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Museum visitor programme officer Katie Topham leaves Dunedin this afternoon on a two-week secondment to the Guangdong Science Centre, in Guangzhou.
"They're the largest museum in China and they're superstars in science programmes. I'll be a member of their team for two weeks. I'll learn how they do things there and then bring things back home that we could use," Miss Topham said.
"I'm very excited about it. I've never been to China before and only speak a little bit of Chinese. I've been doing a bit of study and learning a few new phrases every day," she said.
"Fortunately, I love Chinese food."
The exchange was established after Guangdong Science Centre president Wang Kewei visited Dunedin for the 2010 Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres conference.
"The Otago Museum has a fantastic reputation internationally and we bonded with them after that conference. We're eventually going to do exhibition exchanges with them." Collections, research and experience director Clare Wilson said strategic alliances helped develop museums.
"It keeps us aspirational and inspired; individually and collectively. Offering international experiences, as well as hosting exchangees from other places, is an excellent way to add variety into our knowledge base," she said.
"All of the organisations the museum has exchange programmes with are bigger than us - bigger budgets and operating in bigger populations. But each has determined that there is mutual benefit in partnering with us. It is an honour for our team that they rate our museum, and us, so highly."
Otago Museum research and interpretation co-ordinator Emma Burns returned from a three-week exchange at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, in China, last month and marketing co-ordinator Juliet Pierce will visit the National Science Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, for two weeks from November 17. The museum also has an exchange programme with Science Centre Singapore.