curatorship and librarianship.

University of Sydney offers postgraduate coursework and research degrees in Museum Studies and Art Curatorship.
University of NSW offers an undergraduate degree in Museum Studies: Exhibitions, Collections and Material Culture.
University of Western Sydney offers a Bachelor of Art History and Cinema Studies.
Macquarie University offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Museum Studies.
University of Melbourne offers postgraduate study in Art Curatorship.
Deakin University offers postgraduate studies in Cultural Heritage.
Curtin University of Technology offers postgraduate Cultural Heritage Studies.
University of Canberra offers a Bachelor of Applied Science and Cultural Heritage Studies.
Australian National University offers postgraduate Sustainable Heritage Development Programs.
Charles Sturt University offers masters courses in Family and Community History and Interpretive Writing.
Flinders University offers archaelogy and applied history and heritage studies.
Charles Darwin University offers Library / Information Services.
Edith Cowan University offers the Certificate in Museum Studies and weekend workshops in Museum Practice in relation to its Museum of Childhood.
Griffith University offers research studies in the arts, languages and criminology.
Queensland University of Technology offers undergraduate and postgraduate interdisciplinary courses in Creative Industries.
University of Southern Queensland offers a graduate diploma in arts management by distance learning.
University of Queensland has a postgraduate program in Museum Studies.

Sarah Rhodes


What are QR codes?

QR codes work in a similar way as barcodes but are capable of handling substantially more information. Museums have seen opportunities in using QR codes within exhibitions. Visitors point their mobile phone at the small black square and a URL will flash onto the screen with the object’s description. The Powerhouse Museum has recently applied this technology to Contemporary Japanese Fashion: the Gene Sherman Collection. The museum has also installed Bluetooth inside the museum so viewers can access the Internet for free.

Mobile phones must either have in-built software, like the Nokia N95, or you will need to download a code reader onto your phone.

The Powerhouse Museum’s Seb Chan and the Australian Museum’s Lynda Kelly give us a better understanding of how QR codes can be used for marketing, as well as within the museum, in a conversation on the Museum 3.0 blog.

Sarah Rhodes


Our top five favourite podcasts

It is very rewarding sharing your favourite podcasts with like-minded people. To hear someone say that they really enjoyed listening to the same shows as you and then being able to suggest podcasts they have never heard of.

We have listed several museum podcast directories offering an international guide to these services. MuseumPods hosts a user choice award for the top ten podcasts each year. 2009 voting is now on – and you can view the finalists for 2008. Two comprehensive directories are the Global Museum’s Podcasting Directory and Museum Podcasts.

CAN’s favourite five museum podcasts are:
1. MOMA Audio
2. SFMOMA Artcasts
3. National Gallery of Art
4. V&A Museum
5. The Guardian Culture Podcast

Sarah Rhodes


Archiving a digital collection

Digital archiving is an extremely important part of managing a collection yet it can be a little overwhelming. In reality, the hardest part is deciding on which system to use. A museum or gallery’s approach depends on the size and the resources of the institution.

Valuable advice has come out of CAN’s discussion groups on this topic, mainly for the smaller gallery or even independent artist.

One contributor advises all material should be backed-up onto hard drives, as DVDs deteriorate after two years. Hard drives are not completely reliable so all data should be uploaded onto a pair of hard drives and then upgraded every two years. Additionally, in case of fire, a digital collection should also be stored in another location. There are several companies which offer off-site mirrored network storage, such as Amazon S3 who offer 120GB at around USD13 per month. The CAN discussion group suggested partnering with other organisations to host your own mirrored network storage at a fraction of that cost.

Larger cultural institutions have engaged in extensive consultation on how to approach preserving digital heritage. The National Library of Australia has taken a lead role in this area and have set up a guide to Preserving Access to Digital Information, as well as a web archive called Pandora. The NLA has also published a set of digital archive initiatives.

The State Library of NSW has outlined guidelines for digitising images and preserving our digital heritage.

Sarah Rhodes


Grants and funding directories for museums and galleries

Working out the best source of funding for your gallery and museum can be an overwhelming task. When applying for grants, it is important to prepare a well-thought out application which meets the selection criteria. The Australia Council recommends applicants develop a relationship with the liason officer to ensure community organisations prepare the best application they can. The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries are now available online here at CAN which could be helpful in ensuring your application meets the industry focus.

Fortunately, there are several online directories guiding you to the grants that best suit your needs.

The Federal Government has set up a web page listing the various links to its grants for the arts.

Grants for Museums & Galleries NSW has a similar service offering a directory of funding opportunities for this sector.

Our Community offers a directory listing of funding opportunities, as well as offering advice on how to apply for grants. It also offers advice to institutions on how to support those applying to them for a grant.

AIATSIS – lists the grants available for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Sarah Rhodes


How to subscribe and post to an email discussion list

Discussion groups and forums are a great way to develop a community around your museum or gallery. Not only do they connect audiences with your institution but they create an opportunity for people to discuss issues and share ideas. CAN has its own discussion lists which are free to subscribe to and free to post to. They work through email, so if you have an email account, you are ready to subscribe. CAN lists are moderated, so you won’t get junk mail, and it’s a great way to know what’s going on in the sector and let people know your information as well. The most popular lists on CAN are can-talk, can-jobs, can-exhibitions, can-news, can-events and artbooks.

CAN has also posted a directory of its favourite international discussion groups for museum professionals. Professional organisations and groups providing support to the sector may have their own discussion lists that you may be eligible to join, check each list for membership requirements.

National Library of Australia
Australian Archivists

Sarah Rhodes


Disaster Preparedness for Collections

With the recent bushfires and floods, thoughts of how to protect a collection in the face of natural disasters came to mind for many people and organisations. This is a particularly difficult issue for all collections, particularly those small collections held by volunteers in regional and remote areas.

A disaster preparedness plan is an essential part of the documentation and processes for any collection. . . but where to start?

Be Prepared – Guidelines for small museums for writing a disaster preparedness plan contains invaluable information for smaller institutions on assessing and planning for disasters such as training needs, assessment considerations, safety and damage checklists and templates based on established disaster management plans. It’s available for download as a pdf from CAN, and is a very popular and useful resource.

In response to the recent Victorian bushfires, the AICCM has produced some excellent guides that you can download from the AICCM website, covering how to recover and salvage objects which have been damaged by fire.

Museums Australia (Victoria) have set up a bushfire response area on their site for organisations affected by the bushfires who need support, and those able to provide support.

Museums Australia has been keeping people up to date with what’s going on in both Victoria and Queensland during this period in their e-Bulletin to members, and will announce a coordinated response shortly.

If you are looking for help, training and support to develop your own disaster preparedness plan, there are a few places you can try.

Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) is running Collection Management and Preventive Conservation Skills Development Workshops in Longreach, Cunnamulla and Mt Isa this year. These two day workshops will include disaster planning as one of the main areas covered. Information and registration is available here.

For organisations in NSW, Museums and Galleries NSW (MGNSW) offers the Leg Ups Skill Development Grants, which could help you attend, or even host and run disaster preparedness training.

Wherever you are located, your State’s professional and service organisation are a good place to go for help.


Blogs are a few of my favourite things . . .

I have a few favourite blogs that I like to keep an eye on. I wanted to share some the blogs that have a particular relevance to the Australian collections sector.

I’ll start with the ones that help me keep my professional antennae tuned to what is going on with the collections sector and digital technologies. Seb Chan from the Powerhouse Museum’s fresh and new(er) blog is essential reading. For a UK perspective I check in with Mia Ridge’s musings on Open Objects, and from the wonderful world of libraries, there is what is described as “blog central for Australian libraries”, Libraries Interact.

There are lots of organisations producing excellent audience engagement blogs, and I think this trend will continue to gather momentum. Some of the ones I have enjoyed over the past year or so include; Linda Barraclough’s Old Gippstown Cataloguers which is a great example of volunteer organisation communicating and documenting their work through blogging, From the Loft which tells the stories behind the photographs at the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney, and the Australian War Memorial’s fascinating collection related blog. The team at the Sydney Observatory do a great job with regular posts about astronomy, while the Town Hall Gallery in Melbourne use their blog to publicise and promote all their events and activities.

For a roundup of all the blogs from the Museums around the world, take a look at Museum Blogs.