Museum review 'positive'

A joint review of aspects of Otago Museum funding is a positive process and not intended to punish claimed deficiencies at the museum, organisers say.

Museum exhibitions, development and planning director Clare Wilson said she preferred not to comment on the review because it had not yet been completed and had not been publicly released.

"I don't want to be seen to be commenting on something that's not appropriate," Ms Wilson said.

Some media reporting of the review had suggested it was focusing on deficiencies at the museum, or was otherwise negative in its aims.

In fact, the review had been initiated jointly by the Dunedin City Council and the museum and dealt with issues such as insurance costs, funding of depreciation, energy issues and staff pay, which had long been of concern at the museum.

The review was examining what the museum's "long-term funding needs" were, in order that it be a resilient and sustainable business, she said.

Otago Museum Trust Board deputy chairman Malcolm Farry attended his last board meeting this week after recently resigning as one of the city council's four appointees on the board.

In an interview, Mr Farry said the Otago Museum was highly regarded in New Zealand museum circles and was one of the best-performing public facilities in Dunedin.

Many of Dunedin's achievements, including its high-quality university and the Otago Museum, deserved to be celebrated more fully, he said.

Nevertheless, he believed the museum review was "a very positive thing" and could result in further improvements.

Sometimes, people did get "anxious" about reviews, but that was not his approach.

He was "astonished" that "some branches of the media" were using the review process to make unwarranted criticisms of the museum, he said.

- john.gibb@odt.co.nz

 

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