The Dunedin City Council will soon advertise for a new
director of the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and closer links
with the Otago Museum also seem likely after recent talks.
The decision to advertise the post comes about six months
after previous Toitu director Linda Wigley left and after
talks between the institutions about closer collaboration.
DCC arts and culture group manager Bernie Hawke noted Ms
Wigley had been gone for about six months and said
advertising the post was appropriate for Toitu staff and
The move also reflected the standing of the council-owned
Toitu museum, which last year won the Museums Aotearoa
''Project Achievement Award'' after its $37.5 million
redevelopment, Mr Hawke said.
Toitu acting director Jennifer Evans and Otago Museum
director Dr Ian Griffin have held talks about closer
collaboration between the institutions.
Museum representatives have emphasised that amalgamating the
museums was not being considered.
Full details of talks have not been provided, but it is
understood ideas include making savings through efficiencies,
such as through some shared buying.
It is understood one option considered, but not pursued, was
to maintain two separate institutions with a senior director,
based at the Otago Museum.
It is understood this idea was not taken any further and was
not referred to the DCC for further consideration.
Asked about this, Mr Hawke said it was not appropriate for
him to comment about any such specific ideas.
Discussions had focused on ''how both museums might benefit''
from collaborating over a ''range of matters'', but
amalgamation had not been considered, he said.
Some Otago Museum staff, including assets and technology
manager Joel Oldridge, have provided support for Toitu in
some areas, including aspects of maintenance, after former
Toitu facilities and services manager Damian Mallon left when
his contract came to an end.
Ms Evans said she was enjoying the improved relationship
between the museums.
Otago Museum marketing and development manager Caroline Cook
said closer links would bring significant benefits.
Toitu board chairwoman Dr Dorothy Page welcomed the decision
to advertise the director's post and said it was appropriate
for the museum to have its own director.