Posts Tagged ‘museums’

New – National Standards for Australian Museum and Galleries – Version 1.2

ANS_v1.2_2011

Version 1.2 of the National Standards for Australian Museum and Galleries has been released with updated resources and links. The release of this latest version continues the Taskforce’s commitment to continually review the document so that it remains relevant to the needs of Australian museums. This document is intended to be freely available to all of Australia’s many museums. We use the term museum to represent all collecting organizations in the sector

 

Download The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries version 1.2 

 

The Standards are focused on key areas of activity common to organisations that care for collections and provide collection-based services to the community. They aim to support museums and galleries in carrying out their day-to-day activities, meeting their responsibilities, attracting support, and achieving their other organisational objectives.

 

The National Standards Taskforce (see Appendix B of the Standards Document) has developed the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries in consultation with the museums and galleries sector and with reference to current practice, existing core standards, development and accreditation programs. The result is an up-to-date set of agreed Standards that are broad in their scope and are designed to be an accessible tool for museums nationwide.

 

The three parts, nine Principles and thirty-nine Standards within the document capture and explain core industry standards and practices. Benchmarks, tips and resources provide guidance on attaining or researching specific Standards.

 

The Standards may be used to:
• Understand principles and standards of vital importance to museum development
and management.
• Identify what can be done towards meeting specific Standards.
• Review the museum. Staff or external reviewers might use one or all parts and/or Standards as a basis for a review of operations.
• Advocate for resources to meet Standards
to governing bodies, different levels of government, and departments, regarding museum needs such as equipment, facilities and staffing
• Gain leverage to enhance access to funding
by provide a rigorous context for funding applications.
• Help make the museum more sustainable.
by providing support or measurements for a museum’s commitment to this aim.
• Identify areas to improve.
by allowing museums to discover areas of
operation that could be initiated, developed or improved.
• Promote achievements within the museum through identifying, communicating, celebrating and promoting the benchmarks they have met.
• Raise the museum’s profile with local, state/territory or federal government.
through promotion and networking, as well as forward planning with reference to government strategies and policies.
• Enhance the museum’s credibility, recognition and status within its local community.
through long-term strategic planning and in positioning themselves within their local community.
• Increase community confidence in the capacity of the museum.

 

The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries are structured in three parts:
• Part A: Managing the Museum
• Part B: Involving People
• Part C: Developing a Significant Collection

 

For each of these areas of activity, this document presents five levels of information:
• Principles: the core principles of museum practice addressed by the National Standards
• Standards: the criteria to be met as museums put the Principles into action
• Benchmarks: points of reference to assist museums wishing to demonstrate that they are working towards meeting specific Standards
• Tips: practical pointers and suggestions relating to specific benchmarks
• Books and online publications and/or web pages: print publications and online resources relevant to museums activities encompassed by individual benchmarks
(for use in conjunction with Appendix E; all online resources are hyperlinked)

 

The first five appendixes contain at-a-glance reference information:
• Appendix A: What Is a Museum? – extended definition of a museum, developed
by Museums Australia
• Appendix B: The National Standards Taskforce – information about the nine
organisations represented on the National Standards Taskforce
• Appendix C: Key Acronyms – a list of acronyms used in this document
• Appendix D: Glossary – concise definitions of key terms used in this document
• Appendix E: Resources – full bibliographical details for all print publications and
online resources referenced in this document.

 

Collecting organisations of all kinds are invited to use the National Standards framework as a practical point of reference, and are encouraged to continue providing feedback, contributing their insights, and reporting on their experiences, as the Standards continue to be developed (see Appendix F).

 

Contact details for Taskforce members in each state and territory are provided on the website of Collections Australia Network (CAN), the host site for the National Standards, and in Appendix F.

 

Importantly, the Standards offer museums opportunities for development long term, and can help them to identify priorities and develop policies, plans and procedures that will allow them to manage their activities effectively and to achieve their goals.

 

Benchmarks identified in this document can be incorporated into a museum’s planning in manageable stages, as resources become available.

 

Post by National Standards Taskforce, Australia, November 2011

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CAN GLAM Sector News Nov 24 Dec 6 2010

This is my pick of the week – Phylo – free online interactive game that uses players in the community to help decipher the origins of genetic diseases. The game resembles a horizontal tetris but is actually doing some serious scientific work in the background. Genetic sequences are difficult to understand and so to decipher their structure, we need to compare them to detect any similar regions they may have. Similar regions may indicate important elements of our genetic code. We have several genomes to align and we call this the multiple alignment problem. In essence this enables you to help scientists solve these problems by moving coloured squares around. Have a look at it at http://phylo.cs.mcgill.ca/eng/index.html

The Victoria & Albert museum commission author of Girl with a Pearl Earring to write short story based on their Quilts: 1700 – 2010 exhibition http://tinyurl.com/37zwc38

Are you a volunteer in Victoria? Take the Victorian Volunteer Survey at La Trobe University and you could win http://bit.ly/e1esuY

A good article on the Tate’s Online Strategy can be found in its research journal 2010–12 http://tinyurl.com/2dkrhpb

Why Gawker is moving beyond the blog. Layout changes include moving the blog scroll, to the right column, still prominent but subordinate; that reverse-chronological listing of the latest stories goes from about two thirds of the active area of the front door down to one third; and only headlines are displayed. Every inside page will hew to the same template as the front page. No matter whether the visitor keys in the site address or arrives from the side by a link on Facebook or elsewhere, he or she will be greeted not just by a story but by an index of other recent items. http://lifehac.kr/fazvVM2011

Bob Dylan’s Handwritten Lyrics for “The Times They are A-Changin’” went up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York City at an estimated value of $200,000 to $300,000 http://twurl.nl/qorblr

The State Library of NSW rare first edition of The prophet went on show http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/exhibitions/future.html

Upcoming Exhibition On the 21 January 2011 london’s Art Sensus will showing the first comprehensive gallery exhibition devoted to the artist’s Rodchenko’s photographic work. Curated by John Milner, Rodchenko and his Circle will feature three hundred powerful photographs revealing the artist’s response to Communism in relation to the professional photographers he worked with: Naum S. Granovsky, Simon Fridland, Max Alpert, Evgeni Khaldei and Georgii Zelma. http://bit.ly/eMx7jP

I really liked this idea which saw Paula Hayes’ living terrariums installed at the Museum of Modern Art http://tinyurl.com/2fc46cx

Australian Woman’s Weekly 1933-1982 search online at National Library Trove. I have been a bit late picking up on this resource which has been on TROVE for sometime but its a great resource. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/title/112

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is commencing a review of the Telemarketing Industry Standard and has released a discussion paper which you can find at http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_312376

Tracking a rare tortoise? The latest example is an iPhone app called Mojave Desert Tortoise, which people can use to help researchers preserve the endangered species it is named after. With the app, visitors to the Mojave Desert (which stretches between California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona) can take photos of any desert tortoises they happen to encounter. The app adds GPS data to the photo and sends it to researchers at the Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program (MDEP) and Desert Managers Group. The information will then be used to track the turtles’ movements and habits. The data will also eventually be made public online. http://tinyurl.com/39eatb7

While we think we are consuming large amounts of data now the Science Daily believes the increased availability and access of broadband around the world could have serious energy implications for a society that is living within environmental limits. New research has analysed the potential future demand for downloaded data worldwide in 2030 will be around 3,200 MB a day per person and use around 1,175 Gigawatts of energy http://tinyurl.com/29hwre6

Something for the Christmas stocking for Sale by Tender HMS Invincible aircraft carrier 17000 Tonnes http://tinyurl.com/2eth37b

The Turner Prize winner for 2010 was announced. Susan Philipsz sound work of her singing an old Scottish song won the day. http://tinyurl.com/32tqcbu

The Australia Council announced some of its funded projects: residency in Antarctica, group exhibition in Croatia, Castlemaine Biennal. More at http://bit.ly/f4ZEvv

JuliensAuctions in Hollywood sold some Michal Jackson memorabilia this week included were his Smooth Criminal fedora which sold for $72,000 and a glove for 330,000. http://fb.me/HzWYpBmZ ps. An X-ray of Albert Einstein’s brain sold for 38,750

4 Photo Sharing Alternatives to Flickr and Facebook – http://on.mash.to/eQgskw

December 2 was the International Day of People with Disability

MOMA announce brief series on collectible contemporary art editions commissioned by trustee Peter Norton. http://bit.ly/eAvwBz

The Sew South Wales Government announced a plan to explore the use of Social Impact Bonds in which private enterprise invests in community-based projects. http://tinyurl.com/336a6my

In America the National Archives & Nat Tech Info Service have reached an agreement preserve digital Scientific Records http://tinyurl.com/2aq4sxd

Dürer’s Conserved Adam and Eve Unveiled at the Prado blog and photos http://tinyurl.com/25hh6me

The HornsbyCouncil in Sydney’s new website went live: http://www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au

Position Vacant Records Officer Remuneration, City of Wagga Wagga, Closing Date: Wed 15 December 2010 http://tinyurl.com/38wrat6

Historical Researcher, Canberra, Historical Publications and Information Section http://tinyurl.com/332eszf

Position Vacant Project Manager, Gen Operations Dept of Culture & Arts Perth, Closing Date Mon 20 Dec 2010 4:00 http://tinyurl.com/3yma492

Position Vacant Electrician, Sovereign Hill museums, Ballarat & Central Highlands App close Tues 13th Dec 2010, http://tinyurl.com/2c6rvdo

Position Vacant Tour Guides The Wax Museum, Gold Coast, part time, http://tinyurl.com/2wscs49

Position Vacant – Curator South Australian Maritime Museum, Port Adelaide, Closes 5pm Fri 7 Jan 2011, http://tinyurl.com/26bkk3l

Rotorua Museum is looking for a new public programmes manager http://bit.ly/eAYIVX

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Arts & Culture in Australia: Statistical Overview (Part 1)

Keyboard, photograph by Geoff Barker, 2010

On the 19 October the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published its 8th Australian Bureau of Statistics report on Arts and Culture in Australia. Drawn from a range of sources, including the CAN-Partners list of Museums and Galleries. It is an attempt to provide a unified body of information relating to the those industries defined as being in the ‘Heritage’ or ‘Arts’ sector.

This post is my attempt to compile a bit of an overview of this rather lengthy report and hopefully encourage others to plumb its depths to drag out some of the interesting stats to be found in it. The main area that attracted my attention was Part B Profiles of the Cultural Sectors – 8.0 Museums, 10.0 Libraries and Archives, 12.0 Performing Arts, 13.0 Music & 14.0 Visual Arts and Crafts.

The first thing I noted from the table on page 11 – AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON SELECTED CULTURE AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES – was that in 2006 the GLAM sectors main competitor for leisure activity was still the TV with Australians over 15 spending just under 3 hours each day watching or listening to TV. The most popular cultural venue was the cinema and this perhaps accounts for the table noting that Australians spent triple the length of time visiting entertainment and cultural venues than they did attending Sports Events, although presumably many, like myself, tend to vegetate at home and watch the event on TV. Also I wasn’t sure if this included Australians visiting overseas events.

But even so it is an interesting statistic given the general perception that Australians would prefer to attend a sporting event rather than a cultural one. The reason for this is perhaps the definition of cultural venues which include 36% visiting zoological parks and aquariums 34% percent visiting local, state and national libraries, 34% visiting botanic gardens, and 25% visiting a popular music concert. Art galleries and Museums were next in line in terms of attendance.

It should also be noted that across the board women were more likely to attend a cultural venue with the visit to the library showing the largest discrepancy. In 2006, the ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey found that reading was a favourite activity for 61% of people aged over 15 years. The activity was a favourite for 73% of females surveyed – compared with this sad indicator my genders general bookish interests – 50% of males.

Strangely in the period leading up to middle age (i.e. 44), people were more likely to visit museums and after this Art Galleries assumed the ascendance. I was surprised because of it is often the museum that is associated with the older market and the Art Gallery with the younger one … Hmmmmm? Also noted that Museums tended to get more one-off visits while galleries, libraries get more repeat visits.

The second table discussed is the 2009 OVERSEAS CULTURAL AND HERITAGE VISITORS. Arranged by activity we find 57% attending Museums and Art Galleries but the greatest number 62% visit historical/heritage buildings, sites or monuments. I’m thinking the Sydney Opera House and other major heritage building may have been responsible for quite a few of these however.

Australians took around 66 million overnight visits and 9.3 million of these visited: the theatre, a concert, performing arts, museum, art gallery, Art, craft workshops, festivals, fair, cultural event, Aboriginal displays site or community, or a historical/heritage building, site or monument.

When it comes to government funding the main part of Federal revenue, $1,391,100,000 goes to Radio and TV services while State and Territory Government spends the most on Performing Arts venues $241,200,000. By comparison table 4.1 with 2008-2009 figures shows

Heritage Expenditure by Australian Government in millions followed by %
Archives 105.4
Libraries 60.0
Environmental heritage 207.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 266.0
Art museums 91.5
Total heritage 729.8

Heritage Expenditure by State and territory Government in millions
Archives 65.9
Libraries 337.4
Environmental heritage 1,397.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 338.3
Art museums 175.2
Total heritage 2 313.8

Arts Expenditure by Australian Government in millions
Other arts 136.3
Multimedia 6.2
Film and video production and distribution 115.5
Radio and television services 1,391.1
Design 0.2
Visual arts and crafts 33.4
Music composition and publishing 0.7
Performing arts venues __
Other performing arts 7.0
Music theatre and opera 24.0
Dance 21.6
Drama 28.3
Music performance 59.3
Literature and print media 31.2
Total arts 1 854.7

Arts Expenditure by State and Territory Government in millions
Other arts 124.2
Multimedia 5.9
Film and video production and distribution 122.7
Radio and television services 1.7
Design 4.9
Visual arts and crafts 41.1
Music composition and publishing 0.5
Performing arts venues 241.2
Other performing arts 34.6
Music theatre and opera 16.9
Dance 18.2
Drama 30.1
Total state and territory government 3 033.7

Totals for Heritage and Arts expenditure were as follows: Australian Government 2,584.500,00 and State and Territory Government 3,033,700,000.

There are % figures on this but I have not included them as I wasn’t sure how they were worked out but if any one else can work out how they are arrived at please let me know.

I’ll leave it here for now and try to get out Part 2 on the report next week. All the best Geoff.

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The Quest for Quolls (aka native cat and tiger cat)

Quests are adventures usually with a cause and a redemptive goal and it seemed fitting to term this blogpost as a quest for quolls. CAN received an email recently from Dr David Peacock (Research Officer – NRM Biosecurity Unit Biosecurity SA) asking for help from the Australian collecting community with finding artefacts with quoll fur and historical evidence of quolls. Dave and his colleague Ian Abbott are collecting historical accounts of the “native cat” and “tiger cat”, animals now called quolls, to advance contemporary understanding of these species. They have found that the eastern quoll in particular, now only found in Tasmania, was extremely common and was generally mercilessly persecuted, for reasons such as to prevent their raiding of chicken coops, as well as for the fur trade.

Tiger Quoll | CC-BY | Pierre Pouliquin

Tiger Quoll | CC-BY | Pierre Pouliquin

 

During their searches they have come across numerous accounts of “native cat” and “tiger cat” skin prices; and their skins for sale, being made into “blankets”, “rugs”, “carriage-wraps” and the like, including a 1922 advertisement for children’s coats manufactured at a place in Geelong, Victoria, from The Argus, 6 September 1922. Another example of these accounts is from 1886: ‘… A very handsome and remarkable rug, made from Tasmanian furs, is exhibited by W. A. Gardner, Esq., of Launceston. The centre is of the fur of the native cat, and is surrounded by the fur of the tiger cat and common native cat, with border of opossum’. Tasmania, for one, exported “native cat” and “tiger cat” skins to England as early as 1826, with material sent to Europe for the trade exhibitions as early as 1854, so perhaps such an historical artifact has survived in a European museum?

The Argus, 6 September 1922

The Argus, 6 September 1922


For Dave’s talks on these historical quoll accounts he has wanted an image of one of these “native cat” or “tiger cat” skin coats, blankets, etc. to help people understand (visualise) one of the reasons for the decline and regional extinction of these species. However he has been unable to locate such an image and wants some help from the wider collecting community here in sourcing useful support material and images. Dave and Ian want to know if anyone on CAN have such a “native cat” or “tiger cat” skin rug or blanket image, or one of a pile of quoll skins (such as exist for the koala), or perhaps might know of such an image? They would of course appropriately cite the image. If such an image existed, they strongly advocate that it be added to a heritage collection as it would be a very rare record of what was a very common species and the usage of its fur here in Australia.

With accounts such as “In Western Victoria the stony grassy plains are their great haunt, and every station has a permanent barrel trap, near the slaughter yard, for the sole purpose of catching these animals. I have frequently, after slaughtering a beast, caught as many as twenty of a night in one of these traps” (from 1879), it is a shame they don’t have a photo, or surviving “barrel trap”, as an artefact of the early settlers efforts to tame Australia’s now regionally extinct fauna! Dave and Ian have already used museum specimens, c.f. artefacts in their work. In their recent paper just sent to Australian Journal of Zoology entitled ‘The mongoose in Australia: failed introduction of a biological control agent’, they liaised with the state museums to detail what mongoose were held in their collections. From this they hypothesised that the approximately 1000 mongoose introduced into Australia to control the rabbit plague were probably the Indian Grey Mongoose, as this is the species of which Australia seems to have the most specimens. For this quoll research, originally the purpose was to help justify the reintroduction of quolls to South Australia as a native rabbit predator. Dave and his colleague are so glad of the National Library of Australia’s efforts to digitise old newspapers! With a search word and much time, but inordinately less effort than having to use a microfilm reader and luck with visual scanning, they have sourced many hundreds of records, and with them much insight into Australia’s faunal history. Seeking out collection items (artefacts) have not been a part of their searching, yet they represent an important tangible visual record of Australian history, and somewhat validate the relevant historical accounts they have located in their work.

Just to give you a bit of background on Ian and Dave’s research and how using unique collection materials is key to their work. Ian has also utilised old explorer and surveyor diaries to establish the origin of the feral cat arriving in Australia from 19th century European releases and not Dutch shipwrecks of the 1600s as others have hypothesised. Ian’s original paper, culminating from significant time researching, is ‘Abbott, I. (2002) Origin and spread of the cat, Felis catus, on mainland Australia, with a discussion of the magnitude of its early impact on native fauna. Wildlife Research 29(1), 51-74.’. Dave when writing his PhD he spent weeks in the Battye library in Perth going through reels of microfilm, mainly of The Western Mail, for accounts of wildlife, such as bronzewing pigeons, being poisonous to cats and dogs from their feeding on the 1080 poison-producing Gastrolobium plants. That huge effort should finally be published next month in Australian Zoologist

Dr David Peacock, Biosecurity SA

Dr David Peacock, Biosecurity SA

 

Dave and his colleague Ian would love diary, newspaper or other accounts and artefacts (like rugs, or skins) the Australian collecting community might have, or know of. Dave’s details are below if anyone has quoll related collection material in their collection they’d like to bring to light to help with this research.

 

Postal address: GPO Box 1671 Adelaide SA 5001
Location address: Building 1, Soil & Water Environs, Entry 4, Waite Rd, Urrbrae SA
Phone: 08 8303 9504
Fax: 08 8303 9555
Email: david.peacock@sa.gov.au
Web: www.pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity

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What curators and online producers can learn from journalists in the art of storytelling: Liina Flynn

Liina Flynn works at the Tweed River Regional Museum as a curator and storyteller. She is also a journalist, graphic designer, photographer and IT consultant who has worked within the world of image and text for many years. Liina shares her experience in these range of disciplines with the CAN community.



With so many ways to deliver our messages, we need to rethink how we gather, construct and deliver stories to the world. In addition to the medium of print, the online medium is becoming a standard part of every household, and more people are combining image with text and sound to tell their unique stories and express their views of the world.

Working for a museum made up of three historical societies, I meet a lot of people interested in family histories. Many of the people working at the museum are volunteer researchers who do a great job of tracking down information, but they don’t have the confidence to put the research together into a story for publication, so I’ve attempted to put together some tips on how to think about constructing a story.

As a journalist, when I’m writing news stories, there are some basics that need to be said – what, where, who, why, and when are pretty important, but so is engaging the interest of the reader, watcher or listener. Reporting news is really telling stories about things that happen to people. When telling stories about history and object collections in museums, relating the objects to people and how they used them or were affected by them, will make for a more interesting story.

Choosing what to put in, and what to leave out.
Maybe you want to tell the story of an early pioneer to your area. With a bit of research, you find dates, ages, births and marriages. Telling the facts straight is a bit like eating dry toast – while some people may like it, it’s not appealing to most unless they are really hungry or on a strict diet. You can make the straight facts more interesting by tying in some research about the culture of the area, or other information from the era which relates to the story you want to tell.

If the scope of a story is too long and broad, you’ll need to focus on one part of it in order to keep the story short enough to make your point, without getting bogged down in too many details e.g. If your subject incorporates logging, fishing and road building, you may need to choose one of these aspects only to talk about. Are you making a movie/writing a book or a short story/one minute feature?

What do you write about and what resources do you use?
Start with what you have – photos, research, published books, borrowed images (with permission of course – make sure you give credit to anything you borrow). If you don’t have enough information, you may need to conduct your research in other organisations, or reconsider what you are going to write about. Even if you are pretty sure you think you know something is true, always check that your facts are correct.

Keeping the story interesting
When I’m reading a story, the first thing I’ll do is to read the first sentence or paragraph to see if the subject is interesting to me. Not only do you need to give the reader an idea of what the article will be about if they keep on reading, but you need to make it interesting and make them want to keep on reading past the beginning (and hopefully all the way to the end). Put the most relevant first, least relevant last, or that’s what they tell you. Sometimes it’s about finding the most interesting thing about your subject matter and leading into the story with that.

You don’t need to ‘make it all up’ yourself. Let your resources tell the story. Do your research then let the quotes from your sources, books and interviews deliver the information you want to tell – you don’t have to re-interpret and re-write all your research, you might just need to summarise concepts to link together some of the different ideas in your story as told in quotations.

When writing, use everyday language. Unless your audiences are exclusively specialists in a field, change the words you use to common terms. If a reader understands what you are talking about, they’ll be more likely to read till the end (and that’s the point isn’t it?)

If you are having trouble finding a ‘voice’ in your story, read your script / words aloud. If it doesn’t sound right or ‘flow’, re-write it until it is easier to read and sounds more like a conversational voice.

Don’t be afraid to re-write!
While we want to deliver the facts, the idea is to find some of the more interesting points behind the story you are trying to tell. Sometimes you might start with an idea for the story you want to tell, but the more you research and learn about the subject matter, the more your ideas change. When you find something really interesting, you might want to re-write and change the way your story begins to give this information first – all good writing is re-written, sometimes many times.

Always have other people read over your work – they can tell you if it reads well, is understandable or interesting. Sometimes you can get stuck on how to tell something, and a bit of feedback from someone can help you to get past the hurdle!

Whatever you do, don’t give up – keep researching and make notes of the more interesting points when you find them along with references of where they came from!

For more advice on the art of storytelling, email Liina.

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Make museums like magazines

There seems to be growing dialogue around the idea of museums modeling themselves on publishing. Media and museums share the same principles. They both exist to tell stories about a specific genre, they are experts in their field (informing and educating people), they reflect the issues in society and they have a licence to communicate ideas creatively. The New Curator playfully suggests museums could try using the format of Monocle magazine which specialises in international affairs, business, culture and design. Business communication specialist Ross Dawson wrote in his blog last year that by looking at ‘museums as media organisations’, we can learn from its successes and failures and assess how cultural institutions can present its content differently. Nina Simon takes this idea of museums using the publishing model further with her idea that institutions should draw inspiration from the Web.

The New Curator’s case for making museums like Monocle Magazine
* A magazine structure with similar responsibilities. An Editor-in-Chief like Tyler Brûlé, section editors, correspondents, freelancers etc. Everyone gets their name on what they create.
* Lots of different content, structured. Okay, Monocle has five general topics, but there are about fifty different things in each topic of various sizes, from features to small columns. I pick up the copy I have here and under BUSINESS is a report of Arbil in Iraq, a two-page spread on the brands involved in airport security, ten short articles on ten businesses not suffering from economic collapse and three slightly longer columns on three business as examples of the future of retail in Japan. Its amazing.
* Top level design and “format”. Monocle magazine looks good. It always does. Their design team has a lot to do and they do it well. I imagine they’re paid handsomely. Every edition looks good and within the desired format. This has got me thinking in a different tangent about the production of an exhibition being the same as publishing. May explore further in another post, but you get the idea of inserting content into a structure like a magazine, right? The better magazines have very strict style-sheets to give a coherence to everything inside, especially with lots of different subjects. Bad magazines don’t have two pages that look the same nor have two editions have anything in common with umpteen different fonts, hundreds of different column layouts, random splashes of colour with as many badly taken photoshopped images crammed into every space. There’s also the side of formatting which is the physical: the size, the shape, the quality of the paper, the number of pages. all of which slight changes can make a huge difference. Like when The Guardian changed from a broadsheet format to a thinner Berliner format. They’re sales shot up because of the easier to handle paper for reading on planes/trains as well as aligning themselves to be more like European papers as per they general pro-European/international stance. “Format” is one of the most important priorities. Lets the writers/journalists/(curators) get on with being creative and filling that format.
* Twelve Monthly Issues. This is where I give people an aneurysm. Monocle does an edition once a month. How often does a museum do a complete turnaround? A temporary exhibition once every couple of months? I’m saying museums need to do massive changes, whole New Editions, once a month to keep a readership interested. I’ll let you work out how to pay for it.
* Something Worth Collecting. Now, I admit most magazine are cheap trash to be read once and recycled. Monocle differs because it looks great, has high production values, it’s as thick as a book and it shows me the world. First edition copies of issues one of Wallpaper* Magazine (Tyler Brûlé’s previous job before Monocle) are extremely collectible because they are worth something. In museum terms, the product on offer is an experience. Make people want to collect the experience. Make them something tangible to say This is Mine. Not merchandising, but an intended object. I go out and buy Monocle Magazine because it’s worth something. In 40 years time, I’ll be able to say that whilst there monetary value may have increased and they’re becoming increasingly rare, it was the excellent level of magazine journalism and quality of design during an era of insipid media cultures. Museum experiences shouldn’t be memorable, they should be collectible.

Sarah Rhodes

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