Praise for Otago Museum

Leaders of an international science centre network have praised the way the Otago Museum prepared for, and hosted, its recent annual conference, Aspac 2010.

The Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres conference was held for the first time in New Zealand last month.

It attracted 116 delegates from 56 science centres and 19 countries, including China, Japan and Malaysia.

In a letter tabled at a recent Otago Museum Trust Board meeting, Aspac president Momoru Mohri, of Tokyo, said the overall programme had been a "resounding success", and participants had found the events were "informative, practical, and productive".

In a recent email to museum organisers, Aspac executive director Brenton Honeyman, of Canberra, said museum chief executive Shimrath Paul and his team had done a "magnificent job" in staging a "world-class event".

The preparations were "perhaps the best I've seen" at any Aspac conference, Mr Honeyman said.

The conference internet site was well structured, email communication informative, and the conference programme "excellent".

Instead of being isolated in a "sterile conference centre", participants were "immersed in the operations of a living, vibrant museum".

Transferring the second part of the conference from Dunedin to Queenstown was "always going to be a risky matter" but had worked "sensationally".

In Dunedin, delegates were "scattered" , because of a range of accommodation, while in Queenstown they were all staying together at a single "headquarters hotel", where they could meet after hours.

Except for the involvement of museum trust board chairwoman Margaret Collins, the plenary sessions had involved "all-male" presenters and "did not manage to portray that women, too, have got lots to contribute to our sector".

Nevertheless, there was little room for overall improvement, he said.

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