Restructure turns around museum finances

Russell Garbutt. PHOTO: PAM JONES
Russell Garbutt. PHOTO: PAM JONES
A restructuring of Alexandra's Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery has turned around the museum's finances, chairman Russell Garbutt says.

The museum was no longer losing money and had stopped needing to use its reserves to meet operational costs, Mr Garbutt said.

The restructuring was announced late last year because of continued financial losses and after the seriousness of the museum's difficulties had been realised, Mr Garbutt said at the time.

The museum had lost about $20,000 a year for the previous three years, and had been advised if it continued to lose that much money it would use up all of its cash reserves in the next few years.

The museum board subsequently disestablished former museum manager Maurice Watson's role and he was made redundant.

Two new part-time positions that separated the roles of the art gallery and museum were then created. Rachel Taylor was appointed museum and research co-ordinator and Jennifer Hay was appointed art gallery co-ordinator.

However, Ms Hay, who also works as the Cromwell Museum's director, realised the number of hours she needed to do at the museum would not allow her time for the art gallery role, so someone else would be sought to fill that role, Mr Garbutt said.

He said Central Stories now had even stronger co-operative ties with the Cromwell Museum, and the Alexandra gallery had a full programme of art exhibitions for the rest of the year.

The museum's retail area had been revamped, and there had been an increase in volunteers providing weekend assistance and helping in the research room and with oral history.

Central Stories receives $45,000 annually from the Central Otago District Council and $75,000 annually from the Vincent Community Board for operating costs.

The combined funding is about 75% of the museum's annual operating costs. Other money is earned through things such as sales in the museum's shop and commission on artworks sold in the gallery.

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