New Central Stories project manager Rachel Checketts wants
to get the community more involved in the facility. Photo
by Lynda van Kempen.
The Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery has moved on
from the days when it was thought a high-profile figure was
needed at the helm and now boasts a team approach to
leadership, the board president says. The appointment of Rachel
Checketts (32), who started work last week in the new role of
project manager, was part of the restructuring at the facility,
president Malcolm Macpherson said.
''It's nothing too revolutionary but maybe a bit experimental
... there's no hierarchy, no bosses, and instead there's a
team, each of whom take responsibility for a certain area but
work together as a team.''
The complex opened six years ago and Brian Patrick was
appointed director. He was made redundant in April last year
as part of the restructuring.
''We've gone away from the notion that we need a highly paid,
high-profile director, and instead we're employing a team of
people, each of whom has their own strength and add a
different element to the mix,'' Dr Macpherson said. The
project manager role was created to focus on the business
side of the museum and art gallery.
''Like all museums in New Zealand, we're looking to make more
of our own funding. To expand our programmes and our
activities, we need to become more entrepreneurial and
generate a bit more of our own income.
''In the future, I think the public will see Central Stories
taking a higher profile, with more diversity in the
collections, more research assistance available, a better
range of activities and it will become more relevant to the
Miss Checketts has a background in teaching, has travelled
overseas, and also worked at the Lakes District Museum for a
year. She was ''beautifully qualified'' for the new job, he
said. She attended school in Alexandra and was the head girl
at Dunstan High School in 1998, so the job represented a
homecoming for her.
''This job was too good an opportunity to turn down,'' Miss
''I think there's a huge potential for the community to be
more involved in Central Stories and one of my aims is for
the museum and art gallery to host more community-based
exhibitions, like family treasures, for example. People could
bring along pieces that are special to their family and
explain why they're so special.''
She would also like to do more educational outreach work,
travelling throughout the district. The museum's gift shop
will be upgraded and she would like to feature Central Otago
and New Zealand-made crafts, children's books by local
authors and maybe food products, like preserves.
''I see this being a showcase of Central Otago.''
A school holiday programme has also been organised, with
sessions on January 15,17 and 22.