Museums add appeal, NZ director says

The vibrancy of Dunedin's museums and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery adds significantly to the appeal of living in the city, Museums Aotearoa executive director Phillipa Tocker says.

It was not always fully appreciated that good quality museums and art galleries added considerably to the appeal of places in the minds of many people who were considering moving there to live or to visit, Ms Tocker said.

Museums Aotearoa, the New Zealand museums' professional organisation, is holding its annual conference in Dunedin this week.

The conference started with a function at the Otago Settlers Museum last night and culminates tomorrow with a series of museum sector achievement awards, which are being offered for the first time this year.

Asked about the redevelopment of the Otago Museum, the shifting of the public art gallery to more central premises and the planned redevelopment of the Otago Settlers Museum, Ms Tocker said these were exciting developments which reflected Dunedin's strong support for museums and the art gallery.

About 170 people are attending the conference, which this year is devoted to the theme ‘‘Museum People-the Human Collection.''

The museum industry played a vital part in New Zealand's communities, she said.

Museum staff and ‘‘literally thousands of supporting volunteers'' helped museums serve as guardians of the national heritage, she said.

The Otago Museum is no longer a member of the national museums organisation.

Otago Museum officials have queried whether the museum had been getting good value from being part of the national body, including its efforts to gain government funding for museums caring for nationally significant treasures.

Ms Tocker said that, in an election year, the national body would continue to lobby strongly for increased financial support from the Government.

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