Outreach contract to museum

The Otago Settlers Museum has secured the future of its planned education outreach programme, involving some of the city's other museums, by gaining a key new Ministry of Education contract.

The contract means the settlers museum will still be able to offer education programmes even when most of the museum complex is closed next year and until work on the museum's $35 million redevelopment project ends in late 2012.

Museum director Linda Wigley was "very pleased" the museum's application for a new "learning experiences outside the classroom" contract from the middle of this year until 2013 had been successfully negotiated with the ministry.

Competition for funding has been growing among potential providers, museum officials said.

A "very solid outreach programme" had been developed and the settlers museum's new approach had been well received, Ms Wigley said.

The museum's education programmes have traditionally been offered on the premises, but museum education officer Sara Sinclair has recently been working closely with several other city cultural organisations to develop the planned outreach.

This is a key part of the museum's plans for "doing things differently" during its redevelopment.

Outreach teaching for school pupils will be offered at several other venues, including the Dunedin Chinese Garden, the Dunedin Gasworks Museum and the Port Chalmers Museum, organisers said.

Many of the settlers museum's internal operations have already been transferred from the former New Zealand Railways bus-station building during stage 2 construction work.

Staff offices have been established temporarily in the museum's new storage facility and teaching within the museum has been switched to its brick Burnside building.

Ms Sinclair said gaining the new contract came as a "relief".

"I'm excited about doing things a bit differently and working outside the square."

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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