Monday, 15 June 2015

#TwitteratiChallenge - Museum Education

I was recently nominated to take part in the #TwitteratiChallenge by fellow museum worker @ceciliapeartree. We met in the Scottish capital during 2014 after occasional e-mails over a number of years. As it happens, our e-mails and meeting were over some common McLean ancestry - although the museum connection was a nice bonus.

The #TwitteratiChallenge, as I understand it, is to give a shout out to those you go to for support or challenge in the world of museum education. My challenger wisely said: "In a sense everyone who works in a museum or a gallery is involved in the education business to some extent, as just by being there they contribute to the informal education of the community."

I'm going to push the definition a bit further and give a shout out to a non-museum education worker who makes a substantial contribution to museums through support, encouragement and advocacy. In that line of thought, it's impossible for me to go past @mareewhiteley.

I've searched online to rediscover a nice photo of Maree and I, snapped at the 2015 WA Heritage Awards (with champagnes in hand). To our surprise, the photo made the social pages of The West Australian newspaper! Surely, that has to be proof of the rising profile of museums and heritage!? Anyway, back to the challenge...

I met Maree during Edith Cowan University's Certificate in Museum Studies in 2008. At the time she was a primary school teacher but now works as a curriculum consultant. She helped with the development of the Australian History Curriculum and actively encourages museums and teachers to work together.

A few well-placed comments from Maree on Facebook ultimately led to the @carnamah project developing education resources usable from the classroom with Carnamah's virtual exhibitions. This started small but grew to a suite of nine expansive resources, which were recently awarded a Highly Commended in the 2015 Museums and Galleries National Awards.

Others directly in the world of museum education, who I follow on Twitter, are @Janpcim and @JoClyne1, who are both in Victoria. It's outside of the museum sphere but another inspiring educator is school teacher @BhavneetSingh12 who heads up the TeachMeet movement in WA (#TMWA). I think the museum world could learn a lot by the way teachers are banding together and developing both their networks and professional development.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The 2015 Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA)

The Museums and Galleries National Awards, or MAGNAs, are held each year during the Museums Australia conference. Three projects I worked on in 2014 were shortlisted in this year's awards and I'm pleased to report that all three had their name announced when the winners were called at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The State Library of Western Australia's online exhibition Western Australia's Freycinet Collection was the Level 1 Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fitout WINNER! I was virtual curator of the exhibition and was honoured to accept the award with the Foundation's executive director Jane King. The judges' commented that it was A stunning project making a small, fragile collection accessible to all. Good attention to historical detail.

WA trio: Jane King, Andrew Bowman-Bright and Shiona Herbert

The other two shortlisted projects, which I had conceived and managed, were with the Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and both received Highly Commended awards. 

The first was our Australian Curriculum education resources, developed in partnership with Ignite Your Audience, which received Highly Commended in the Level 1 Interpretation, Learning and Audience Engagement category: Nine beautifully designed and comprehensive curriculum resources targeted for Foundation to Year 6. An exemplar for all local historical society/museums.

The second was our Virtual Volunteering program, which received a Highly Commended in the Level 2 Innovation category. It was described as a Great socially inclusive project which addresses the needs of both the museum and the volunteer.

Many congratulations to the full list of winners, which can be seen on the Museums Australia website.