Museum Training & Professional Development in Australia


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Lecture given at National Palace Museum, Taipei, 6 November 2008

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  • Museum Training & Professional Development in Australia

    1. 1. Museum professional development and training in Australia Dr Lynda Kelly, Australian Museum Dr Jennifer Barrett, University of Sydney
    2. 2. <ul><li>Around 1300 museums across Australia: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>large, national institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>small regional museums / historical societies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indigenous Keeping Places </li></ul></ul><ul><li>49% no paid employees: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over 9,000 volunteers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>676 museums have paid employees: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over 7,500 staff – 4,000 full-time; 3,000 part-time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>over 11,000 volunteers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% curatorial staff </li></ul></ul>The museum sector in Australia
    3. 3. <ul><li>ICOM definition includes: </li></ul><ul><li>“ All the personnel of the museum or institutions qualifying as museums … having received specialist training, or possessing equivalent practical experience, in any field relevant to the management and operations of a museum, and independent persons respecting the ICOM Code of Professional Ethics and working for museums as defined above, either in a professional or advisory capacity, but not promoting or dealing with any commercial products and equipment, required for museums and services” </li></ul>What is a museum worker?
    4. 4. <ul><li>Committee on Museum Professional Training (COMPT/AAM): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the “… education of museum professionals must enable them to meet current challenges and anticipate future needs of very complex organisations subject to ongoing, rapid change” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>International Committee of ICOM for the Training of Personnel (ICTOP): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ICOM Curricula Guidelines for Museum Professional Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selected Resources for Developing Museology Curricula </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>define five broad areas of competencies, in areas of knowledge, skills and abilities, needed to work effectively in today's museums </li></ul></ul>Standards
    5. 5. <ul><li>Majority of museum staff with ‘responsible positions’ never had formal training in museology </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledged the diversity of sector </li></ul><ul><li>New types of museums need new types of skills and experience </li></ul><ul><li>Changing role of curator – no longer the single ‘authoritative’ voice </li></ul>Weil (1990)
    7. 7. <ul><li>Professional development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>on-the-job experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>short, intensive training courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Role of professional associations / government agencies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Museums Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mgNSW </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Museum and Gallery Services Queensland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Western Australian Museum Assistance Program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collections Australia Network (CAN) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Formal university museum studies programs </li></ul>The Australian scene
    8. 8. <ul><li>Funding and sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Collection acquisition and maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Change in role and authority of museums: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>due mostly to rise of Web 2.0 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user-generated content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Globalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Staffing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>attracting younger people as employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ageing workforce – capturing their knowledge and skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Training and professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul>Challenges facing museums
    9. 9. <ul><li>Vergo (1989) developed new methods to study: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a museums’ history and underlying philosophies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the unspoken aims and policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>their educational and social roles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overall aim to demystify museums to reveal how museum constructs knowledge while acknowledging the important role the visitor plays </li></ul>The “new museology”
    10. 10. “ 36% of online Americans consult Wikipedia ... [it is] is far more popular among the well-educated than among those with lower levels of education ... 50% of those with at least a college degree consult the site, compared to 22% of those with high school diploma.” Pew Internet Report Wikipedia Users , April 2007
    11. 11. “ Web 2.0 puts users and not the organisation at the centre of the equation. This is threatening, but also exciting in that it has the potential to lead to richer content, a more personal experience.” Mike Ellis and Brian Kelly, Web 2.0: How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Addressing Organisational Barriers, April 2007
    12. 12. <ul><li>Australian data (n=2,006) </li></ul><ul><li>15% use a wiki </li></ul><ul><li>10% publish own web page </li></ul><ul><li>12% upload video/audio you created </li></ul><ul><li>8% publish/maintain a blog </li></ul><ul><li>16% listen to podcasts </li></ul><ul><li>8% use RSS feeds </li></ul><ul><li>19% tag web pages </li></ul><ul><li>13% comment on blogs </li></ul><ul><li>15% post ratings/reviews </li></ul><ul><li>34% use social networking site </li></ul><ul><li>32% participate in discussion board/forum </li></ul><ul><li>27% read blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Museum/gallery visitors (n=829) </li></ul><ul><li>20% use a wiki </li></ul><ul><li>13% publish own web pages </li></ul><ul><li>15% upload video/audio you created </li></ul><ul><li>9% publish/maintain a blog </li></ul><ul><li>23% listen to podcasts </li></ul><ul><li>11% use RSS feeds </li></ul><ul><li>27% tag web pages </li></ul><ul><li>18% comment on blogs </li></ul><ul><li>21% post ratings/reviews </li></ul><ul><li>36% use social networking site </li></ul><ul><li>39% participate in discussion board/forum </li></ul><ul><li>34% read blogs </li></ul>
    13. 13. How might we be working in the future??
    14. 14. <ul><li>Think about the business museums are in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>communicating knowledge & information in a variety of ways (physical sites, online, publications) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>two-way interaction with range of stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Workers increasingly want to believe in what they are doing </li></ul><ul><li>New models of organisations based on the information economy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fleas – small teams of generalists & specialists brought together to work on projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elephants – bring fleas together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theatre as an example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ageing, yet healthy, workforce </li></ul></ul>Handy (2001): The Elephant and the Flea
    15. 15. <ul><li>connect people with people </li></ul><ul><li>connect people with ideas </li></ul><ul><li>are good networkers </li></ul><ul><li>do not follow the rules </li></ul><ul><li>have strong communication skills </li></ul><ul><li>like people </li></ul><ul><li>feel good about themselves </li></ul><ul><li>motivate others </li></ul><ul><li>are catalysts </li></ul><ul><li>ask for help </li></ul><ul><li>demonstrate integrity </li></ul><ul><li>are self reliant </li></ul><ul><li>open to share </li></ul><ul><li>are not afraid </li></ul><ul><li>are goal oriented </li></ul><ul><li>are able to identify critical knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>add value to the organisation </li></ul><ul><li>have strong subject expertise in a specific area </li></ul><ul><li>network for results </li></ul><ul><li>trustworthy - can be trusted and trusts others </li></ul>Gurteen (2006): Knowledge Workers
    16. 16. <ul><li>make decisions </li></ul><ul><li>are not insular </li></ul><ul><li>do not conform </li></ul><ul><li>push the boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>assume authority - ask for forgiveness, not permission </li></ul><ul><li>strong belief in the value of knowledge sharing </li></ul><ul><li>are informal active leaders </li></ul><ul><li>take a holistic view </li></ul><ul><li>are catalysts, facilitators and triggers </li></ul><ul><li>good listeners - they listen first </li></ul><ul><li>do not need praise </li></ul><ul><li>see the wider picture </li></ul><ul><li>work well with others </li></ul><ul><li>do not have a 'knowledge is power' attitude </li></ul><ul><li>walk the talk </li></ul><ul><li>prepared to experiment with technology </li></ul><ul><li>playful </li></ul><ul><li>take calculated risks </li></ul>
    17. 17. What does this mean for future professional development??
    18. 18. Museology 2.0
    19. 19. http.//