One director for museum, gallery

The North Otago Museum and the Forrester Art Gallery in Oamaru are to come under the directorship of one person.

The Waitaki District Council this week launched a search for a new director to oversee both the gallery and the museum, and council community services manager Thunes Cloete said the retirement of long-time gallery director Warwick Smith last week provided the opportunity to combine the two roles as part of an ongoing plan to forge closer links between the district's cultural facilities.

''To have the museum and gallery under one manager is something we have been thinking about for a while, and with our museum director resigning about two years ago we kept that position open, and with Warwick's retirement we saw an opportunity to combine the two units.

''What we are trying to do, and we have started to do it, is to get all our cultural facilities working in collaboration. That's one way you can really be more effective and efficient, and then what you do is broaden your market and we can broaden our activities.

''We just need to think outside the box, and that's what I am expecting of the new director, working with us in a bigger cultural environment.''

Mr Cloete said both places would still keep their own separate identities, and it was hoped a director would be in place within the next two months.

Redeveloping the Forrester Art Gallery, Oamaru Library and the library archives and erecting a new building for the North Otago Museum was first proposed in the Waitaki District Council's 2009-19 long-term plan, but an alternative was included in last year's draft long-term plan following a review.

The cost of a new museum building and redeveloping the gallery was estimated at $6 million, but no cost had been estimated for redeveloping the library archive. Mr Cloete said more detailed plans would be put to the council soon.

''At this stage we have a steering group working on a proposal to come back to council as part of the annual plan.''


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