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Training review final7 Training review final7 Document Transcript

  • A review and analysis of training needsfor the collections sector in Western Australia: a report for Museums Australia (WA) Brian Shepherd
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The consultant thanks all who have contributed to the consultative phase of this project. They include members of the reference group, participants in the various focus groups and individuals, all of whom arelisted in appendix four. Perth Central Institute of Technology assisted with the formatting and analysis of the questionnaire. Particular thanks are due to Professor Ian Reid who acted as mentor throughout the project and whose assistance with editing the report was invaluable. COPYRIGHT Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of the information in this report may be stored in a retrieval system, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the permission of Museums Australia and the consultant.This review was made possible through funding from the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest
  • A review and analysis of training needsfor the collections sector in Western Australia: a report for Museums Australia (WA) Brian Shepherd September 2012
  • Table of contents01 Executive summary and recommendations 0802 Introduction: Collections and context 1303 Review Methodology 1704 Museums and standards 1905 Present training provision in Western Australia 22 5.1 Training for volunteer and non-specialist staff 22 5.1.1 Development Services at the Western Australian Museum 22 5.1.2 Museums Australia (WA) 22 5.1.3 Edith Cowan University’s Museum Studies Course 23 5.1.4 Art on the Move 24 5.1.5 Guiding and front of house training 24 5.1.6 Publications and initiatives for the sector at national level 25 5.1.7 Community Arts Network WA 25 5.2 Training/education for professional careers in the sector 2606 Mentoring 2807 Assessing demand in the light of previous participation 29 7.1 Museum Studies at ECU 29 7.2 Introductory Courses conducted by RICH and the WA Museum 30 7.3 RICH at Curtin University 30 7.4 Regional training needs 3108 Issues of social responsibility and ethics 3209 Training needs identified through focus groups 33 9.1 Indigenous 33 9.2 Conservators 34 9.3 Paid curators in small museums 35 9.4 Volunteers 36 9.5 Visual Arts 37` 9.6 WA Museum staff 38
  • 10 Training Questionnaire survey 40 10.1 Responses from volunteers 40 10.2 Responses from paid staff 41 10.3 Training priorities 4311 Mapping the VET training package against the ECU museum studies course: possibilities and alternatives 4612 The role of the WA Museum 4913 Consultation with the VET sector 5114 Modes of delivery 5215 Some observations on training offered elsewhere 53 15.1 VET delivery 53 15.2 Training in small museums and galleries 55 15.3 University courses 5816 Conclusion 61Appendix One - Bibliography 62Appendix Two - Some evidence of the extent of the growth ofpaid professional staff in Western Australian Museums since 1993 63Appendix Three - A training issues paper presented to the National Conference ofMuseums Australia September 2011 64Appendix Four - People consulted during the Review 72Appendix Five - Questionnaire 74
  • PA G E 6
  • Key TermsConsistent with the brief for this review, the term collections sector refers to museums (including galleries)that are operated in the public interest and satisfy the criteria laid down in the ICOM and Museums Australiadefinitions of a museum. It does not extend to libraries and archives except where such are aspects of amuseum’s collection.Training has been interpreted broadly to embrace learning about museums as well as acquiring skills forcollections management and other aspects of museum practice. However, the emphasis is on purposefulformal programs designed to prepare participants for work in the collections sector or to enhanceperformance of existing workers.Abbreviations:AGWA Art Gallery of Western AustraliaAICCM Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural MaterialCSTC Collections Sector Training CommitteeCIT Central Institute of TechnologyCurtin Curtin University of TechnologyDCA Department for Culture and the ArtsECU Edith Cowan UniversityIBSA Industry Business Solutions AustraliaMA Museums Australia Inc.MAWA Museums Australia, Western Australian BranchMAGQ Museums and Galleries Services QueenslandRICH Research Institute for Cultural HeritageRTO Registered Training OrganisationUWA University of Western AustraliaVET Vocational Education and TrainingWAM Western Australian Museum PA G E 7
  • 01 Executive Summary and recommendationsThis review answers to a brief supplied by Museums Australia (WA). It has been commissioned against abackground of declining opportunities for training people for work in the collections sector in WesternAustralia. The review is timely given growth and evolving professionalism of museums in Western Australiaand the announcement of a new state museum highlighting the need for well trained staff able to provide aquality service that engages the community.The recent and impending closure of major avenues of training in Western Australia makes it timely todraw attention to the importance of the sector and its need for appropriate training. The review encouragesinnovative thinking so as to embrace new and creative approaches while at the same time frames the studyin the parameters of the brief, bearing in mind the practical circumstances that have led to its commissioningand the current social, economic and political climate.Key findings arising from the review1 Collections are held in the public domain for their ability to engage society through interpretationand research. They are an ongoing resource that is drawn on for wide range of social, aesthetic, scientific andeducational purposes to enhance the culture of the state. While skills needed for their storage, managementand preservation are important, it is the use to which they can be put to enrich society that justifies theirexistence. Training for the collections sector at all levels should embrace both practical and philosophicalfoundations of museum practice.2 Presently there is insufficient planning for the provision of training. A suite of offerings that haddeveloped and served it reasonably well over the past twenty years is coming to an end. Offerings had evolvedin a somewhat ad hoc manner, without clear planning or policy at a state-wide level. Interested parties nowneed to work together to establish a more formal framework for addressing training needs at all levels and forall segments of the sector.3 It has become obvious in recent years that those museums able to employ a paid and well-trainedcurator are generally those operating at increasingly professional levels and which are likely to provesustainable in the long term. A fully professional museum service will not result from training initiativesthat are centred on volunteers. Suitable and available education and training for people seeking careers inthe sector are therefore of the highest priority. This should comprise both academic education and practicaltraining. It is of serious concern that previous provision is no longer available in Western Australia.4 Notwithstanding the importance of paid professional staff, volunteers are presently and shouldalways be a highly significant component of museums’ staff. Their training is a necessary part of developingthe state’s many museums and should be addressed in that context. Development services available in otherstates provide models for making our museums more sustainable through targeted training as an integralpart of a development strategy for the sector. Project-based training that leads to real outcomes and engagesvoluntary staff appears to be successful.5 The geographic size of Western Australia and its sparse population in many areas provide challenges forthe provision of training. Prior experience both in this state and elsewhere in service delivery, especially throughregional hubs, can be useful to examine when planning for the future taking these factors into account.PA G E 8
  • 6 The collections sector remains somewhat divided despite the amalgamation of a number of smallerassociations to form Museums Australia Inc. some 17 years ago. There is a tendency for the interests ofcommunity historical museums to dominate at the expense of other kinds such as art galleries, while somegroups, such as conservators, represented by the AICCM, have remained outside the major body. It isunfortunate that presently only a small number of employed professionals at WAM and AGWA belong toMuseums Australia. This dilutes the strength of the sector for advocacy. There is a need for the sector tospeak with one voice while recognising its diverse composition.7 It is difficult to envisage that all current small museums can be viable in the long term at a levelsufficient to satisfy standards such as those laid down in National Standards for Australian museums andgalleries.1 Opportunities for, and expenditure of resources on training are keys to developing sustainable andsuccessful museums where they are targeted effectively. Support based on institutional performance andindividual commitment and credentials ensures that resources are spent wisely.8 There has been a considerable growth of career opportunities for professionals in the sector outsidethe major state institutions. This is creating a need for recognised qualifications. However, as the numberof paid positions is outnumbered by those of volunteers, care must be taken to ensure a balance betweencatering for their needs and those of the industry as a whole, where voluntary staffing will predominate in theforeseeable future.9 Lack of provision for more advanced training and education for the sector in Western Australianuniversities is of serious concern. Although students can take courses at eastern states universities either inperson or through distance learning and online provision, the lack of local offerings gives the impression thatthe sector does not warrant provision. The growth of professional museums and Western Australia’s uniquefeatures deserve to be taken into account in planning tertiary provision.10 There is interest from the Central Institute of Technology in introducing the recently revised VETtraining package CUL50111 to replace the former ECU museum studies course. This would provide anationally recognised qualification for the collections sector in Western Australia. The sector has yet todevelop a full understanding of the training package, its levels and requirements.11 Resource issues, particularly funding, will be central to whatever training initiatives are taken.Although subsidy has been a possibility to offset student fees for VET training provision, in the near futurediploma courses will become full fee paying. In the universities, economic pressures and limited enrolmentshave caused closures and the situation is not likely to change in the short term. Neither MAWA nor WAMhave sufficient resources to make up for the shortfall that currently exists.12 Enhanced professional development opportunities are needed for professional staff in the sector.Presently the demands of their positions, the lack of institutional budgets for the purpose, WesternAustralia’s isolation, and the costs involved in seeking such development outside the state all contribute to adearth of such opportunities. The need is heightened by the announcement of a new state museum which willcall on staff to demonstrate the best of current practice.13 There remains a lack of Indigenous participation in training, insufficient representation of Indigenousworkers in the sector, and a lack of training for people working in the small museums in how to work with,and include, Indigenous people and culture in collections and interpretation. Skilled Indigenous leaders areneeded who can work effectively with their communities and with small museums.1. ACT Museums and Galleries, Arts Tasmania et al, 2008. National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries. Version 1.0. PA G E 9
  • 14 Indigenous needs for cultural participation and expression are not being met sufficiently at local levels, particularly in regional and remote areas. Strengthening culture throughstory-telling and intangible heritage expression is equally as important for Aboriginal communities asthe collection, care and display of material culture. Broad-based community cultural programs can buildcapacity, identity and pride. Suitably trained leaders who work with and in communities are required forthis. Assistance with the care and management of artefacts or collections is not a first priority, but will beappreciated when the need arises through such programs. This approach is preferable to providing collectionmanagement and interpretation training before the need has been felt. Training for leaders could includeformal course work, but might better be delivered through internship and mentoring.15 If suitably resourced, the Western Australian Museum is well placed to take a major role inproviding training for the sector. In part this is because it employs a significant number of leading industryprofessionals, many of whom have had extensive experience in presenting various forms of training,especially in the ECU museum studies course. Equally important is the experience in training that theExecutive Director brings to his position, which includes offering training for the British MuseumsAssociation’s Diploma through the museum where he was previously Director. Further, there is a longhistory of support by the WA Museum for the wider museum community, support currently continuingthrough the Development Services unit.16 There are enhanced modes of training delivery possible using moderntechnology, especially where distance has made it difficult in the past. Although face- to- face and practicaldelivery is preferred to online training or distance learning by all but tertiary students, a blend of thesemodes with some face-to-face delivery may be necessary to provide service over such a large area as WesternAustralia.17 There are opportunities for cooperation with other service providers to make sharing of training, especially distance or online delivery, more easily and cost-effectively available. Althoughfinancial, copyright and intellectual property issues would need to be negotiated, materials produced alreadyby Central Institutes of Technology in Canberra, Wagga and Coffs Harbour could greatly expedite theintroduction of the VET training package in WA. Similarly, brokered arrangements between universitiescould allow online course work to be shared across state borders, supplemented locally by access tocollections, research into them, and supervision.18 There is a need to create awareness of the value of the collections sector and itscontribution to cultural life among the bodies making decisions about them. This is particularly so with localgovernments where decisions about museum budgets, exhibitions and employment are sometimes made bypeople with little knowledge of what is involved in running a museum and what museums can and do deliveras social dividends.P A G E 10
  • Recommendations1 That the collections sector redouble its efforts to publicise the ways in which museums and galleriescontribute to the enriching of cultural life in its widest sense. It should advocate to ensure that the roleof collections are factored into a wide range of agencies such as government departments, regionaldevelopment commissions, local government, heritage bodies and community organisations. The emphasisshould be on the ways in which collections contribute to community life.2 That MAWA establish a Collections Sector Training Committee (CSTC) representative of allmajor interested parties including the Department of Culture and the Arts, Future Now, the Departmentof Training and Workforce Development, state collecting institutions and existing and potential trainingproviders to consider this training review and work towards implementing those of its recommendations onwhich agreement can be found.3 That the CSTC recognise that there is a crisis in training provision and develop an agenda for addressing the following needs:• A broad introductory course to museum/gallery work for people wishing to gain comprehensive basic skills for working in the sector. Although this should be a pre-vocational course, it should supplement and not replace academic qualifications in a relevant discipline.• Basic skilling of the volunteer staff who continue to comprise a significant component of the work force in the sector. This may be best delivered regionally.• Opportunities for academic undergraduate, postgraduate and higher degree studies, often including a considerable internship and/or research component involving collections. These are particularly needed for people seeking careers in the sector and to ensure its continued development.• Professional development opportunities for existing collections sector career staff.• Mentoring/internship programs to provide training in specialist and practical areas of work and which result, where possible, in formal recognition as a qualification.• Strategies for greater involvement of Indigenous people in the management of and participation in their cultural heritage, including collections.4 That, recognising the changing nature of the small museum sector and furthering the developmentof a state-wide professional museum service, the CSTC, and MAWA advocate for establishing andimplementing criteria and benchmarks for recognising institutional standards, professional training andregulating employment in the sector, including levels of remuneration and career advancement. In pursuitof these goals it may be useful to consider the introduction of a system for the accreditation of museums.5 That, in the interest of developing a sustainable museum service throughout the state, training ofvolunteers should focus on lifting standards in museums as its first priority. Targeted training should beprovided in response to requests, established need and where it is likely to be of lasting benefit. Wherepossible it should be project-based and lead to demonstrable outcomes. In this way voluntary staff trainingwill be part of a strategy to develop standards in the state’s museums Accreditation of individuals, though itcould be possible, should not be a major focus of this form of training. P A G E 11
  • 6 That the delivery of training as suggested in the previous recommendation be delivered regionallywhere possible. Prior experience in the Mid-west, Goldfields and in the eastern states support this modelwhich could be administered centrally but work through regional nodes, possibly the branches of WAMwhere they exist. The CSTC and MA (WA) should lobby for resources and a suitable framework for thedelivery of this training.7 That MAWA and the Western Australian Museum (WAM) work closely with the Central Instituteof Technology and Future Now over the possible introduction of the VET training package CUL50111 atdiploma level, while taking cognisance of the overall recommendations of this report.8 That, should the CIT not introduce the training package, WAM, in conjunction with MAWA and aregistered training organisation, consider the feasibility of offering training similar to that previously offeredby ECU and that it negotiate with CIT as to how both the recognition of prior learning and the Institute’soffering of core units may allow participants who seek a VET diploma qualification to achieve it.9 That the CSTC offer to work with universities in encouraging people who work in, or aspire to work in,the collections sector, to pursue relevant postgraduate coursework or higher degree research qualifications, andto encourage the development of such opportunities by universities both internally and online.10 That on-going professional development should be considered both a right and an obligation for allpaid staff in the collections sector and a framework established through the CSTC for making it availableand mandatory.11 That the CSTC seek funds to facilitate professional development for people working in the collectionssector. Funds should be allocated by this Committee on a basis of need.12 That staff working in the collections sector be encouraged and subsidised by their employers, toattend state and national professional conferences. Participation, especially the presentation of papers,should be recognised as a contribution towards fulfilling professional development requirements of staff.13 That targeted programs for Indigenous people wishing to work in the sector be introduced toovercome disadvantage. Leaders should be trained, possibly through enhanced mentoring programs, toenable them to work in communities to build their capacity to manage and preserve culture, both tangibleand intangible. Financial support for Indigenous training should be sought from the mining industry.14 That, in consultation with the DCA, and through the CSTC, WAM, MAWA, educational institutionsand other related organisations including Art of the Move and Community Arts Network WA, worktowards establishing an agreed framework for training for the sector recognising the responsibility each willtake in its delivery.15 That MAWA, with guidance from the CSTC, lobby for funds to assist in the delivery of trainingprograms at all levels. In addition to seeking to maintain training support from Lotterywest, it shouldinvestigate the feasibility of gaining corporate support for training initiatives.16 That Museums Australia Inc., at national level, move towards establishing criteria for recognising theprofessional qualifications of its members (and hence of training providers). It should establish categories ofmembership reflecting qualifications, experience and performance.P A G E 12
  • 02 Introduction: Collections in contextThe social purpose and value of the sectorMuseums and galleries are social institutions found in communities almost everywhere. This testifies to adeep human need for cultural expression through collections. From large state-supported institutions to smallcommunity entities and from professionally operated to amateur manifestations, they demonstrate an enduringinterest in understanding the world through repositories of culture, whether tangible or intangible. The extentto which museums impact on the lives of communities depends on a variety of factors, but their ability to besocially relevant is vital to their on-going survival. Where public funding is expended on museums it is vital thatit be spent to achieve socially desirable outcomes and that a framework exists to secure and distribute resourceswhere they will be used wisely. Western Australia’s museum service is a developing one. Not so many years agoit was seen to be strongly dominated by the major state institutions. Over the last couple of decades there hasbeen a blossoming of smaller institutions and a growing professionalism in them, supported by closer attentionfrom the Department for Culture and the Arts, the WA Museum and Museums Australia Inc.Consideration of the roles and purposes of museums in contemporary society is central to all planning for theirfuture. Collections in the public domain are valued for what they reveal about people and their environmentinterpreted for purposes of education and enjoyment. Sound policies and well planned implementation areneeded to enable the collections sector to deliver social dividends commensurate with the investment madein them by all stakeholders. This can only come about within a suitable framework and through the work ofappropriately trained professional staff. Such staff need far more than technical knowledge of how to care andmanage the collections, important though such skills are. They must have the vision, passion and the ability toengage the wider community in enjoyable learning leading to desirable social outcomes.Collections play an important role in a nation’s cultural life and heritage. Museums and galleries are frequently prioritydestinations for tourists to any country or region. Residents in a community may tend to take their local museums andgalleries somewhat for granted, assuming that their collections will always be there. They are most likely to visit whenthere are new exhibitions, especially of the “blockbuster” variety in major institutions. However, it is the permanentcollections that provide the basic rationale for the existence of museums. Their care, interpretation and understandingthrough research lies at the heart of museum endeavours. They require appropriate resources including suitably trainedand experienced staff. While much of the work with collections is not seen by the public, the quality of visitor experienceis shaped by the result of that work. Professional staff use collections for public engagement and research, enablingthem to pay social dividends ranging from break-throughs in scientific research, to exhibitions and other programsthat educate and inspire through intellectual, emotional and aesthetic appeal. It is heartening to read in census reportsthat museums and galleries appear to be as popular as football matches, at least when measured by the sheer number ofvisitors. Fortunately they are spread over long opening hours rather than packed in stadiums!The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the total number of museums, excluding galleries, at 1,019 ofwhich 768 are social history museums, 425 historic properties and sites while all others account for 83. Interms of attendance, 3.6 million Australians visited museums in 2010 of whom 25% visited three or moremuseums that year. Total admissions numbered 17.8 million while 51.5 million online visits were made. Themost popular were historic buildings and sites, closely followed by museums and galleries. A total of 6,412people nominated museums as their main source of employment. 2.The Department for Culture and the Arts in Western Australia estimated that 88% of all Western Australiansattended cultural events in 2010 of whom 22% attended museums. 3.2. Australian Bureau of Statistics Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview 2010. Series 2172.0, and Museums Australia 2007-08. Series8650.0. The estimated number of museums, even allowing for the exclusion of galleries would seem to be conservative, given that Museums Australian.(WA) estimates some 300 in Western Australia.3. Department for Culture and the Arts Fact Sheet 2010 P A G E 13
  • Why training is neededBecause the collections sector relies on a diversity and depth of skills, the preparation of suitably skilledpeople to work in them is a complex matter. It is not made simpler by the sector’s reliance on a mix ofpaid and unpaid staff, thus muddying matters of accreditation, terms of employment and the evaluation ofperformance. To add to the complexity, institutions range from small, often underfunded, organisations tolarge state institutions in which professional staff members seek long-term employment and a designatedcareer path. Although all these institutions may be linked through the defining characteristic of collections,their variety, purposes and requirements make it challenging to address them as a single entity.Museum work has not generally been recognised as a profession as it lacks some of the commonly acceptedcriteria such as accreditation. However, few would dispute the professional credentials of leading museumdirectors, curators, designers, educators and many other skilled specialists comprising the staff of any modern andsuccessful museum or gallery. Appropriate training is the pathway to right of entry to practise a profession, butthe sheer variety of skill areas in museum work means that there is presently no agreed level of entry qualificationsfor employment as a museum professional. Nevertheless it is widely recognised that people aspiring to work inmuseums of any size or type, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity, need to be encouraged to deepen theirunderstanding and sense of purpose of the sector. In much the same way that teachers benefit from undertakingstudies in education to supplement their discipline of specialisation, people working in museums and galleriesneed to know about the nature of these institutions, from philosophical, historical and practical perspectives. Howdeep such understanding needs to be will depend on career situations and ambitions, but is appropriate for all.Museum work at any level demands practical skills in working with collections and these often need to be acquiredin the wake of specialist academic skills that equip potential museum workers for their particular area of work in amuseum. In the past it was common for museum skills to be learned on the job, there being no specially designedtraining courses. While this was, and still may be, appropriate in large institutions, it is not possible for staff in smallmuseums to learn on the job in the same way, as there is often no experienced mentor available to learn from.Museums usually attract staff members who have passion for their work, whether voluntary or paid.Opportunities in museums for creative initiative, scholarship and public engagement are matched bythe many challenges facing both large and small museums. Without committed and passionate staff,opportunities will not be taken nor challenges met and overcome. Whatever training is offered orundertaken, it should further develop motivation as well as providing practical skills.The announcement of funding for the long overdue new state museum makes this an appropriate time toreconsider training needs of the collections sector as existing and potential staff will have to keep abreastof rapid change if the vision of a state of the art museum is to be fulfilled. There will be an ongoing needfor staff imbued with the vision and mission of the museum to be appropriately trained in whatever skillsare appropriate to particular collections. Such staff may emerge partly through new appointments, butprofessional development opportunities for existing staff are also vital.Other changes, too, underline the timeliness of this review of training provision. Significant demographic changesare affecting the staffing of museums. The next decade will see the retirement of many long-standing members ofstaff in state institutions, particularly in the WA Museum, and they will have to be suitably replaced. To meet theaims of the state museum’s it will be desirable to train staff locally with a focus on the unique qualities of WesternAustralia’s environment and heritage. The volunteer force working in the sector is likewise ageing and is not likely tobe replaced in comparable numbers by younger volunteers. This is likely to result in an increasing number of paidpositions. It is vital that Western Australia has in place suitable training programs that can provide staff who areequipped to address the unique characteristics of the state’s cultural and natural environment. P A G E 14
  • A time of change and crisisThe last thirty years have seen growth and increasingly high standards in the collections sector in Western Australia,the transformation being most obvious in many of the smaller institutions. This has largely resulted from theavailability of a suite of training / education opportunities. However, recent changes have created a crisis at all levels oftraining. These include the termination of courses at the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage at Curtin Universityand the Master of Curatorial Studies at the University of Western Australia, as well as the impending closure ofthe museum studies course at Edith Cowan University. These changes are occurring at a time when significantdevelopments are lifting the need for professional expertise to higher levels. They include planning a new statemuseum, enhanced employment opportunities in the smaller museum/gallery/heritage scene, especially but not onlyin local government, and a general quickening in community awareness of the significance of collections.At the heart of this report is a search for some achievable training provision in the short and medium term.The major challenge facing the sector is to determine what training is needed in the present circumstances,how it can be delivered, by whom, how resourced and made sustainable.Required training provisionThe process of consultation and analysis described in subsequent sections of this report has confirmed thatthe collections sector in Western Australia requires a suite of training opportunities.These may be summarised as follows:• Accessible, affordable and motivating entry level training for volunteer staff members.• An articulated course of study that equips those undertaking it to perform the major skills neededfor conducting a small museum that meets at least minimum national standards. A popular, accessible andcomprehensive and practical course of this kind has hitherto been provided by the Edith Cowan University(ECU) museum studies course. However, although well regarded, it did not provide a nationally recognisedaccreditation. The extent to which this is crucial to the delivery of such a course needs careful consideration.Although it could be delivered through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector meetingthe requirements of the Australian Quality Framework as laid down in training packages, many potentialparticipants may not be looking for accreditation and may be discouraged from participating if the structuraldemands are too great. Career-seekers may be well advised to complete such qualifications, but in additionto, and not instead of, sound academic qualifications in a relevant discipline as it is doubtful whether theVET qualification alone will provide entry to career positions. The possible translation and adaptation of theECU course into the VET framework would need to be handled with sensitivity and flexibility to ensure itcontinued to attract enrolments and provide suitable training.• Pre-vocational training and education in museum studies for people aspiring to work at a specialistor advanced level in the sector. Such training should be in addition to, and not instead of, sound academicqualifications in a discipline relevant to the area of museum work to which they aspire. For example, itcould be a postgraduate diploma, degree or higher degree in museum, gallery, cultural or heritage studies.In Western Australia, the former Research Institute for Cultural Heritage at Curtin University provideda suitable academic qualification for the sector. Whether the VET diploma course could serve as the pre-vocational course for these people rather than a university course, is doubtful.• Pathways for upgrading professional qualifications of people working in the sector to Master or PhDlevel. Creative ways need to be found to make this possible within existing structures in universities. Programscould be devised in conjunction with museums and collections either on campus or elsewhere. This pathway isneeded to fill the gaps left by the withdrawal of such opportunity at the Research Institute for Cultural Heritageat Curtin and the suspension of the Master of Curatorial Studies at the University of Western Australia. P A G E 15
  • • Mentoring programs targeting the particular needs of individuals and the institutional context inwhich they are working or will work. Such programs could be integrated with formal course provisionas assessed academic placements with co-operating museums. Formal recognition of mentoring as aqualification is needed for career advancement. Mentoring is especially needed for the training of leaders towork with Indigenous people and collections.• Opportunities for ongoing professional development for staff already working in the sector. Presently,such opportunities are few in Western Australia and there are obstacles preventing them from participatingin offerings interstate or overseas. With a new state museum now being developed, the need for professionalstaff in the sector is urgent if they are to keep abreast of rapid changes.In addition to the formal programs outlined above, there is an ongoing need for informal training throughconferences, meetings and publications such as professional magazines and newsletters, all of which can bevehicles for developing skills and improving performance of staff.The review attempts to consider these needs in the context of existing and potential service providers. Theseinclude state institutions and state-funded organisations, professional associations, universities, the VETsector and the personnel able and available to assist in meeting needs in various frameworks. P A G E 16
  • 03 Review methodologyAt the commencement of the review, the consultant familiarised himself with a range of studies that providean historical context for the present review. These are listed in the bibliography.The consultant has been intimately associated with museum training in WA and with museum organisationsfor almost thirty years both at state and national levels. He is a past president of the state branch of MuseumsAustralia and the Council of Australian University Museums and Collections, has served on the NationalCouncil of Museums Australia for many years and is an honorary life member. Following the report of thestate task force for museum policy in 1991, he was largely responsible for commencing the first articulatedtraining program for skilling workers in the many small museums around the state – a series of workshopsthat has continued for 20 years as the ECU Museum Studies Course. It was with this background that he haddeveloped a comprehensive understanding of both the extent and type of training needed at all levels by theindustry and a knowledge of many of the institutions and people involved in both the delivery and receivingof training.At the commencement of the review he set about meeting with a range of key stakeholders to discuss inbroad terms what were perceived as key needs and how they might be met.Following this, and with the assistance of staff of Museums Australia (WA), he established a reference groupof a dozen members representing a range of interests in the sector, to consider what was emerging duringthe project, monitor progress and offer suggestions. In addition, Winthrop Professor Ian Reid kindly agreedto act as a mentor. Individual members of the group also played a part in other aspects of the process,particularly in focus groups, as well as offering informal views and advice throughout the project.An important aspect of the process was the use of a questionnaire. This was constructed in consultationwith staff of Museums Australia (WA) and was formatted with assistance from the Central Instituteof Technology, which also distributed it to recipients and collated responses. The consultant wishes toacknowledge this assistance which greatly facilitated the collection of useful information. The questionnairewas distributed to all individual and organisational members of Museums Australia (WA) who have emailaddresses, to clients of the WA Museum’s Development Service, to members and affiliates of the RoyalWestern Australian Historical Society, to all Heritage and Community Development Officers in localgovernment, to the staff of the Western Australian Museum, clients of Future Now, and current and formerparticipants in the ECU Museum Studies Course. The results of its analysis provide an important ingredientof this report.With assistance from Lydia Edwards, coordinator of the ECU course, records of past enrolments and studentevaluation forms were surveyed as evidence of demand and a measure of student satisfaction. Similarinformation regarding the courses conducted through the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage wassought through Jennifer Harris at Curtin University.More qualitative information from the industry was sampled through focus groups. Separate meetings wereheld to consider the needs of a variety of parties including volunteers, paid museum staff in small museums,paid staff at WAM, conservators, Indigenous interests, and the visual arts. The consultant sought advice asto who would be useful contributors to these focus groups. For example, with regard to Indigenous needs, aprior meeting was held to consider both who should be invited and how the meeting might best proceed. Inall cases some suggested questions and issues for consideration were distributed in advance to focus attention P A G E 17
  • on relevant matters, though care was taken not to make them a prescriptive agenda as it was consideredimportant to give space for those present to raise any issues they considered important. The consultant issueda brief summary of the meetings’ outcomes and invited further consultation. Although more work is necessary to ensure adequate training provision for this diverse sector, the reviewhas identified possible paths that may prove practical and beneficial to institutions with potential to delivertraining as well as to the prospective recipients. To this end some discussions were held with representativesof existing and potential providers. At both ECU and Curtin, it was made clear that decisions taken to closecourses are irreversible, at least for the foreseeable future. Early attempts from members of the referencecommittee to revisit these decisions served only to underline the decisions taken, the chief reason given beingthat maintaining them had proved economically unsustainable. The most encouraging potential provisionearly in the review process came from the Central Institute of Technology where the Head of Creative Artsheld several meetings with the consultant and representatives from the WA Museum Development Serviceand Future Now to look at the feasibility of implementing the VET training package for museum workers inthe near future. This resulted in engaging a consultant to map the present ECU course against the Library andMuseum Training Package (CUL501 11) at diploma level. The outcomes of these negotiations, the mappingexercise and the experience of Institutes of Technology in the eastern states with the training package arediscussed in some detail later.Although it seems unlikely that any university will fill the gap left by the recent withdrawal of provision byestablishing something on the scale of the former RICH, it has been encouraging to find that some academicshope to meet at least some of the need by working within existing structures to make provision for studentsseeking careers in the broad field of cultural studies to carry out postgraduate and higher degree workinvolving collections.The consultant has taken the opportunity to investigate current provision for training for the sector elsewherein Australia. Whilst it has not been possible to discover in detail what is offered in all institutions, and withwhat measure of success, a range of experiences are reported where they appear to offer ideas that may haverelevance to the local situation.P A G E 18
  • 04 Museums and standardsOver the last three decades the small museum scene in Western Australia has seen a remarkabletransformation. Although the process of defining, introducing and maintaining acceptable standards is anon-going process and the contrasts that exist between institutions are great, few can fail to appreciate that thesector has made considerable progress. It is useful to attempt to assess what have been the major agents ofdevelopment and what is needed in the future for continued improvement.In the past much effort was given to assisting volunteers to better care for collections and to managemuseums. This was necessary as in the early 1980s there were virtually no museums outside state institutionswhere paid staff were employed. Today, although still reliant to a considerable degree on voluntarycontribution, the majority of museums generally considered being at the forefront of the profession arethose with suitably trained paid staff. Such training requires substantial investment of time and resourcesboth from providers and participants. While developing necessary practical skills is crucial to any suchtraining, effective leadership in the industry requires a sense of vocation and an on-going engagement withthe many issues that shape the role of museums in society. As can be appreciated from the examples of paidstaff 4. in the small museum sector appearing in the appendix, those so employed have invested heavily inpre-vocational education which has generally included both substantial academic disciplinary educationand practical skills training. University postgraduate diploma courses provide a sound and recognisedprofessional background, building as they do on degree qualifications in a relevant field. A number of leadingprofessionals in the collections sector have qualified through the RICH at Curtin University, while othershave earned qualifications from recognised courses overseas. The ECU Museum Studies Course, while notestablished to provide an entry qualification for a paid career in the sector has proved a credible backgroundfor employment when added to academic qualifications in areas related to the museums in which they havefound employment.Evidence of the strides being made in museums fortunate enough to have one or more paid positions filled bywell educated and paid staff, make it obvious that the on-going development of a fully professional museumservice, requires provision of suitable courses of study. The collapse of the two principal courses offered inWestern Australia has largely put the clock back thirty years when the only opportunity was to enrol outsidethe state.Several recent initiatives have been assisting museums to develop criteria for professional recognition.However, this is an evolving process and it is not clear how, in the short term, the industry will be ableto regulate practice in collecting institutions (e.g. in relation to employment of staff) with the precisionthat applies in most professions. Perhaps the professional area that has most in common with museumwork is that of library and information services. However, because of its diversity and heavy reliance onvoluntary contribution, the museum sector has some way to go before it approaches parity with libraries instandardising professional employment and practice. Although leadership in transforming museums comesmainly from people with a strong educational background and who are often in paid positions, the sectorcontinues to be heavily reliant on the contribution of volunteers. In large institutions they support the workof paid staff, while in smaller museums there may be no paid staff and so volunteers have responsibility forthe entire operation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that volunteers are becoming more difficult to attract andthat those giving service are less willing to contribute regularly and substantially to levels common in thepast. One may have thought that retiring baby-boomers would provide an increasing pool of such people,but this as yet does not seem to be evident. Reasons suggested in consultation have ranged from the Global4. Some examples of current paid positions and examples of museums that are achieving high standards are included as an appendix. P A G E 19
  • Economic Crisis causing delayed retirement to more individualistic lifestyles where volunteering is notembraced by as large a proportion of the community. Whatever the reason, if the continuing trend reducesthe pool of available volunteers, then many museums will feel the effect. It suggests that the trend towardspaid employment may increase. However one way of combating the trend is to ensure that popular, effectiveand accessible training is available.In the past, volunteers working in institutions with employed staff often received mentoring instructionfrom experienced staff members and became skilled in the aspect of work in which they were involved. Thissituation appears to have changed considerably. Consultation during this project revealed that many staffmembers are too busy to be able to invest the time necessary to train voluntary staff. Increasingly, volunteersare being taken on only if they have already undertaken some training in the area of work in which they wishto volunteer. A convincing point, made by a member of the WAM staff who currently lectures in three ofthe ECU museum course modules, was that it takes the equivalent time of a two day course module to traina volunteer to be able to document collection items to a satisfactory standard. It was therefore a much betterinvestment of time to present to a class than to train on a one-to-one basis.Training provision is most obviously thought of in relation to individuals who will undertake it. However itshould be framed by the needs of the institutions in which people will work. The remarkable growth in thenumber of museums in recent decades has resulted in WA having some 300, which seek to meet acceptedcriteria for recognition as museums as laid down in commonly accepted definitions. Ensuring sufficientsupport for aspiring museums has long been a concern within the industry. While there should be no barrierspreventing the emergence of new museums, it is difficult to see how such a large number can all be staffed,financed and operate at appropriately professional levels. More seriously, where public money is requiredfor their support, some criteria need to be adopted to determine its allocation. This was recognised as earlyas the 1960s when the Western Australian Museum established the Recognition Program, an early form ofaccreditation which, unfortunately, proved difficult to maintain.More recently, the establishment of National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries, the twoSignificance publications and grant funding made available through the National Library of Australia tofacilitate significance assessments and preservation surveys, have gone some way to bringing a focus on theneed for established professional standards and practice. Similarly the use of grant schemes, most notably thosesponsored by Lotterywest and administered by MAWA have considerably lifted standards, not only throughthe grants awarded but also by requiring evidence of appropriate planning, policies and procedures before aninstitution can be eligible for assistance. Administration of the grant scheme by the professional associationhas also meant that there is a growing shared understanding as to what constitutes professional practice. Inshort, there has been a significant shift towards professional status within the museums community. This shift isdirectly related to the training needs and standards of the emerging profession.Museum accreditation programs now operate in varying ways in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria andSouth Australia. Western Australia has been wary of introducing such a scheme since the demise of WAM’sRecognition Program of the 1970s, on grounds that it was too intensive to administer. Training individuals wasseen to be a more manageable way of lifting standards. Because times have changed, and in view of other states’experience, it may be timely to reconsider the possible advantages of an accreditation scheme.P A G E 20
  • The evolution of museum training in this state is outlined in the consultant’s paper delivered at the 2011national MA Conference which is included as an appendix to this report. It demonstrates how, largelythrough self-help within the museums fraternity, occasional (generally one day) workshops and assistancefrom travelling curators (when such were available) became translated into an articulated course that hasbeen the ECU museum studies course aimed particularly at fostering sound museum practice in smallmuseums. The emergence of the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage at Curtin University was the singlemost transforming initiative for the sector, while other developments such as the continuing work of Arton the Move met specific needs for the visual arts sector. The McShane Report in 2001 drew attention to thepotential of the VET training package as a means of delivering nationally accredited training – a potentialthat as yet has not eventuated in WA.5. However, extensive revision of this package in 2011 and its integrationwith the Library and Information Services package makes it timely to consider carefully whether this is thebest future pathway to the delivery of training. Although the proportion of those seeking training who wishfor accreditation is estimated to be relatively small, formal recognition is nevertheless vital for those seekingemployment in some museums, especially those operated by local government, and is a further step indefining and lifting standards. However, for those seeking a substantial career in the sector, particularly instate institutions, it is important to recognise that the VET qualification needs to be supplemented by strongacademic qualifications.What has been outlined above has strong relevance to the future delivery of training. The cultural life ofthe state will be enriched by the development of museums of quality and variety spread geographicallythrough the state. While small and relatively amateur museums may continue in large numbers, the majorconcern should be to assist the emergence and further growth of those museums that will be sustainableand well patronised over time. These will be the museums where emerging professionals may expect to findemployment and where they will be needed. The strategy adopted for providing training will have a directinfluence on the future shape of the museum service throughout the state.5.McShane, Ian, 2001. Training for the Museum Profession in Western Australia: a Report to Museums Australia (Western Australia). P A G E 21
  • 05 Existing provisionThe current situation is best understood through some knowledge of how it has evolved and what forceshave moulded, and continue to mould it. As already mentioned, this is outlined in some detail in the 2011conference paper, but is briefly referred to here.Because of the nature of the industry, the demarcation between voluntary and paid staff is blurred. Whilecareer specialists may bring strong academic backgrounds to their museum careers, they often need much thesame introduction to aspects of museum practice as voluntary staff.5.1 Training provision for volunteer and non-specialist museum staff5.1.1 The WA Museum’s Development Services unitThis unit has inherited a long tradition at the WA Museum of providing training to the small museum sector.For over forty years this has included visits to museums and conducting short courses or workshops. Asignificant recent initiative has been to map individual components of an introductory orientation course formuseum volunteers against the VET training package at Certificate 3 level so that participants can be assessedagainst a nationally recognised standard. During the period in which this consultancy was carried out, theservice was undergoing change and review including the addition of a third member of staff. This reflectsthe WAM’s commitment to servicing the wider museum community throughout the state. Future servicedelivery will be the subject of on-going consideration and will in part be influenced by the outcome of thisreview. Because WAM is currently not a recognised training organisation (RTO), it may be desirable to workwith such a body in order to be able to accredit training modules. A suitable body could be the CommunityArts Network Western Australia (CANWA). As the role of the Development Services unit extends beyondtraining, it is obvious that without greater resources it could only partially assist in meeting the training needsof voluntary staff working in the sector throughout the state.5.1.2 Museums Australia Inc. (WA)As the Western Australian Branch of the major professional body for the sector, MAWA has a long historyof providing training reaching well back to the period before amalgamation of the several smaller previousassociations. Several of these had been involved in training and professional development for their membersprior to the amalgamation – through conferences, workshops, professional projects, chapter meetings, publiclectures, and occasionally taking training workshops to the regions.In recent years MAWA has focussed more on providing what have been termed master classes for members(non-members can also attend at a higher cost). These have attempted to address emerging developments inthe sector and have engaged local, interstate and sometimes overseas talent as presenters. The Associationis to be applauded for these initiatives; they contributed to the Association winning a Heritage CouncilAward in 2010. The Association has shown remarkable resilience and an ability to develop and carry througha business plan allowing a relatively modest operating grant to stretch to additional staff and a range ofinitiatives of which training has been only one. That master classes have been well subscribed, despite a fairlysubstantial cost to participants, demonstrates the need and hunger for such training. However, althoughvolunteers have been able to participate in these classes, they have mostly attracted participants who alreadyhave considerable museum experience. Calling them master classes makes clear that they are not forbeginners.P A G E 22
  • During the review process the consultant was made acutely aware that, beneficial as these courses are to thesector, there is insufficient opportunity for professional development for staff working at an advanced level.All too often those people are called on to present part of a master class themselves which, while beneficialto many attendees, does not really provide for their own needs. This is no criticism of what MAWA hasbeen offering, but simply points to the limitation of what they are currently able to provide. The need forprofessional development training is addressed further later in the report.“The structure of MAWA has further assisted initiatives in training. Consisting of chapters spreadgeographically around the state, the chapter organisation provides the vehicle for regular meetings thepurpose of which, apart from the development of a spirit of friendship and mutual support, is to focus oncurrent training matters of concern to the group. These sessions are frequently presented by a qualified andexperienced practitioner, generally someone prepared to travel and devote his or her time for the benefit ofthe sector.Other initiatives of Museums Australia• ConferencesBoth at the national and state levels, conferences provide a significant vehicle for professional development.They are well attended and structured to allow for consideration of significant issues confronting the industryas a whole and provide opportunities for attendees to focus on areas of particular interest and to participatein some training workshop sessions.• PublicationsSignificant training and professional development is embedded in what have increasingly become morecomprehensive and informative publications. Musing, the Branch publication has now grown beyond a merenewsletter to be a magazine in its own right with some substantial articles relating to professional practice aswell as being a vehicle for keeping in touch with local happenings and networking opportunities. The same istrue of the national publication Museums Australia Magazine, though the scale of this publication has beensomewhat reduced from its earlier form as Museum National.Occasional publications, sometimes produced in conjunction with other organisations, have also providedavenues for training. Sharing our Stories, produced in conjunction with the National Trust of Australia(WA), provides guidance for interpretation in museums and heritage places – a focus that has becomeincreasingly important to the work of many small (and sometimes not so small) museums. At the nationallevel, policy documents for use in museums have also been a vehicle for training of staff. These includepolicies for working with Indigenous people and representing their culture and a gay and lesbian policy.5.1.3 The ECU Museum Studies CourseFor 20 years this has been a major vehicle for providing professional skilling to the small museum sector.Begun in the wake of a state task force in 1990 which identified that such an initiative was needed, it hasproved its popularity and worth by averaging annual enrolments of circa 60 students for parts of the courseand some 15 annually who fulfilled the requirements for course completion. This course, a unique offeringin the Australian training scene, has much strength, but some perceived weaknesses, the latter bringingabout its demise at the end of 2012. Amongst its strengths are accessibility (low cost and available as a seriesof weekend workshops), the quality of presenters (all are recognised professional in the areas in which theydeliver training), and flexibility. The latter allows for participation by volunteers, practising professionals,undergraduates and postgraduates. University students have been able to enrol at undergraduate level withmuseum studies as either a major or minor area of study, or as a postgraduate Certificate. Those enrolled P A G E 23
  • for academic credit have had to satisfy university entrance requirements and have participated in a seminarstream and a more rigorous assessment regime than those enrolling for the workshops leading simply toa certificate of completion. As the course has been conducted on a fee for service basis, participants couldenrol for individual units or take the whole course and gain a certificate of completion providing they meetassessment requirements. Assessment was more akin to university assessment requirements than to the VETcompetency mode, though it is debatable whether this was a shortcoming as all participants had hands onexperience throughout the course and assessment was thorough in the areas students selected (three out often topics) thus recognising that most students have particular areas of interest.As the course was created originally to provide training for the small, mostly local history, museum sector, ithas not served the visual arts sector well, though in recent years it has attracted more participants from thatsegment and has attempted to cater somewhat better for their needs.A major concern is that for those not enrolling as university students (the vast majority), there has been noaccreditation apart from the exemplary reputation the course has enjoyed within the local industry. Theextent to which accreditation is a matter of serious concern is taken up later in this report.5.1.4 Art on the MovePresently, this organisation has approximately 55 modules aimed at training and supporting the presentationof touring exhibitions in Western Australia. The modules have been commissioned by Art on the Move overthe past decade. They have been written by industry leaders to address particular activities and skills requiredto handle and present such exhibitions. Modules have been moderated to suit Art on the Move’s professionaldevelopment program. They allow for a range of presenters to be engaged although all must be qualified andexperienced in the particular module. Modules are presented to individuals and groups, usually over one ortwo days, using the local venue’s facilities and equipment. Often two presenters work simultaneously withdifferent groups/individuals. The intention is not to provide training to everyone. The training is aimedat providing the most direct and informative method for staff, volunteers and the venue management. Forexample, only the people involved in installing exhibitions will be trained in this activity. Gallery lighting orcondition reporting is also targeted in this way.Art on the Move training assists in building skills in local venues. It also assists with the professionalpresentation of touring exhibitions and reduces the risk of damage. Five communities receive subsidisedtraining each with support from the DCA annual funding to Art on the Move. Other training is provided ona cost recovery basis. A Professional Development Officer currently works two days a week.There are very few venues across WA suitable for presenting regular touring exhibitions. Art on the Moveexhibitions are often displayed in museums and art galleries.The design and fabrication of a recent initiative, the “modular gallery”, was achieved without governmentfunding. It was designed and fabricated at the Art on the Move’s Malaga workshop. It aims to introducecommunities to a simpler, far more contemporary exhibition venue. It is planned to trial the modular galleryand the touring/education program at two communities before evaluation and assessment.5.1.5 Guiding and front of house trainingFor many years the AGWA has conducted highly successful training for voluntary guides which involvesparticipants in rigorous training over a two-year period and requires on-going commitment for theinvestment made by the institution in providing the training.P A G E 24
  • Presently, training initiatives are being developed at WA Museum where consultation with staff responsiblefor recruiting and training volunteer staff to assist with educational visits, public programs and audiencebuilding and management reveal this as an important aspect of the Museum’s work, particularly with regardto its image and popular standing with the community. Responsibility for this lies with two employed officerswho are hard pressed to provide adequate training as their other duties are onerous. The same officersexpressed the strong opinion that all staff employed in the Museum need to see themselves as ambassadorsfor the institution and that a staff orientation or induction program was needed to develop a strong espritde corps and an awareness of each member’s place and contribution to the well-being of the whole museum.They lamented the present lack of in-house training at all levels.In Western Australia the major focus of museum training has been on collections management andinterpretation, with some attention being given to public programs, but very little concerned with strategiesfor public engagement. The great need that had existed in amateur museums to skill workers to care for andmanage collections explains this emphasis, as does the very rudimentary way in which many small museumspresented their collections as displays, rather than as interpretation. While it could be argued that artsmanagement rather than museum studies training is the proper arena for developing skills relating to publicengagement, it is nevertheless vital that all members of a museum’s staff see themselves as ambassadors for theirinstitution and therefore require some training in how to carry out this role. Training in bringing museums tothe public, and bringing the public to the museum, is a necessary part of training for the collections sector.5.1.6 Publications and initiatives from the sector at national levelIt is important here to also acknowledge the ways in which other initiatives taken at a national level assistin skilling the workforce of the sector. The former Collections Council of Australia revised an earlierpublication to issue Significance 2, providing guidance for museums in the assessment of the significanceof their collections, either as whole collections or of individual items or groups of items within them.Subsequent funding opportunities provided by the National Library of Australia has enabled many museumsto employ a consultant to work with the their staff on an assessment of their collection This process hasproved a valuable training initiative for the staff involved in assisting the consultant. A similar process forcarrying out preservation assessments is likewise providing valuable on-the-ground training for the (oftenvoluntary) staff in small museums.Another significant innovation with relevance to training has been the publication of National Standards forAustralian Museums and Galleries. These standards are largely expressed in performance terms and enablethe monitoring of current practices to ensure that they meet professional expectations. All these initiativeshave provided the basis for training workshops conducted by the professional association.5.1.7 Community Arts Network WAAlthough not directly involved with collections, this organisation is included for its potential it to extend theeffective cultural work it carries out with communities to include collections, especially in community museumsand galleries. As a RTO, CANWA has the ability to be a suitable body through which other agencies such asWAM or MAWA could work to deliver accredited training. Presently CANWA is in discussion with WAM toauspice the delivery of CU30111 Certificate 111 in Information and Cultural Studies. CANWA has extensiveexperience in community cultural mapping and programs fostering community engagement. The organisationcurrently provides skills development for local government delivering two units of competency from theLocal Government Training Package (LGACOM502B Devise and conduct community consultations andLGAGOVA606B Develop and maintain a community cultural plan). P A G E 25
  • As mentioned elsewhere in this report, there is a need for local government to be more aware of therole of the collections sector, and this program is an example of how working with CANWA can assistin integrating the collections sector into community programs and making it more obviously relevant.CANWA produces community and cultural products as core business and can point to a range of recent initiatives giving voice to communities that are often too silent. These include two recent partnerships withWAM where dolls from Yarns of the Heart were displayed, and a collection of oral histories together with ashort visual piece were produced to accompany an exhibition about British child migration, On their Own.5.2 Training/education provision for professional careers in the sectorThrough the 1990s and early 2000s Curtin University played a major role in preparing students for careers inthe sector through its Research Institute for Cultural Heritage headed by Professor David Dolan. The benefitof this Institute continues to be felt throughout the sector and many of its graduates have moved on to makesubstantial careers, often working with collections. The demise of such an excellent research and teachingcentre is a great loss. Increasing economic and other pressures faced by universities need to be kept firmly inmind when considering future training and education for the sector.As mentioned earlier, the ECU course made it possible for museum studies to form part of undergraduatecourses in the humanities or it could be taken as a graduate certificate. While this provision alone has notbeen a sufficient pre-service career qualification, when combined with appropriate disciplinary studies,participants have been able to acquire knowledge and skills in significant aspects of museum practice. Thispathway too will close at the end of 2012.There remains the option to undertake museum studies or cultural heritage at a university outside the state. Infocus groups conducted during the review, those who had taken such courses expressed the strong opinion thatthey provide a highly suitable qualification for a career in the sector. As indicated earlier, evidence of this is seenin the number of people employed in the sector in Western Australia who have undertaken such studies. As thisoption is now available from some institutions in distance or online mode, it is a practical pathway for gaininga suitable qualification. However, to advocate for this pathway is to regress to the only one available before thedevelopment of courses in Western Australia. Online study makes practical work difficult, offers no or limitedopportunity for professional interaction, and is expensive. Further, reliance on courses taken elsewhere providesnothing that can be specifically tailored to the requirements of Western Australia which has many uniquecharacteristics that need to be addressed in a program aimed at a local market.There is a tendency to refer to training needs as though they are much the same for all types of collectionsand collecting institutions. While there may be many common aspects, it is doubtful whether, at anyadvanced level, any course can be effectively structured to meet all aspects of what is needed for diversecollecting institutions without including a range of specialist options. In Western Australia, separatepostgraduate offerings in visual arts curatorship such as the Masters in Curatorial Studies at UWA haverecognised this but have not thrived, probably because the potential field of students is small. Curatorial andresearch work in natural history are highly specialised areas for which more generic training on collectionsprovides little of benefit. Maritime archaeology, a strong Department in the WA Museum with a long andactive tradition of mentoring and sharing work on collections with students and colleagues throughout theworld, is another segment of the sector where, apart from the most basic tools of collections management,training with regard to collections has proved to be more effective through mentoring than through anylocal training program. The postgraduate diploma in Maritime Archaeology, pioneered in Western Australiain the 1970s proved too expensive and resource hungry to remain viable despite the quality of staff and theimportance of Western Australia as a centre for maritime archaeology.P A G E 26
  • Consideration of what the staff of specialist museums and collections require should not, however, blind usto the need for generic training to meet the needs of the numerous small, mostly local or historical museumsthat share many common characteristics. They all want to manage their collections effectively and use themfor research, interpretation, exhibition and other contributions to their communities or institutions. If whathas been mooted regarding the need for fostering broader understandings about museum culture is accepted,then it would seem that something of this should be included, at a suitable level, in any such generic course. P A G E 27
  • 06 MentoringMentoring currently plays a significant role in training, though it applies to only a small number of traineesin Western Australia. Its value was testified to in focus groups and through the reported success of mentoringand internship programs elsewhere - for example, through programs at the Powerhouse Museum and theRiverina Regional Museum. The Department of Culture and the Arts Emerging Curator program has laidthe foundation for career opportunities, especially for Indigenous recipients, by providing opportunitiesfor working in the state art gallery, on travelling exhibitions such as the Canning Stock Route exhibitionand in communities. At the Western Australian Museum the recent internships provided for East Timoresevisiting curators were seen to be highly effective, though draining on staff already heavily committed in otherduties. At the University of Western Australia the Berndt Museum of Anthropology has a long traditionof mentoring Indigenous people for working to strengthen communities and care for material culture. TheMaritime Archaeology Department at Fremantle has a strong record of internship training that could wellprovide a pattern for other departments to emulate, though its capacity to attract funds through contractwork, thus providing staff capacity for mentoring, may prove more difficult for other departments.Where there have been opportunities for tertiary students or employed staff in small museums to workin a temporary capacity in major institutions or on major projects, this has been seen by those able totake advantage of such opportunities to have been effective professional development leading to theacquisition of valuable new skills and experience. Such opportunities have arisen, for example, when theWA Museum’s collections were being relocated to Welshpool or when the needs of a new exhibition havecalled for additional staff on a temporary basis. Valuable though such experiences might be as training, theirrecognition as a qualification for further career advancement is not assured.As with other training needs, Western Australia’s collections sector needs a more thoroughly thought-outand implemented framework for providing mentoring and internship opportunities. These are neededat various levels, of varying lengths, in various places and with varying degrees of recognition. They mayrange, for example, from opportunities for people from small and remote museums to be able to spend a fewhours with an experienced professional when they visit a city with a major museum, to a highly structuredpracticum or research placement for a student working towards a tertiary degree. As reported elsewhere inthis report, at the Powerhouse Museum a Regional Outreach Program co-ordinator has the arrangement ofinternships as a major responsibility. For many years, professional staff of museums in Western Australiahave given of their time and expertise to assist their colleagues in small, often amateur, museums. Muchof this has been incidental to their main employed responsibilities and has neither been recognised noraccounted for. The establishment of a formalised structure or framework for this type of training would be anexcellent project for the proposed Collections Sector Training Committee, which could take inspiration frominternship and mentoring arrangements in the eastern states.P A G E 28
  • 07 Assessing demand in the light of previous participationPast take-up of training opportunities is one indicator of need but must be reviewed in the context ofchanging circumstances and future projections.Currently there are an estimated 300 plus museums operating in Western Australia, the bulk of which aresmall community museums. Of these, only a small proportion has any paid staff. While it is far from clearwhat the profile of the state’s museums will be in the longer term future, current trends indicate that somewill prosper while others may either decline or continue to operate at what the profession would regardas below acceptable standards. In common with many community organisations, many museums areincreasingly finding it difficult to maintain volunteer staff at a level to make their operation sustainable,especially against the demands of established national standards. In contrast, museums operated bylocal government (several were previously historical society museums) are emerging as professional andsustainable operations. Trained staff members are essential for both the above types of institutions, but it isdoubtful whether the same training will meet the requirements of each. The issue is further complicated bythe tendency to think of museums as distinct from galleries. The latter, though sharing many characteristics,have needs that will not, and in the past have not, been met by a “one size fits all” training program. Evenif one considers museums as distinct from galleries, their varieties are such that there is still a considerablerange of specific training requirements within them. Further, the working environment in large institutions isvastly different from that in small ones, the former making possible departmental structures where specialistskills are required, while in small institutions a more versatile training is needed to equip those in charge toperform a wide range of skills within a management framework.Increasingly, paid positions in the small museum sector are being taken up by people with substantialeducational qualifications, and competition for them is strong. This has led to an increasing demand foraccredited training. As the majority of new paid positions are in local government as museum curators and/or heritage officers, or in organisations where managers have little background in museum work, it is notsurprising that a formal recognised qualification will give an applicant an advantage over even an experiencedapplicant who has received effective, but not recognised, training. This makes it desirable in WesternAustralia to provide a nationally recognised form of training for career-seekers. The Vocational Educationand Training package CUL50111 fills this need and as such is seen by some as the best way to proceed inproviding training for the sector as a whole. However a number of factors need to be carefully consideredbefore a decision id made on this path and they are discussed later.7.1 Museum Studies at ECUThe ECU museum studies course was designed with the small museum sector in mind and arose from theneed identified in the Stannage Report (1992).6. Because it arose before the amalgamation of the formerMuseums Association of Australia with the Art Museums Association of Australia, and was designed out ofthe Museum of Childhood (a museum of social history) and with assistance from staff of the WA Museum,it was not focussed on training for the visual arts sector. Indeed, the course had a very modest beginning andaspiration – its staff thought there might be sufficient interest to run a series of workshops every second year,and that such a program would be a more efficient way of providing assistance to small museums than one-to-one help on specific matters.6. Department for the Arts, Western Australian Government, 1992. Into the Twenty-first Century, Report of the State Task Force for Museums Policy inWestern Australia. P A G E 29
  • Demand for the course exceeded all expectations with the result that it has operated now for over twentyyears. During the present review the t has attempted to discover full details of enrolments as evidence ofdemand. This has proved difficult as not all records from the time when it was managed by the Museum ofChildhood survived the closure of that institution. However what is obvious is that there has been a healthydemand for its offerings and one that shows no sign of abating. There has been an average of 60 participantsin the course over the years with an average of 15 graduates each year. The large number of participantsreflects the flexibility possible in the course allowing interested participants to take individual modules inareas of particular interest to them (often in the area in which they work as volunteers), as well as the abilityto complete the course over several years. Surprisingly, a substantial number of those participating camefrom backgrounds other than working in small museums. These included librarians, archivists, teachers, staffof the WA Museum, graduates of related disciplines (some with PhD qualifications) and people doing thecourse simply out of interest. The modest cost of the course combined with its format as a series of weekendworkshops made it attractive and accessible to a wider client group than enrolment in formal undergraduatestudies. Many participants also had full time employment during the week. Feedback from evaluation formscollected throughout the course indicate that the quality of presenters and the opportunities to establishnetworks amongst the group members and with practising professionals made the course popular as did thepractical sessions made possible by the weekend format.All these aspects need to be taken into account when considering future demand for training. The ECUcourse format may well be due for substantial change, and the decision of ECU to close it will force this, butin considering the future, the factors accounting for its long popularity will need, where possible, to be builtinto whatever new format emerges.7.2 Introductory courses conducted by RICH and the WA MuseumSeveral short (four day) courses introducing mainly previously untrained participants to the fundamentalsof collections management and preventative conservation were held from the mid-1990s and aimed to skillvoluntary staff in small museums. The courses were an initiative of the Museums Assistance Program at WAMuseum in conjunction with the RICH at Curtin. These courses were always fully subscribed, offered at avery modest fee (often paid for by the attendee’s institution) and popular. In contrast to the ECU workshops,these courses provide a broad-brush introduction to the whole field and some participants were thenmotivated to undertake the more rigorous ECU course.7.3 The Research Institute for Cultural Heritage at Curtin UniversityThe establishment of this Institute at Curtin University in 1995 was a bold initiative seen to embrace a wideremit both in teaching and research across disciplines. Few in the sector can doubt that during its lifetime itmade a great contribution to the cultural life of the state and produced graduates with a broad understandingof the cultural sector that had previously not been matched by other institutions or courses. Courses taughtcomprised the Bachelor of Applied Cultural Heritage (a total of 204 students enrolled over the period ofRICH’s existence), Graduate Diploma in Applied Cultural Heritage (202 enrolments), and two strands ofMasters of Applied Cultural Heritage (48), but its worth cannot be measured merely by courses and numbersits students. The RICH brought overdue attention to bear on the way the state’s heritage was undervaluedand what needed to be done. During what in retrospect seems only a brief period, the RICH, particularlyin the person of its Head, Professor David Dolan, made a significant change in the public perception of thevalue of cultural heritage. Indeed it could be argued that in this way RICH played a “training” role for thewider community.However, in the more restricted framework of demonstrated demand for courses, the sheer number ofenrolments at the Institute did not stack up against the more mainstream courses preparing studentsfor careers in teaching, law, engineering and the like. The gradual scaling down of the Institute reflects theP A G E 30
  • permeating influence of economic rationalism on university decision-making in the contemporary world. Ifsuch a wide-ranging initiative in the field with such excellent leadership and capable staff could not maintaineconomic viability, it is highly unlikely that another similar initiative could be successful in the present climate.Stating this most boldly, one can say that the demand was not sufficient to sustain it. However, a lasting legacyis that a Master of Arts can be taken by research and supervised by a member of the former RICH staff who alsobrings heritage studies to bear on other courses such as architecture, planning and landscaping.7.4 Regional training needsIn section 15 some examples of regional training in other states are outlined for comparative considerationwhen addressing regional needs of the collections sector in Western Australia. However, there is a strongtradition of meeting regional training needs in this state. The travelling curator program, first introduced inthe early 1980s with funds from Instant Lottery and administered by the Museums Association (WA) wasa service later taken over by WAM in expanded form. It provided much needed assistance with collectionsmanagement, exhibition and conservation. Over the years the service has operated with varying staff levels,under different names and with changing emphases. This work has been supplemented by training initiativesof professional associations, most significantly MA (WA) through its regional chapters.In 2000, the Victoria Community Museums Pilot Project, a study in the Midwest, based at the GeraldtonBranch of WAM and involving the museums and collections in the Midwest chapter of MAWA, trialledthe delivery of museum skills and advice regionally. A parallel project was also implemented in the Riverinadistrict of New South Wales based on the regional museum in Wagga. These initiatives have been followedmore recently by a well-designed project, CollectionCare, established through the former CollectionsCouncil of Australia and funded by the Myer Foundation, DCA and City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, to servecollections needs in the Eastern Goldfields. A project manager, Elaine Laubuschagne, was employed for atwo year project which has recently been evaluated by Cathleen Day of Heritage Today. 7. It is not possible,nor desirable, in the context of this report to attempt to summarise the outcomes of the project, but aforthcoming report is expected to not only confirm that its six objectives were absolutely achieved, but that,with some adjustments to cater for local circumstances, the model could form the basis of a more generalisedservice for collecting institutions throughout the state. Objectives included strengthening the sustainability ofcollections, providing professional development and support to collection workers, achieving demonstrablepractical outcomes, documenting achievements, and contributing to cultural tourism. An enthusiasticarray of testimonials from participating individuals and organisations is convincing evidence of the benefitsof delivering services in this manner. They relate to raising the profiles of collections, their workers andachievements within participating communities and the sponsoring organisations, developing usefulnetworks within the region and professional contacts beyond it to enable on-going valuing and development.It is obvious that the professional knowledge, personal qualities, enthusiasm and flexibility of the coordinatorwere important factors in the success of the pilot project. In adapting the model for more general applicationit will be essential to take the requirement for these qualities into account when appointing any futurecoordinators.It is not always easy to determine the nature and extent of “need” simply from requests for service or evenfrom survey questionnaires. Although there is today a much greater awareness of what is involved in makingand caring for a collection, its management, interpretation and promotion, this is by no means as universallyunderstood as one might wish. Need is at least partly identified when experienced professionals visit orotherwise become more closely acquainted with less professionally managed collections. Regional advice,provided for example through the pilot programs mentioned here, is a significant means of identifying whatare priority needs and ways of addressing them.7. A comprehensive evaluation report is being compiled for the Department for Culture and the Arts. P A G E 31
  • 08 Issues of social responsibility and ethicsAlthough a strong case can be made for the need for adequate training for the sector, it will remainimportant to keep a watchful eye on future employment prospects in the sector and the sustainability ofcourse offerings. In recent years there has been a growth in paid (and hence career) positions in the sector,positions that have largely been taken up by graduates of RICH or others with suitable academic credentials.Although the ECU museum studies course may have assisted a range of people to secure employment andproved very useful in skilling them for necessary tasks, it was not designed to provide a sufficient basis for amajor career in the sector. What it did do was to considerably assist in skilling workers (often voluntary) tolift the standard of performance of many small museums and their staff. In looking to the future, despite theVET sector being able to provide a nationally recognised qualification for the museum sector, it is doubtfulwhether it can provide participants with more assurance of employment than the ECU course has donebecause of the limited opportunities likely to be available in the foreseeable future. The problem is not somuch that there will be no jobs as that it might be difficult to find one that has a salary attached! There willbe strong competition for positions available, especially from applicants with strong academic qualificationsas well as museum training. This suggests that it should be made clear to all who aspire to work in the sector,just what set of qualifications will probably give them the best opportunity. They should not be encouragedto think that a museum studies course alone will be sufficient. Whatever alternative training may replacethe ECU course, it will be desirable to attract into it participants who can undertake segments that developskills in specific aspects of interest and use to them in (often volunteering) positions. Of those who willenrol to take a full course, few are likely to be volunteers. A flexible arrangement of course delivery allowingenrolment for segments as well as a whole course facilitates access for many volunteers from small museumswho need to develop skills for particular areas of work, and helps to ensure viable class sizes, and hence,financial viability. Although the VET museum training package is a shared one with Library training, paidemployment opportunities are fewer because the institutional frameworks of the two industries are verydifferent. It would seem to be a long time before every community employs paid staff for its local museum asit does for its library.P A G E 32
  • 09 Training needs identified through focus groupsAs outlined in the section on methodology (3 above), an important aspect of the consultative process was tomeet with representatives of a range of segments of the collections sector in order to sample qualitative viewsto supplement the more quantitative feedback from the questionnaire. Prior to each focus group meeting, theconsultant circulated to all participants a list of stimulus issues and questions for consideration, designed todraw out each segment’s particular views as to what training is needed. However each group was encouragedto develop its own agenda and was not restricted to considering the provided issues and questions.Additionally, members of each group were encouraged to think beyond their own group and offer their ideason what training was needed for the sector as a whole.Although not raised in every focus group meeting, a common theme that emerged was that the sector needsto present a unified voice in advocacy for training and other factors affecting it. This was an especially strongrecommendation from the visual arts focus group where there was a view that the professional associationand initiatives taken in training have been somewhat dominated by the needs of the local / historical museumsegment. Another common theme was that opportunities for professional development for people alreadyemployed in the sector were sadly lacking and that this lack of opportunity adversely affects the well-being ofthe industry with potentially severe consequences for the future.Focus Groups9.1 IndigenousConsiderable thought, time and consultation were entered into before this group met. The consultant wantedto ensure that those present would be able to speak with a high degree of credibility on the various issuesregarding Indigenous participation in the sector and on the ways in which Indigenous people are representedin museums and heritage places. Advice was sought from a range of people who attended a preliminarymeeting as to who could speak for this group. The resulting membership of this, and other focus groups,appears as an appendix to the report.Summary of Outcomes• There is a need for basic skilling of Indigenous people to enable collections management. However,it requires a different approach and method of delivery. More important to Indigenous communities is thebuilding of community capacity to manage and preserve culture, both tangible and intangible. Capacitybuilding requires competent and accepted leadership while also involving grass roots participation -participants who will benefit from some practical training but are not likely to be looking for accreditation. Amodel for such delivery is that of the regional hubs.• While the needs of Indigenous stakeholders in the collections sector are similar to those of non-indigenous people, cultural factors, distance, lack of access to assistance and inadequate resources makeit more difficult for Indigenous people to participate in it. Hence there is a need for targeted programs toovercome disadvantage.• Leadership is required to meet the needs expressed in the above points. Leaders require career-pathtraining suited to local situations and appropriate to their own area of interest and specialisation in thesector. There are some models that could be built on such as a mentoring program at the National Galleryand placements arranged by RICH at Curtin University (regrettably no longer available). Although otheragencies such as the Berndt Museum, WA Museum, DCA and AGWA have provided considerable assistance P A G E 33
  • to individual Indigenous people, there is a need for official recognition of what has been undertaken as ameans of advancing careers. One possibility would be the brokering of an arrangement with eastern statesor overseas universities whereby qualifications could be obtained through distance learning supplementedby supervised (mentored) practicum work in the local situation, utilising existing institutional staff andcollections for project or thesis work and earning credits towards a qualification. However, it is not alwaysformal university training that is what is needed for working with indigenous culture. There is a strong need forleaders to be able to work in communities, possibly as travelling curators / liaison / mentoring/ advisory officers.• Development of a proposal articulating the particular need of the Indigenous segment of the sectoralong the lines expressed above could form the basis for securing funding for training Indigenous people as apartnership between government and the private (mining) sector.Although the consultant did not discover how many Indigenous staff currently work in museums in WesternAustralia, the number is obviously small. In total, only 337 Indigenous people work in a cultural organisation. 8.9.2 Focus Group of ConservatorsThis group was brought together through the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material(WA). Non-members were contacted and invited, but all attendees were members.Summary of outcomes• As an organisation concerned with the quality of conservation work carried out on cultural material,the AICCM wishes to ensure that all training in conservation for the sector is carried out by someonerecognised by its members.• Preventative conservation measures should form an important part of training volunteer staff in smallmuseums, but conservation of items in the collection should only be undertaken by suitably qualified people.• Conservators require specialist, lengthy and rigorous professional training. A course providing suchtraining is not likely to be established in Western Australia. As such professional preparation is a substantialinvestment and beyond the reach of many aspiring conservators, mentoring is an effective method of gainingthe appropriate skills. Recognition of the attainment of appropriate skills by the AICCM is a realistic way ofgaining accreditation as a conservator• Presently, the only opportunities for professional development available for practising conservatorsin Western Australia are through self-help initiatives of the local AICCM branch. Such professionaldevelopment opportunities are held in conjunction with regular meetings and tend to be occasions when onemember who has been able to attend a specialist workshop or other professional program overseas or in theeastern states will give a presentation in which he or she passes on some of the valuable experience.• Professional development opportunities would be significantly enhanced if there were access tosome financial resources to cover the costs of organising and promoting them. Costs would include paying avisiting specialist or bringing a specialist conservator to WA for such an event, hire of venue and promotion.• Members of the AICCM have contributed substantially to training in the small museum sector overmany years. Those present at the focus group reported that such contribution was becoming increasinglydifficult because of pressures of work in their institutions.8. Department for Culture and the Arts, western Australia Fact Sheet 2010P A G E 34
  • • At a follow-up meeting with Assoc. Professor Mike McCarthy of the Shipwrecks Museum, he outlinedthe many initiatives the Materials Conservation Department have undertaken to assist in training in thespecialist field of maritime archaeology through offering mentoring placements to emerging professionals inthe field both from in Australia and from a considerable range of other countries. Additionally, the Departmentcontributes to courses at Notre Dame University. The contribution of experienced museum professionalswithin existing courses where the content and skills resonate with collections is a useful and important aspect oftraining for the collections sector, though it lies outside the more structured forms of training.9.3 Focus group of paid curators in small museumsGrowth in number of career positions in small museums has been a significant development in thecollections sector in the last two decades. Although relatively small in number, and not easy to quantify withaccuracy, it points to future training needs. A recent trend has been for local government to take a greaterrole in supporting or maintaining museums. In part this has occurred when museums operated by historicalsocieties, often with a measure of local government support, have become less viable with the ageing anddeclining number of volunteers. An outstanding example of the increasing role of local government in thesector is the City of Wanneroo’s museum housed in an impressive, purpose-built facility of considerablesize and staffed appropriately. Other significant museums operated in similar manner in the metropolitanarea include those at Claremont and Melville, while outside the metropolitan area museums such as thoseat Toodyay, York, Bunbury, Mandurah and Cunderdin are representative of the growing trend to appointeither a part-time curator or to combine (as in the case of Toodyay) positions of curator and heritage officerto make a full-time position.Summary of outcomes• A major concern was the lack of a career path for these officers. While it was recognised that thesmall number of curators makes it difficult for them to establish a strong profile within local governmentstructures, it was seen as somewhat frustrating that achievements made in their museums are not easilyrecognised so as to contribute meaningfully to their career advancement. For example, there is a needfor benchmarks against which achievements could be measured so as to determine their value whenopportunities for applying for other positions arise. This group expressed concern that, unlike theircounterparts in large institutions where there are a range of specialist appointments, they are required tooperate on a very broad front. The knowledge and skills required are quite different from those required forsomeone employed, for example, as a conservator of paintings in a state gallery or a specialist curator in astate museum. Professional workers in small institutions have wide responsibilities and this should not todiminish their professional stature, but rather simply indicate that such positions call for different skills andhence a different form of professional preparation.• The group thought their employers and managers ought to know more of the nature of the sector andthe skills required to work effectively with collections to enhance the cultural life of communities. This lackof understanding does not help in having the sector recognised and hampers the recruitment of appropriatestaff. It impedes new initiatives and works in discriminatory ways so as to devalue their work compared toother officers.• Funding and leave for further professional development were not considered as favourably as forother employees. Museum staff need to be on an equal footing with other employees. However, it wasacknowledged that the situation was exacerbated by the lack of professional development opportunitiesavailable within the state.• There is a need for training workshops for managers who have responsibility for museums but havelimited understanding of them. P A G E 35
  • 9.4 Volunteer focus groupSummary of outcomes• Not only are there many reasons why people volunteer, but also volunteers have correspondinglyvaried perceptions of their need for training, and even what constitutes training.• The group was not large enough to be able to generalise regarding training needs, but it was revealedthat there were different expectations regarding what is needed to become a volunteer and what is needed tobe able to volunteer effectively and to assist in advancing the museum.• Perceptions of volunteering provided interesting insights as case studies, but were a poor basis forgeneralisation. However it was obvious that the social value of regularly working together was a considerableincentive for continuing to volunteer.• Some present saw no value in, or need to attend any form of structured training. These people werecomfortable with their present abilities and the work they are engaged in at the museum, believing that anyassistance with required skills could be provided by the curator or other volunteers.• It was clear that a majority of those present were keen to perform at a competent level in their chosenarea of responsibility. They wanted to learn alongside someone more experienced, preferably on location.• For some, financial assistance would be a necessary pre-condition for attendance at any formal coursefor which a fee was charged.• The majority of those present were not members of Museums Australia, but most belonged to anhistorical society. The museum was seen as something of an extension of the society and another means offurthering their interest in local history• With only anecdotal information from individuals and the variety of responses, it was difficult togeneralise from the feedback of any of the focus groups as they represent a small, and not necessarily typical,sample of any of the particular segments of the collections sector. However, when taken together with themore quantitative data from the questionnaire, they provide testimony of a more qualitative nature fromindividuals. This perhaps applies particularly to the volunteer group with whom the consultant met. Withinthe group, one young member, an immigrant with high academic qualifications in education and history inher home country, was volunteering at a small museum while also undertaking the ECU museum studiescourse. Her aim was to seek employment in the sector and had been advised that her volunteering workwould assist her opportunity for achieving her goal. This appears to be commonly thought to be a pathway toobtaining paid employment.• There was a strong focus on, interest in, and knowledge of, the history of the district, and themuseum work was part of their interest in the local history of the area. Indeed, the distinction between themuseum and the work of the historical society was blurred. This seemed to the consultant to be a significantobservation as many small museums were begun by historical societies and many continue under them.However, as local government becomes more involved in their funding and management, so the close linkbetween the two is eroded. It is important for local museums to remain embedded in the communities whosehistory they reflect. The professionalisation of small museums should not be at the expense of the sense ofP A G E 36
  • identity and ownership that comes from active participation by members of the community. Appointingtrained curators from outside the community and under the authority of local government has to behandled with sensitivity so as not to alienate the museum from the local historical society, erode communityinvolvement and the sense of ownership. This is particularly so if the curator is under the control of a localgovernment official who has little knowledge of, or interest in, the sector.9.5 Visual Arts Focus GroupAs with the Indigenous focus group, considerable time was spent and consultation negotiated to arrive ata representative group able to advise on this important and diverse segment of the collections sector. Twomeetings were held and each revealed strong interest in and views of training needs. Despite the initialsearch for a rounded representation of visual arts workers with collections interest and experience, therewas a somewhat limited representation, especially from the AGWA and the universities (the latter, withthe exception of ECU). To attempt to overcome the lack of comprehensive representation, the consultantconducted a number of follow-up one to one consultations and the summary below includes additionalresulting views.Summary of outcomes• There was a commonly held view that the interests and needs of the visual arts segment have not beenas well provided for within the sector as the “museum” segment and that this has been reflected in trainingopportunities available to the visual arts segment. “Museum” in this context was seen to be the many smalllocal or history museums, the state museum and those operated by local government.• Although there was generally a good spirit towards Museums Australia at both state and nationallevels, amalgamation of the former Museums Association of Australia with the former Art MuseumsAssociation of Australia had resulted in a degree of dominance by the former.• A further preoccupation was with the current challenges facing the visual arts sector in the currenteconomic climate. A number of significant private galleries have closed or are to close in the near futureand the opportunity for artists to exhibit their work is becoming restricted. The development of artists’professional life is dependent on exposure and recognition so that an active and supportive network ofgalleries that fosters artists is in fact an important means of what might be seen as highly training by thissector though it lies outside the more traditional understanding of the concept.• Courses such as the ECU museum studies and the Library and Museum training package do not caterwell for the particular needs of this segment. For example, instruction on documenting collections, assessingsignificance, the recording of provenance, storage and preventative conservation are well suited to historicalcollections but are not always a good fit with the visual arts sector.• There is a need for enhanced provision for academic course work and research for people in thissector who wish to deepen their knowledge and gain additional qualifications.• Major visual arts museums do not value highly formal training programs in museum studies. Moreimportant are strong relevant academic qualifications combined with evidence of creativity.• In spite of the previous point, a strong need was expressed for practical professional developmenttraining for people in administrative and management roles. This is particularly needed in management,marketing, time-management and public relations. P A G E 37
  • • Programs in the past for trainees at AGWA were an excellent pathway for developing emerging visualarts professionals.• Programs such as artist in residence, sponsored by the DCA, are a valuable means of developingexpertise in this segment.• Needs in the visual arts sector call for a rather different way of thinking about training. Equallyimportant as formal courses are opportunities for supporting the development of artists. Programsconducted by Artsource exemplify this.• Major galleries need sophisticated and state of the art means of working with collections, especiallyin areas such as installing exhibitions. It is doubtful whether formal training courses to deliver this at a highlevel can be sustainable in WA. Most needed are people who have had past experience working alongsidemore experienced practitioners to acquire appropriate skills.9.6 Focus group of staff at the Western Australian MuseumSummary of outcomes• Those present expressed a strong need for further professional training/education to enhance theirprofessional skills.• Present responsibilities and the shortage of funds make professional development for specificpurposes difficult both at institutional and personal levels.• Conference attendance, where occasionally made possible, with add-on visits to other museumsand consultation with colleagues, is at present the most accessible form of professional development, but isinsufficient, especially with the need for state of the art thinking and practice with the imminent developmentof the new state museum expected to employ the best of current museum practice. The tyranny of distancemakes it especially difficult for WA Museum staff to gain professional development.• In common with a need expressed in other focus groups they saw a need for a pool of money to be setaside for professional development to be accessed on a competitive basis to assist in overcoming this need.• The relevance of gaining higher degrees in museum/heritage studies or in work-related disciplineswas also discussed. Those present expressed the view that they would not have the time to be able toundertake an advanced course of study while employed as they are presently. Any further education wouldneed to be directly related to their needs in performing in their present positions.• The group also addressed the wider issue of training for the sector as a whole. This was a usefuldiscussion as all present have made considerable contributions to training over many years. They lamentedthe closure of the ECU course as they saw it as providing a useful vehicle for meeting needs of the smallmuseum community in an accessible and flexible format and one that had proved itself over many years.Further, it had attracted participation from a wider clientele – graduates who wished to know more aboutthe practical side of museum work, teachers, librarians and members of the community who simply wantedto undertake individual weekend modules of the course. More recently, the provision for academic credithad brought an additional stream. Together, these participants had brought class sizes to what one mayhave thought to be a significant size. A further strength seen by this group was the credibility of presenters– all respected professionals in their respective areas- and their ability to contribute in the weekend formatP A G E 38
  • and their willingness to do so at a very modest cost. The course had attracted presenters who made theircontribution largely for the development of the museum sector rather than for any financial gain. Thosepresent expressed the view that their continued contribution to other training courses would be contingenton being able to present in a similar manner as they had done in the past.• When asked to consider the issue of accreditation those present acknowledged that there are an increasingnumber of people seeking employment in the sector and that potential employers will look for appropriatequalifications in prospective staff. However they believed that the majority of participants in the ECU course hadnot been concerned that it did not lead to a nationally recognised qualification. They thought that recognitionwithin the museum community was important and expressed the view that Museums Australia, as the peakprofessional body, should look to the possibility of recognising courses to accredit professionals.• Those present had reservations as to whether the VET training package offered at diploma level couldprovide a satisfactory substitute for the ECU course despite its obvious advantage providing a nationallyrecognised qualification. Many of the optional modules available in the ECU course would not be availablein the VET course unless new units were written for them. These included all the specialist conservationunits. There was concern that the demands of competency-based assessment might deter potentialparticipants both as students and presenters. They also thought that the VET qualification alone would notequip participants for a career in the sector. The ECU course had never been promoted as a pre-career one,but it was thought that the training package may be promoted as such. P A G E 39
  • 10 Training questionnaire SURVEYAn electronic questionnaire was circulated widely to interested parties in the sector. It was devised by theconsultant with input from the staff of MA(WA), circulated to members of the reference group, discussed atits subsequent meeting, endorsed and recommended for widespread circulation. Assistance in structuringthe questions was given by Paul Muenchow and Julie Zappa, who also facilitated its formatting and electronicdistribution through CIT. The questionnaire was sent to all MA(WA) members, members of the RoyalWestern Australian Historical Society and affiliated societies, clients of the WAM Development Service, theWestern Australian Local Government Authority’s list of curators, heritage officers and others with specialresponsibility for collections, and clients of Future Now. A total of 230 responses were received.The questionnaire attempted to separate the needs of volunteer staff from paid members on the assumptionthat there were likely to express different needs. Although this proved useful, the later parts of thequestionnaire were addressed to both volunteers and paid staff and so could not be analysed to distinguishbetween the responses from each group.The consultant had not been aware that this would not be possible, and it to some extent hampers analysis offuture needs. Nevertheless the survey provides perhaps the most comprehensive data of training needs of thesector to have been carried out in WA and, when interpreted along with the information gathered throughfocus groups, provides a reliable base from which to draw conclusions.The questionnaire appears as an appendix and the full print-out of results can be madeavailable from MA(WA).What follows is a summary of results from the questionnaire.10.1 Volunteer responsesThere were 68 respondents, representing 27.8% of all respondentsHours of volunteering: Total respondents 64<4 hours = 26.6%; 4-8 =32.8%; 9-19=29.7%; 20-38=9.4%; > 38=1.6%Participation in some training n=63. 71% have; 29% have not.Training completed: ECU Cert=25%; Partial ECU =50% Grad Cert=2.5%;WA Museum Short course 5%; Four Day Course (WAM & Curtin =2.5%,National Library Archive Course = 2.5%;Internship = 2.5 %;)Oral history= 5%;MOSAIC training = 2.5%Most valuable training:Emphasis on practical training; some commenting on the blend of theory and practice where demonstrationof theoretical concepts was valued.P A G E 40
  • Appreciation of professional presentersIndustry knowledge and overviewHands-on trainingCourse notesJames Cook M.Litt. course (one respondent)Being in museums and professionally equipped spaces (e.g. WAM storage) to see how it is doneCollections managementCorrect storage and documentation methodsDesire for more trainingN=54 of whom 85% were interested in more training.Most popular were 1-2 day workshops (37%), while 22% preferred short 2-3 hour workshops.30% expressed interest in working towards a nationally accredited qualification.Only 13% were interested in a series of seminars.65% preferred face to face presentation (lectures / workshops.27% favoured a blend of on-line and face to face, but only 9% wanted on-line only.10.2 Responses from Paid Staff207 respondents, not all of whom answered every question.Of paid employees, 21% were reported to be part time workers. However, this question could not be analysedaccurately as some categories of employment were ticked more than once, so the percentage of part timeemployees is probably greater. Comments from participants also indicated that some were on contract and atleast one was not employed in a museum.Of 41 part time employees who indicated the fractional time they are employed, 10% were employed for 0.2FTE equivalent, 12% for 0.4, 33% for 0.5, 12% for 0.6, 12% for 0.8, 9% for 0.9 or more, and 2% were employedfor various percentages of FTEParticipation in training in the museum sector71% of respondent indicated they had participated in some form of museum specific training, while 29%indicated they had not. However this question was only answered by 41 of the 207 paid workers whoresponded. Of these 62% had participated in some form of museum studies courses at certificate level orabove. 14% indicated their training ad been in conservation studies, 14% in collection management, while11% had participated in what they described as workshops. In response to what they had found most useful,25% indicated museum studies, 20% nominated practical work, 16% the experience they had gained, and12% nominated working with and learning from professionals.Comment: These categories are not mutually exclusive and have been created from the descriptions oftraining by respondents.Participants were asked what training they had found most useful, to which 24 wrote a written response.While some rather vague responses ranged from “everything” to “very little”, the following ingredients werecommonly praised: practical training including “hands on” experiences, learning in museum environments,working alongside or being presented to by recognised experts in their fields, having networkingopportunities with fellow participants and presenters who displayed enthusiasm for their work. P A G E 41
  • Highest level of qualifications of paid staff (155 responses):Certificate: 10%,Graduate Diploma: 28%,Degree: 57%,No formal qualification: 5%.Interest in further training / professional development (172 responses):Yes: 86%,No: 14%Preferred mode of delivery (150 responses):Face to face: 55%,Online only: 9%,Mix of online and face to face: 36%.Desire for receiving nationally recognised qualification from training undertaken (167 responses):Yes, 73%,No 26%Desire to undertake postgraduate work (Grad. Dip., Masters or PhD) study to enhance qualificationsin the collections sector (163 responses)Yes: 50%,No: 50%.The most popular areas for such studies were either described as museum studies (including specificationof central areas of collection management), and management. Interestingly, marketing scored lowest inrating and this possibly reflects the way in which the questionnaire, in reaching current employees, didnot reach those most interested in this aspect of a museum’s work. Many of the responses reflected theneed for specialised needs obviously related to particular needs of individuals. There was a clear indicationthat management and leadership training is needed. A follow-up question asking how respondents wouldprefer to study for these qualifications revealed that online was the most popular mode (31%), thoughother responses (face to face with 27%, workshops with 16% and lectures with 10% when combined castsome doubt on the claim for online popularity. The fact that 108 respondents troubled to write – often atconsiderable length – on their preferred mode of study indicates that there is considerable scope for studentenrolments in academic courses. An associated question asking why respondents would like to study forfurther qualifications revealed that acquiring skills (16%), acquiring knowledge (15%) and interest(14%) weremore important than career advancement (9%), obtaining the qualification(7%) and job security (6%).What training is of most needed for people in employment? (151 responses)Management: 21%,collections management skills 27%,conservation 16%.Only 4% mentioned special training needs for the visual arts, and 3% for working with new technologies.P A G E 42
  • 10.3 Training priorities for the sector as perceived by respondentsQuestion 24, answered by both volunteers and paid staff, sought to identify content areas most neededin training for the collections sector. Respondents were asked to attempt to consider these needs fromthe perspective of the whole sector rather than simply their own needs. The responses are recorded infull here because they go to the heart of attempting to gauge what a wide cross section of those workingin the collections sector see as priorities. The first table surveys content commonly addressed in museumstudies courses. The second (Question 25) looks at the areas of conservation of most interest to potentialparticipants. This has been presented separately largely because at present the VET training package doesnot address conservation beyond principles of preventative conservation. The ECU course has mounted arange of conservation modules which, if tuition is to continue in any of the specialised materials, will eitherrequire new units to be developed, or may be offered as stand-alone workshops that could be conducted byan institution separate from that delivering the training package. The full print out of the survey results alsoincludes other suggestions that may be of further interest to future planners of courses.Question 24. Please rate the following content areas as priorities for meeting the training needs of thecollections sector in Western Australia. Note that although your own training needs will influence yourpriorities, you should try to assess what you think are the training needs of the sector as a whole.Essential Very important Important Useful Should not be included Response CountThe roles and purposes of museums in the world today38.3% (67) 30.3% (53) 20.0% (35) 10.9% (19) 0.6% (1) 175Basic elements of collections management57.7% (101) 25.1% (44) 14.9% (26) 1.7% (3) 0.6% (1) 175Cataloging49.1% (85) 28.3% (49) 15.0% (26) 7.5% (13) 0.0% (0) 173Storage of collections59.4% (104) 25.1% (44) 12.0% (21) 3.4% (6) 0.0% (0) 175Preventative conservation55.2% (96) 25.9% (45) 14.9% (26) 4.0% (7) 0.0% (0) 174Advanced collections management23.4% (40) 36.8% (63) 26.3% (45) 12.9% (22) 0.6% (1) 171Developing good communication skills and customer service34.5% (60) 33.9% (59) 21.3% (37) 9.8% (17) 0.6% (1) 174Basic IT skills29.1% (51) 29.7% (52) 30.3% (53) 8.0% (14) 2.9% (5) 175Developing and managing public programs30.3% (53) 37.7% (66) 23.4% (41) 8.6% (15) 0.0% (0) 175Exhibition development37.9% (66) 42.5% (74) 16.1% (28) 3.4% (6) 0.0% (0) 174 P A G E 43
  • Interpretation- the making of meaning in a museum46.2% (80) 30.6% (53) 16.2% (28) 6.9% (12) 0.0% (0) 173Museums and new technologies33.1% (57) 37.8% (65) 23.3% (40) 5.8% (10) 0.0% (0) 172Museums and the wider field of cultural heritage22.7% (39) 41.9% (72) 24.4% (42) 11.0% (19) 0.0% (0) 172Policy development21.3% (37) 30.5% (53) 31.6% (55) 14.9% (26) 1.7% (3) 174Significance assessment35.3% (61) 29.5% (51) 27.2% (47) 6.9% (12) 1.2% (2) 173Disaster preparedness and management34.5% (60) 33.3% (58) 22.4% (39) 8.6% (15) 1.1% (2) 1742012 Museum Industry Training Needs SurveyResearch and analyis | central institute of technology 56 of 74 may 2012Museum management, promotion and finance26.2% (45) 40.1% (69) 20.9% (36) 12.2% (21) 0.6% (1) 172Seeking grants and sponsorship for your museum37.1% (65) 36.6% (64) 17.7% (31) 8.0% (14) 0.6% (1) 175Sustaining and managing a viable staff of volunteers42.0% (73) 31.0% (54) 19.5% (34) 6.3% (11) 1.1% (2) 174Conservation of particular materials (e.g. textiles, paper, artworks etc)36.6% (64) 34.9% (61) 18.9% (33) 9.1% (16) 0.6% (1) 175Answered question 176, skipped question 72P A G E 44
  • 2012 Museum Industry Training Needs SurveyResearch and analyis | central institute of technology 57 of 74 may 2012Question 25. In relation to the conservation of particular materials, please rate each material listed below.Recognise that such training related to conservation can be only introductory and concentrate more onrecognising what needs to be done and where specialist help can be found.Essential Very important Important Useful Should not be included Response CountTextiles33.7% (57) 39.1% (66) 19.5% (33) 7.7% (13) 0.0% (0) 169Paper47.1% (80) 33.5% (57) 14.7% (25) 4.7% (8) 0.0% (0) 170Artworks31.1% (52) 37.1% (62) 21.6% (36) 10.2% (17) 0.0% (0) 167Archival framing15.6% (26) 33.5% (56) 32.9% (55) 16.2% (27) 1.8% (3) 167Metals30.2% (51) 37.9% (64) 23.1% (39) 8.9% (15) 0.0% (0) 169Wood31.4% (53) 37.3% (63) 24.9% (42) 6.5% (11) 0.0% (0) 169Leather26.6% (45) 34.3% (58) 27.8% (47) 11.2% (19) 0.0% (0) 169Photographs58.9% (99) 27.4% (46) 10.7% (18) 3.0% (5) 0.0% (0) 168Other (please specify) 38answered question 170, skipped question 78, B70% P A G E 45
  • 11 Mapping the VET training package at diploma level against the ECU Course: possibilities and alternativesWith funding assistance from WAM and through the initiative of Clare-Frances Craig of its DevelopmentServices unit, funds were made available to employ an experienced consultant, Lourdes McCleary, to map theECU Course against the Vocational Education and Training nationally recognised qualification CUL50111Diploma of Library and Information Service from CUL11 Library, Information and Cultural ServicesTraining Package.Presenters in the ECU Course were asked to make course outlines, module timetables, supporting teachingnotes and handouts available to the consultant. In order to keep the project within time and financialconstraints, the mapping was mainly confined to the five compulsory modules of the ECU Course:Museums, Heritage, Culture and Society, Preventative Conservation, Elements of Display, Collecting andDocumentation, and Public Programs. So as to ensure correlation with the content areas of the VET package,the ECU module Interpretation was also included for consideration in conjunction with Elements of Display,and the ECU presentation on disaster planning (included in the module Collecting and Documentation 11 )was also mapped.The consultant’s task was not made easier by the somewhat poor response to the request for course materialsfrom some of the presenters. Brian Shepherd was able to retrieve all module timetables and some courseoutlines which he forwarded to the consultant, and several presenters supplied comprehensive materials.The resulting mapping has to be considered as a broad-brush exercise as it relied to a considerable extent onmatching content and themes across the two courses without, in most areas mapped, considering them indepth.Given these limiting factors, the exercise was nevertheless useful in establishing that there is a closecorrelation between the two courses with regard to content areas thus providing a foundation for possiblefuture translation of the ECU course into the VET framework, with the exception of the ECU electiveunits which form no part of the VET course. Perhaps in future these units could be offered as stand-aloneworkshops, possibly as part of professional development opportunities co-ordinated by MAWA.The consultant’s conclusion reads as follows: “At the completion of this mapping project I am satisfied thatthe ECU Museum Studies Course aligns with the Australian Qualifications Framework specifications fora diploma level VET course and that the CUL50111 Diploma of Library and Information Services closelyparallels the modules in the ECU Museum Studies Course.Some concern was expressed that the Training Package qualification may lack the theoretical base which theECU Museum Studies Course provides for the Interpretation module in particular. In-depth reading of aunit of competency would show that each unit has a required knowledge component and the range statementfor each unit provides opportunities to add to the knowledge and skills deemed necessary to demonstratecompetence. It may also be possible to develop non-accredited theory modules as part of the TrainingPackage qualification. However, it must be remembered that the VET Diploma has a vocational rather thanan academic outcome.”The report recommends that WAM work in a partnership with a registered training organisation to pilot thedelivery of CUL50 Diploma of Library and Information Services in 2013.P A G E 46
  • Assessment required by the training package guarantees a greater range of proven competencies fromparticipants than was possible in the ECU course, but meeting requirements presents some challenges.Presently, it would be difficult for any training organisation in WA to staff the museum training packagewithin its institution. The most practical way for an institution to take it on would be to employ at least someof the former ECU presenters and to provide adequate training for them to ensure that they could meet thepresentation and assessment requirements of the package. The mapping exercise has made it clear that thereis a good fit with most required areas of the core units of the ECU Course. However, some of the existingpresenters have no teaching qualifications and none has current status as a trained assessor in the VET sector.It is extremely unlikely that these presenters will be willing, or have the time, to become so qualified unlessthis is made attractive for them. To lose their contribution would take away a major source of attractingparticipants. Should either the CIT or WAM in conjunction with an RTO, embark on delivering VETtraining, it would be desirable for each presenter to do a brief course with that institution to enable themto meet the requirements of teaching in that sector. CIT is well experienced in such training and has madeit clear that it would be prepared to conduct such a course for former ECU presenters. An alternative wayaround this problem could be for a trained assessor to be present at classes and carry out the assessment inconjunction with the presenter. However, this would require more staff resources.The assessment requirements in the ECU course have certainly been more flexible and less onerous, andcould possibly have contributed to its popularity. It could not guarantee competency across the broadrange of skills. However, the credibility of the presenters and the fact that the majority of participants wereenrolling out of interest rather than seeking a career qualification suggests that a more rigorous competencyassessment regime, unless handled with sensitivity, could dissuade some potential participants.As has been alluded to when reporting on the focus group, it is desirable to make better provision for thevisual arts segment of the sector in whatever form the major course of museum studies emerges. While thereshould be nothing that might be seen to colonise services made by other agencies, it will assist the sector tobe more unified if a general course is inclusive of content addressing the needs of all segments of the sector.Perhaps some of the training delivered presently by Art on the Move could be integrated into a new format ofdelivery of a comprehensive course, or provision be made in it for part or optional units to be taken throughthat agency. In this context it is worth noting that there are units of study currently offered as part of othertraining packages that could be taken or adapted to form part of the museum training package. This appliesparticularly to art and graphic design units concerned with topics such as exhibition design and installation.One observation made during a consultation with several of the ECU presenters was that it may be possibleto mount privately, a course similar to that offered by ECU, with some minor adjustment to content sothat modules more nearly matched those in the training package. This was seen as a means of continuing avaluable course that might otherwise disappear. It was envisaged that it could continue in a format much asit has been in the past. Those who would undertake the whole course were thought to be able to subsequentlyapply to the VET sector to have their competency tested and recognised by a trained assessor if they soughtaccreditation. This seemed to the consultant to be a practical suggestion only in the absence of an alternativebeing found. A sound business plan would be needed and the proposed path to accreditation for participantswould need to be established.The consultant has been encouraged to consider the possibility of MAWA conducting the course inthe manner suggested above. This is a somewhat ambitious suggestion and would require not only thenegotiation of the terms of reference for the support the Association receives from the Department of Culture P A G E 47
  • and the Arts, but also a realistic assessment of the financial basis on which such a course could be conducted.An added complication would be the need for a venue for delivery. The proposal is of interest in view ofsuggestions made elsewhere that Museums Australia should look to play a greater role in the recognition ofprofessional competence in its membership structure. It is also an attractive suggestion in that it gives theprofession itself a measure of control over what it regards as suitable training. Financial viability would be ofprime importance. Presenters have to date been paid very modestly for their contribution and have becomeinvolved mainly out of a sense of public contribution to fostering the state’s museum culture. Administrationcan become an onerous, time-consuming and expensive aspect of offering such a course. However, pastexperience, when the course was managed as part of the work of the former Museum of Childhood, suggeststhat administration could be handled economically. These, and other possibilities, are suitable matters forconsideration by a CSTC as proposed in the recommendations.P A G E 48
  • 12 The role of the Western Australian MuseumAs the largest, best resourced and most professionally staffed museum in the state, WAM has playeda leadership role in training for many years. Particularly significant have been its early “RecognitionProgram” which lent support to those museums seen to be at the forefront of developing into professionalorganisations, and the Local Museums Program (a forerunner of the Museums Assistance Program and nowDevelopment Service) that continued this assistance to a widening clientele, often by site visits and trainingcourses. Additionally, the ECU museum studies course was a twenty-year partnership between ECU andthe WAM, its success largely due to the latter’s staff contribution. The present Executive Director supportstraining by the state museum as part of its mission to serve communities throughout the state by takingregional initiatives not only through its branches, but also in the more remote areas such as the Kimberleywhere there is currently little regional support for community museums and keeping places. It is doubtfulwhether any existing organisation brings to training issues the knowledge of the museum sector in WesternAustralia at either institutional or individual level that resides in the staff of WAM. What strides have beenmade to foster a museum culture through the state through past courses, have drawn on and benefited fromthe expertise of its committed expert staff. In recent years much of this expertise has been made availabledespite pressures on staff and the lack of formal recognition or financial return to WAM.Presently, it is important to consider whether a framework could be established whereby the WAM couldcontinue and build on its tradition of training. It would be timely in present circumstances of decliningtraining provision and with an Executive Director experienced in providing similar training, through themuseum of which he was previously chief executive officer, which met the requirements of the MuseumsAssociation’s Diploma, to consider whether a suitably resourced unit within WAM might be an effectivemeans of providing training. This could be delivered, in part, through the regional branches and possiblyin conjunction with the regional chapters of MAWA. Training delivered through WAM would have a highdegree of credibility in the eyes of the museum community, though it may not result in recognised formalaccreditation. However, already some training modules offered through WAM’s Development Servicesunit have been mapped against the competency package at Certificate Three level and could be deliveredfor accreditation in conjunction with an RTO such as CANWA. The experience of other states indicatesthat specific training delivered where it is most needed to enhance the operation of museums is the mosteffective way of raising standards and developing a sustainable museum service throughout the state. Thoseparticipating in such training certainly acquire skills, but the training prioritises the need of the museumabove the individual. Individuals seeking accreditation would be well advised to take a VET diploma ora university course. It appears unlikely that the majority of voluntary staff will wish to do this, especiallyconsidering the cost. Certainly there are some of the younger volunteers who are seeking to make a careerin the sector and who will need an accredited qualification, but for this small group, volunteering is anadditional way of preparing themselves and it cannot take the place of a major qualification.The British experience of the professional association accrediting training appears to have been a good onein securing the confidence of the industry. In the 1990s, an alternative scheme of providing training andprofessional development through the Museum Training Institute met with some resistance from tertiaryproviders and some within the profession. With this in mind, it is worth pondering whether delivery oftraining services as suggested above might serve the interests of the museum community rather than lookingto training using the VET package delivered through an institute of technology or other registered trainingorganisation as the major way of developing the state’s museum culture. Certainly the VET training package,especially at diploma level, should be embraced, but not as the major vehicle for training volunteers. It isinteresting to note that despite a VET training package being available for more than a decade, its take-upthroughout Australia has to date been limited. P A G E 49
  • The accreditation of Individuals remains a vexed matter for potential courses in WA that lie outside the VETor university sectors. Unlike the British Museums Association, Museums Australia is not, as yet, recognisedas an accrediting body. However, feedback from the questionnaire and the testimony of people who haveworked in museum training over the last two decades testify to the limited number of participants who areseeking accreditation. Furthermore, because the profession has been so involved in the delivery of training,there is a common local understanding of their value and their worth as a pre-service qualification. A severeweakness, however, is the lack of portability of such training as it will not be easily recognised elsewhere.The contribution of staff of the WAM has always been crucial to the success of the ECU course and it wouldbe desirable from the participants’ perspective for this to continue. In its early incarnation the ECU coursewas conceived as a joint initiative of the Museum of Childhood and staff of the WAM and the modest profitthat resulted from its conduct was shared between the University and the WAM. In more recent years thecontribution of WAM staff has remained strong but no funds were returned to the WAM. Not surprisingly,although the Executive Director of the WAM is keen for the institution to contribute to training, he is so onlyon the basis that there is full recognition of this and that it becomes part of the rationale for the work of theMuseum.P A G E 50
  • 13 Consultation with the Vocational Education and Training sectorThroughout the review process there has been on-going consideration of the possibility of the newly revisedVET training package CUL11 filling, or largely filling, the training gap created by the termination of the ECUmuseum studies course. Paul Muenchow of Future Now and Julie Zappa, Head of Creative Industries atthe WA Central Institute of Technology (CIT) have been valued members of the reference group and beenavailable for discussion throughout the process. The training review conducted by Ian McShane in 2001recommended that serious consideration be given to implementing the then training package, but it is onlyduring this consultancy that the mapping exercise determining whether the former ECU course meets mostrequirements of the training package has been carried out.Within the local industry the enthusiastic support that has been given to the ECU course, combinedwith limited knowledge of the VET sector by museum professionals who have contributed to the ECUcourse has created some reluctance to embrace this training package. Perceived problems include the waycompetency assessment requirements are built into each unit, the mode of delivery (weekend workshopmode has facilitated participation), fears of greater time commitment and the possible need for more coursedocumentation and administrative reporting.At CIT there are presently no members of staff available for delivering the museum specific aspects of thetraining package. However, as the CUL11 package is for both libraries and museums and contains commoncore units, there is already the capacity to deliver some of these and there is a further possibility of being ableto adapt aspects of some library units to accommodate the requirements of museum training. Additionally, itmight be possible to adapt some units from other packages already being offered, to make them suitable fordelivery in the CUL11 package – existing units in exhibition development and design are examples of this.Consultation has revealed not only interest from CIT in the possibility of introducing the diploma levelcourse, but a willingness to consider flexible delivery including some weekend workshops. As alreadymentioned, the weekend format has proved popular in the past with both presenters and participants.It has enabled regional participants to receive intensive training centrally thus overcoming some of thedisadvantages of distance. It has also made the course practical for participants who work during theweek. Presenters have been able to make their contributions at minimal disruption to their weekday workobligations, though it is acknowledged that there has always been significant additional time spent inpreparation and assessment. P A G E 51
  • 14 Modes of training deliveryAlthough a cliché, it is nevertheless as important as it is true that ever-increasing access to new technologiesis transforming opportunities for training as in other museum services.It is clear from the survey results that face to face delivery is the preferred mode of undertaking training,though a combination of face to face and online delivery is equally acceptable. Delivering museum trainingonly online is clearly not desired by most potential participants. However, for people already working in theindustry and wishing to upgrade qualifications at a tertiary level, online is a popular mode.There are logistical matters that must also be taken into account as well as the sheer popularity of modes ofdelivery. On the one hand, the sheer size of the state and the sparse population in many parts might suggestthat distance or online delivery would be even more suitable in WA than in the smaller and more denselypopulated states. However, given the cost of developing online modules and the preference and obviousbenefits of face to face tuition in this industry, the matter is not clear-cut. Experience, notably in Queensland,where significant training is delivered through a system of Regional Development Officers, provides a modelworth considering for adoption or modification. The geographic spread of Queensland’s population overlong distances with sizeable nodal towns lends itself to a system of regional advisors working in conjunctionwith regional museums. Here in WA, the CollectionsCare Goldfields collections project, an initiative of theformer Collections Council of Australia, has produced a comprehensive report demonstrating the rangeof institutions it was able to involve and the benefits of networking as well as training, and may be a usefulmodel for wider adaptation. This trial in fact came in the wake of a local initiative trialled in the Midwestusing Geraldton as the centre and another based at Wagga in New South Wales, both commencing in 2000.Few could doubt that there are real benefits to regional museum communities in having a structure andaccess to people with expertise available locally. However, these regional “hubs” must be assessed financiallyand examined comparatively against services delivered in other modes. Given the small size of the present and future museum industry, it is hard to envisage that more than onecomprehensive museum studies basic course is needed in the state. However, in the regions there is a needto ensure that museums are working at or progressing towards acceptable national standards. This might befacilitated by building into the duty statements of a range of employed staff in regional museums, a fractionaltime role for assisting small museums, mainly by responding to needs on request. This approach has thedual benefit of developing both the museums and those working in them. Although of itself such training isnon-accredited, it could lay a firm foundation for an institutional accreditation program. For individuals inthe regions who wish to undertake comprehensive museum training, resources might best be spent making itpossible for them to be able to travel to Perth for at least part of a course, with the remainder taken on-line.P A G E 52
  • 15 Some observations on training offered elsewhereRather than providing a comprehensive list of institutions and courses available for the sector, the relevantexperience of some aspects of training delivered elsewhere is reported here it has relevance to the issues andchallenges facing training for the sector in Western Australia. A (not entirely up to date) list of courses can beobtained from Museums Australia’s national office.15.1 VET deliveryCanberra Institute of Technology has had approximately ten years’ experience of delivering the trainingpackage to diploma level. In addition to on campus delivery, a small number of units in the training packagehave been offered online. These are attractively designed, easily navigated and thorough, with built-incompetency self-tests meeting all requirements of each unit. While there is a willingness to share these withother institutions, there are some institutional obstacles over intellectual property and copyright matters.Co-ordinator Deborah Bowman is strongly of the opinion that the recent combining of library and museumpackages has been a retrograde move, believing that it has been brought about partly because of the smallnumber of enrolments for museum studies compared with those for library work. She asserts that whereasin the past core units (such as a unit on occupational health and safety) could be designed and taught usingmuseum-specific content and case studies, students will now need to take units that are more generic andhave limited value for museum studies students. At the Central Coast Institute of Technology (Coffs Harbour, NSW) the package has, for five years, beendelivered to Certificate 4 level in distance learning mode, but is not online. The co-ordinator, RobertSmallwood, has approximately 80 participants currently undertaking the course, of which approximately25 are presently employed in museums while the rest are interested in learning basic skills, possibly with aview to a career in the sector. Enrolments come from all states. Assessment of competency is mostly throughworkbooks designed for each unit of study which are returned when the student has completed each unit.A feature of the program is that participants must volunteer in a museum one day a week throughout thecourse. Placements are established in consultation with the museums and are supervised by a staff member ofthe Institute. While the Institute would be happy to share package materials they have developed with othertraining institutions, there would need to be a cost to compensate for the staff time and expertise that hasgone into their development.The Riverina Institute of Technology also offers the VET training package - at Certificate 2 and 4 levels.Although a pioneer in using the training package, it now offers it only in distance learning mode. Presently,the consultant believes these to be the only three institutions currently delivering the training package. InQueensland, Anne Baille, at Museums and Galleries Queensland (MAGQ), has long been at the forefrontof addressing museum training needs in that state and became intimately acquainted with the formalcompetency assessment requirements of VET training. MAGQ now offers only non-accredited trainingbelieving that practical workshops addressing perceived needs of client museums are a more effective use oftheir resources. However, the bulk of training delivered to people working in small museums is carried outby six Regional Development Officers employed by the Queensland Museum. Although these officers have asalary, major projects, which are sometimes carried out collaboratively, need to be funded through grants. Itis likely that the Queensland CIT will soon introduce the VET training package.Deciding whether to introduce the VET training package in Western Australia is a matter for CIT, orpossibly another provider such as the Community Arts Network of Western Australia (CANWA), ratherthan for this review. However, consultation during the review with CIT and Future Now staff has beenmutually beneficial as all involved have become better acquainted with the issues that need to be addressed P A G E 53
  • if the former ECU course is to be largely replaced by the training package. Issues include not only the “fit”of former course offerings against the content of the training package, but also those of funding, staffing,marketing and modes of delivery (whether weekend workshops can continue to be possible, online ordistance mode, and the possibility of adapting library units or those from other training packages), all ofwhich have implications for long term sustainability.The financial viability of the VET package will be a crucial factor determining its sustainability. Although ingeneral VET courses are more affordable than university fees and the present national government is movingtowards Hecs-style loans for VET students, it appears that VET diploma courses will not attract subsidy in thenear future, which means that the training package, if introduced at that level, will be a full fee-paying course.It is difficult to assess future viability, even in the light of the consultation that has been carried out. What iscertain is that there will be a real need for training that can fill the gap left by the ending of the ECU course.As alluded to earlier, the consultant has been encouraged by enthusiastic supporters of training to consideralternative arrangements such as the possibility of MAWA taking over the administration of the existingcourse with some modifications, or setting up a committee to deliver a series of workshops operating in aprivate capacity using the format that has proved popular and sustainable in the past, or that WAM couldconduct a similar course. None of these alternatives appears to offer the structural support, experienceand established reputation in training enjoyed by the Central Institute of Technology unless conducted incollaboration with a registered training organisation.Should the Perth CIT decide to introduce the training package, close consideration will need to be givenboth to how it will be staffed and marketed so as to attract participants in at least the numbers as the ECUcourse has done. If existing presenters are to be attracted into the new format, or replaced by other museumprofessionals, suitable introductory training will be necessary. The consultant understands this couldbe provided by the Institute, but participation would require some time release from their other duties.However, the extent to which staff from other institutions, most particularly from the WAM, could be madeavailable to contribute to the course remains a matter to be determined. Presently, such staff lecture in theirown time, but preparation, and any time off in lieu, is a cost to WAM, and one that receives little formalrecognition. It would appear that any future contribution from the WA Museum will need to be properlyrecognised and remunerated.One important advantage the VET delivery would enjoy is that it results in a nationally recognised qualification.While it could be possible for the alternative bodies potentially involved in this training provision to becomeregistered training organisations, it seems unlikely that they would do so. However, in the light of the evidenceto hand, accreditation has not been a significant factor with most participants in the ECU course, and career-seekers need other qualifications more than they do an accredited museum studies course.Implications for Western Australia• The closure of the ECU course makes it timely to consider whether the VET package could largely replace it.• There appears to be a reasonably good “fit” between the core modules of the ECU course and the VET diploma training package.• Depending on what strategies are adopted for providing other forms of training for the museum community around the state, potential numbers enrolling in a VET course will vary. It cannot be assumed that numbers previously enrolling in the ECU course will give an indication of VET enrolments at diploma levelP A G E 54
  • • Delivery of training workshops for volunteers will benefit from being able to be accredited at Certificate 3 level in the VET training package.• The future cost to students enrolling for the VET diploma course will affect its viability• Suitable presenters will need to be identified and trained. If staff members of WAM continue to present training, then arrangements for this will need to be negotiated with WAM and the relevant RTO.15.2 Non-accredited training offered for workers in small museums and galleriesIn Queensland, Museums and Galleries Queensland (MAGQ) concentrates its training initiatives ondelivering short courses meeting established needs and following up requests. Although, as mentionedearlier, this organisation played a leading role in pursuing competency based training, today MAGQ haswithdrawn from accredited training because the demands it was seen to make impinged on the delivery ofpractical assistance where it was most needed. It was also partly the result of the changing role of MAGQ.This state has, since the 1990s, a framework of Regional Development Officers employed by QueenslandMuseum who assist delivering training and facilitating networking throughout the state. They work closelywith development initiatives of the Museums and Galleries Commission in New South Wales. This is apattern well worth serious consideration in Western Australia, and indeed the CollectionsCare GoldfieldsProject established by the former Collections Council of Australia has provided evidence to support theeffectiveness of such an approach for Western Australia.In New South Wales, where for many years the state branch of Museums Australia took a veryentrepreneurial and successful role in providing leadership and training to lift standards of professionalpractice, the Museums and Galleries Commission has taken much of this role for more than a decade.The Commission aims to foster a network of sustainable community museums and to acknowledge theirachievements. The program is operated in conjunction with MAGQ and to date 102 museums haveparticipated over a period of 12 years. Each participating museum is assigned two external reviewers whomake two visits annually. The approximately 400 community museums are serviced by a Standards Programthat operates regionally, with particular regions being targeted each year. Using the National Standards,participating museums use a mixture of self-help and external feedback from reviewers to work to reachacceptable standards. The reviewers are appointed by the Museums and Galleries Commission’s StandardsReview Committee and monitor progress. Three reports are made during a twelve-month period at the endof which participants and their stakeholders participate in a debriefing session which is mutually beneficialto participants and those conducting the program. Additionally, the Commission conducts a series ofworkshops in the regions addressing not only identified basic training needs, but also more advanced trainingwhere it is seen to be warranted. The Commission assists this process with a system of grants. Volunteersare eligible to apply for up to $500 for attendance at networking or training events, while local Councils canalso apply for funds to conduct training sessions for museum workers in their region. Up to $5,000 can beapplied for by a volunteer-run museum to put on a training workshop. The successful applicants are expectedto invite other museums staff to such occasions. The Museums and Galleries Professional DevelopmentProgram conducts a series of workshops, conferences and seminars in metropolitan and regional areasfunded through Arts NSW. A further program is the Museum Advisor service, co-funded with localgovernment which allows an advisor to spend 20 days based in a museum assisting to establish standardsworking with the (usually voluntary) staff. P A G E 55
  • Additionally, NSW museums receive substantial assistance from training provided by the PowerhouseMuseum’s Regional Outreach Program. This has several strands comprising regional internships, movableheritage fellowships, and a Professional Advice and Project Assistance program. Where site visits may provenecessary, a fee may be charged to the client, but otherwise the outreach program is free. Regional internshipscan be up to four weeks and be taken in most aspects of museum practice. Recipients work with a dedicatedmember of the Museum’s staff and each internship is individually negotiated. There are also short (usuallythree-day) courses offered on collection management, interpretation and exhibition design. A MovableHeritage Fellowship is also offered annually and provides opportunity for extensive research by a communitymuseum worker into significant objects held by a museum which can result in publication, exhibition orcreative expression such as a play.Major regional museums in New South Wales also provide significant training services. For example, atWagga, the Riverina Regional Museum (RRM), with a staff of 6.1 FTE, provides an inspiring role model forregional museum and gallery development serving as a hub for some 30 community museums. Training isdelivered via strategic projects (such as a series of significance assessment workshops) and is non-accredited.There is a flexible arrangement whereby the Museum can provide much informal training throughinternships. These can be as short as three hours and made available when people from outlying museumscome to Wagga for other purposes thus obviating the need for travel subsidy. However, stress is laid on long-term outcomes and building on-going relationships, trust and networking between museums and linkageswith other cultural organisations and projects. The RRM is supported 90% by local government and is clearlyseen as an agency that can make significant contributions to long-term social and cultural development forthe community. This is well demonstrated, for example, in projects working with Indigenous organisationsand individuals. Gaining the confidence of elders, and working on socially-based projects delivering realoutcomes in conjunction with Aboriginal agencies and in broad cultural areas is seen to be more valuablethan attempting to provide specific museum skills. The museum is thus seen as a positive force in touch withmajor social policy directions and an agency of building capacity, rather than a place apart where skills maybe taught without an immediate social context. The RRM’s services benefit from strong strategic relationshipswith other museums such as the Powerhouse in Sydney where Director Dawn Casey has taken a stronginterest in regional museum development, and with national institutions in Canberra. A representative fromthe National Museum sits on the RRM’s advisory committee.This somewhat lengthy outline of some aspects of training offered in New South Wales is offered forconsideration when planning possible development for collections sector in Western Australia. Althoughit is only a superficial and partial account of services in New South Wales, it serves to suggest that seriousconsideration should be given to the way in which training, particularly for the volunteer sector, mightbest be addressed within an overall plan for the development of the state’s many museums. It is timely inWestern Australia to address standards in museums with more precision. Whether one thinks a system toaccredit museums should, or should not, be introduced, setting standards and working towards them throughan established state-wide framework is desirable. Once in place, museums and their workers will seek thenecessary training to reach acceptable minimum standards. Delivery through nodal regions has already beenpioneered and assessed with advantageous outcomes in the Geraldton and Goldfields regions in WA andthe Riverina in NSW. Such a system has the twofold advantages of at once lifting institutional standards andproviding opportunity for targeted training that delivers outcomes where they are needed and are not hamperedby the requirements of accreditation for people who are not seeking a qualification. All of this can exist side byside with more formal pathways for professional qualifications for those who seek them. However, given thelimited employment opportunities for paid work and the availability of accredited training online or in distancelearning mode, it is unlikely in the short term that enrolments in VET training will be as numerous as they havebeen in the ECU course which was a major vehicle for skilling volunteers as well as career-seekers.P A G E 56
  • The Victorian Branch of Museums Australia, which accounts for one third of the national membership,remains one of the most significant in the delivery of training. In addition to talks by specialists, the Branchprovides an impressive list of regional workshops on the basic skills needed for effectively operating amuseum. These are available free to members. An “on demand” program is available for a fee to meet specialtraining requests of museums and is available regionally. Training that had been delivered free to participantsthanks to Heritage Victoria and the state government is becoming less available with the withdrawal offunding. The museum accreditation program operated by MA (Vic) since 1992 and which is supported byArts Victoria is an effective means of developing museums of a high standard and is operated at two levels;one for museums operated by volunteers and one for those with paid staff. The scheme has two full-timemanagers who oversee the two year process that results in accreditation for successful museums. Onceaccredited, there is an on-going, though less rigorous assessment requirement to ensure museums retain theiraccredited status. Participation in this program highlights the need for suitable training while the trainingoffered by MA(VIC) provides a pathway for their achievement by staff. Accreditation of museums not thefocus of this review and deserves separate consideration. However, as noted, a museum seeking accreditationneeds to have staff sufficiently trained to meet required standards, and therefore has a direct impact on thedemand for training. In Western Australia there has been something of an assumption that by trainingworkers, institutional standards will rise, and indeed there has been a significant evidence of this. In thepast, an institutional accreditation program has been thought too cumbersome and expensive to maintain.However, bearing the Victorian experience in mind, Western Australia could do well to look again at thepossibility of establishing a system of museum accreditation. Such a scheme has the advantage of assistingto place scarce developmental resources where they are likely to bear the most fruitful results. As has beenalluded to earlier in this review, over time it will become increasingly necessary to identify those museumsthat will have a major presence in the collections sector, and they will be far less in number than the present300. Accreditation could assist with this. However, past experience in WA with the Recognition Program,the (now possibly out-dated) thesis on the subject by Sarah Murphy (1992), 9. and the on-going demands ofservicing such a scheme suggest a cautious approach to its introduction.Currently, Museums Australia (Vic) also offers regional workshops aimed at raising standards of performanceof staff in targeted aspects of work in small museums. One series is concerned with cataloguing where allattendees are required to follow the training by applying what they have learned to a number of collectionitems, cataloguing them to an suitable standard. A parallel workshop is offered on empowering participantsto employ new technologies in small museums. Although not accredited training, these initiatives ensure thatthe individuals benefitting from them can (and indeed are obliged to) contribute to improve standards in theirmuseums, thus enhancing their accredited institutional status. A separate program provides opportunities forattendees to gain accreditation for skills learned for those seeking formal recognition of achievement.In South Australia, History SA is the major body concerned with development of the small museum sector.Its Community History Program (CHP) offers advice, assistance and formal training for all aspects ofcollection management, museum management, preventative conservation, planning/strategy, interpretationand exhibition development. Within this overarching program is a standards program, aligned with theNational standards for Australian museums and keeping places that is a registration and accreditationprogram for community museums. Currently there are 61 museums involved in this program. Formalmonitoring of participating occurs every five years when they are reassessed against the standards. Onceaccredited, on-going assessment is less formal relying on field visits and working with museums as theyprepare for, or implement, programs through the annual CHP grant round. The CHP has a modest grantto service its fieldwork and this is supplemented by funds, when successfully applied for, through otherprograms such as the Regional Preservation Fund or the Community History Grants program. History9. Murphy, S.T., 1992. An accreditation scheme for museums in Western Australia. M.Litt. dissertation, James Cook University. P A G E 57
  • SA also works cooperatively with other agencies such as Artlab Australia, the Oral History Associationof Australia, Museums Australia (SA), the state library and volunteer organisations. SA History reportsfew enquiries for VET training, though there has been some limited discussion with the Community ArtsNetwork in SA and with MAGQ on the possibility of introducing the training package.Implications for Western Australia• A focus on training that is designed to raise standards in museums is desirable• Standards should be monitored, possibly through an accreditation scheme• Regional delivery is desirable• Accreditation of individuals may result from this training, but is not its major focus.15.3 University coursesCourses in Museum Studies have met with varying degrees of popularity and success for over 30 years.Among the earliest in Australia were courses at Sydney and Deakin Universities and these were first offeredas postgraduate diplomas. Despite some scepticism within the profession, especially in major institutions,as to their value, it is obvious today that those smaller museums that are developing into successful andprofessionally respected operations usually have at their head a curator or director who has a strongacademic background in museum or heritage studies. There is growing competition for the small but growingnumber of positions offered by local government and other parent bodies who see the value of paying asuitably qualified person. Despite the obvious need to train volunteers, museums, if they are to offer servicesat a professional level, will need well-qualified paid staff. It is useful to compare staffing arrangements inmuseums with those in libraries. It is commonly understood that a library will need experienced and paidstaff whereas all too often it is assumed that voluntary staff can manage a museum. The skills required formanaging a museum are comparable and some may argue to be greater than those required by librarians.University courses in museum and heritage studies are, and are likely to remain, the most valued pre-vocational preparation for such positions. Postgraduate courses build on a foundation of relevantundergraduate studies, while bachelor or masters courses in heritage studies incorporate a wide academicperspective that suitably educates participants for developing museums of significance and substance. Theextent to which university offerings should concentrate on the more practical skills relating to the care andmanagement of collections is contentious. Recent trends suggest that such skills are more appropriate forthe VET sector, while it can also be argued that tertiary courses that incorporate practicum placementsor internships can allow for both theoretical and practical aspects to be met. A matter of concern is that itappears a recent report on university courses recommends that those with vocational content be phased outin favour of those with more substantial research components. 10. The consultant has not had an opportunityto pursue this report, but it would appear that it could have an erosive effect on university courses.A well regarded museum studies course operated at James Cook University in Queensland under theleadership of Professor Barrie Reynolds offered postgraduate and higher degrees. It was closed in the 1990s.At Macquarie, a university well known for its investment in museums and collections and its role inbrokering the Cinderella Collections reports into university museums and collections throughout Australia,a more recent initiative in museum studies provided opportunities for students to make use of the manycollections held by the university. An innovative program was introduced leading to bachelor degrees in bothArts and Science, thus allowing for sound academic background and an understanding of museums using awider and more interdisciplinary approach. Despite its seeming popularity the course is being terminated, nonew students being enrolled from the commencement of second semester 2012.10. Reported to the visual arts focus group by Prof. Clive Barstow at its meeting in mid July.P A G E 58
  • Curtin University’s RICH has already been discussed, but needs to be touched on again in the contextof other Australian university opportunities. While in existence the courses (undergraduate degree,postgraduate diploma, master and PhD programs), prepared students for careers in the wide field of CulturalHeritage. At the same time there were opportunities for specialisation. Students with a particular focus onmuseums could undertake practicum placement in museums and were also given opportunity and academiccredit for taking the ECU Museum Studies Course. All of this took place within a suitably staffed Institutewhich played a highly significant leadership role in the state’s heritage and museum institutions and carriedout important consultative projects, providing an exciting and socially relevant context in which studentsstudied. Its demise has left a great gap in the state’s educational provision for the heritage generally and thecollections sector in particular.However, not all developments are as negative as those last mentioned. Deakin has emerged as possibly themajor centre for museum and cultural heritage studies and today offers a suite of opportunities ranging fromGraduate Certificate through Postgraduate Diploma to Masters, with an option at Honours level in eitherMuseum Studies or Cultural Heritage. Entry is trimester and courses can be taken either at the University oronline. Presently there are approximately 80 full time equivalent enrolments. Although recently there has beena slight decline in overall enrolments, there is an increase at the Masters level. It is interesting to note that 14student enrolments in semester two in 2012 are from Western Australia, the highest number from any state. Ascourses are available online, there is a trend for declining attendance at classes, even by internal students. The Australian National University has entered the area with innovative programs operating across facultiesand providing higher degree courses where museum and heritage studies are combined with studies inspecialist disciplines. Additionally, the University is actively engaged with the small museum sector, not onlylocally, but offers a regular and well-subscribed course in Tasmania at Narryna Museum in conjunction withthe Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.Some preliminary discussion with the Head of Humanities at the University of Western Australia, ProfessorJenny Gregory, has provided some encouraging prospects for the future. In conjunction with curators ofon-campus museums and collections and the academic departments with which they are associated, thepossibility of providing a masters degree in the broad field of cultural management with some courseworkand a substantial research component catering for disciplinary specialisation, will be investigated for itspotential viability. In view of the relatively small numbers that would be expected in such a course it isenvisaged that existing staff and administrative structures would be utilised thus avoiding at least some ofthe economic pressures that could defeat such an initiative. Already at UWA there is a strong tradition ofproject research and mentoring through the collections held on campus. For example, the Berndt Museumof Anthropology through its curator Dr John Stanton has worked extensively with Indigenous interns whohave subsequently worked to significant effect with Aboriginal communities. This is the type of professionaldevelopment called for in recommendations of this report and which need to be fostered and recognised in aformalised framework.The School of Business at Melbourne University offers an annual Museum Leadership Program inconjunction with Museums Australia Inc., sponsored by the Gordon Darling Foundation. This is the onlysubstantial professional development program of length, substance and established reputation servingthe sector at senior and managerial levels. It is particularly useful for professional museum staff who havespecialist academic backgrounds but little training in management, marketing and public relations, and whofind themselves promoted to levels where these and allied skills are needed. While the intensive residentialcourse offers valuable training, there is ongoing need for more of this type of in-service education. The needwas emphasised in an interview the consultant conducted with Amy Barrett-Lennard, Director of the Perth P A G E 59
  • Institute of Contemporary Art whose own background in Art History had not prepared her for some of theskills she needed to acquire in her present position. However, she was quick to emphasise that the primerequirement for working at PICA was a strong creative talent and drive, rather than a background in artsmanagement, which she felt was sometimes dampening rather than nurturing of artistic creativity that is atthe centre of such an institution.At Leicester University in Britain, the Museum Studies Department, a pioneer in the teaching of tertiarymuseum studies dating back to the 1970s, a strong and viable mode of course delivery was to offer intensivelive-in (usually one week) tuition for units of course work at postgraduate diploma and masters levels.Students were given study guides which then set out in some detail how subsequent studies could be pursuedwhen they returned home. Today, the study guides are available online. The Leicester experience offersfood for thought in the local situation as the combination of study online with a component of face to facelectures and practical classes offers considerable savings over courses conducted entirely face to face yetprovides access and for participants from distant areas. The Leicester experience also testifies to the benefit,at the academic end of training, of having a major centre with a number of staff and a significant traditionof research and publication. Leicester now boasts some 60 PhD students and is recognised throughout theworld as a major centre for museum studies drawing students from all continents. Although currently it isdifficult to claim that any Australian university can rival Leicester, it certainly makes good sense to guardagainst the proliferation of places offering comprehensive museum studies programs as they will have theeffect of diluting the small pool to the detriment of all.Implications for Western Australia• It is unlikely that any university in Western Australia will replace the former RICH with a comparable body• Opportunities are needed for postgraduate study involving collections within existing administrative frameworks• It would benefit Western Australian students enrolled externally in museum-related courses elsewhere if practical and research work involving collections within this state could be carried out and supervised at a local university.• Museum Studies courses in universities are generally held in high regard as entry qualifications for career-seekers in the sector. The introduction of such a course in Western Australia is desirable, but should only be contemplated if sustainable and does not threaten the viability of existing provision in other states. The recent experience of some courses casts doubt on the success of such a program.P A G E 60
  • 16 ConclusionUnless new initiatives are taken in Western Australia to fill the void left by the closure of the most importanttraining programs for the sector, the state’s collecting institutions will be faced with a serious shortage oflocally trained staff at all levels. Significant investment in training should be seen as of equal importance tothat made in the fabric of a new museum.The ongoing development of the state’s museum culture is dependent on enlightened and competent staff.Targeted programs, adequately resourced, that assist museums to achieve satisfactory standards can be a wayof training staff, especially unpaid staff, while at the same time producing beneficial program outcomes intheir institutions. However they cannot replace the need for courses that qualify people for career positions inthe sector. Such courses are needed both for the development of practical skills and for providing educationin appropriate disciplines and the theoretical and philosophical framework of the collections sector.Recommendations in this report suggest ways to address provision. More important than the particularcourse chosen is the determination to address the need and to plan and implement it with participation fromall interested parties. P A G E 61
  • Appendix One: BibliographyACT Museums and Galleries, Arts Tasmania et al, 2008. National standards for Australian museums andgalleries. Version 1.0.Brophy C, Birtley M, Sweet J, et al, 2002. Study into the key needs of collecting institutions in the heritagesector: final report. Deakin University, Melbourne.Department for the Arts, Western Australian Government, 1992. Into the Twenty-first Century, Report of theState Task Force for Museums Policy in Western Australia.Department of Culture and the Arts, 2006. Museum policy reference group report.Department of Culture and the Arts, 2005. Report on a survey of Western Australian museums, galleries andIndigenous keeping places and local Collections.McShane, Ian,2001. Training for the museum profession in Western Australia: a report to Museums Australia(Western Australia).Museums Australia Queensland & Regional Galleries Association Queensland, 2000. Training anddevelopment needs of Indigenous people in museums and galleries throughout Queensland.Museums and Gallery Services Queensland, 2007. Education and training opportunities.Murphy, S.T., 1992. An accreditation scheme for museums in Western Australia. M.Litt. dissertation, JamesCook University.Museums Australia Inc. (Western Australia), 2011. Business plan 2011-13Street Ryan and Associates, 1990. Development of a Training Strategy for the Australian Museums Sector.Melbourne.P A G E 62
  • Appendix Two: Some evidence of the extent of thegrowth of paid professional staff in WesternAustralian Museums since 1993.These details were supplied to the consultant by Stephen Anstey who for many years has worked not onlyto deliver museum training but to have professional training recognised, employed and paid for in order toadvance the collections sector. They are reproduced here just as they were sent to the consultant as an email.“What has really changed since 1993 is that there has been a significant growth in the number of paid and, inthe main, suitably qualified and trained professionals employed in our museums. This has resulted in hugeadvances in professional standards, greater resourcing of these museums and a quantum leap in the calibreand scope of their programs. I instance the following examples: National Trust WA (Sarah Murphy, AnneBrake, Kate Gregory), Subiaco Museum (Cristobel Bennet, Jennifer Harris, Elizabeth Hoff, Una Quigley),Claremont Museum (Clare-Francis Craig, Lillian Henkel, Kate Gregory, Rona Neumann ,Carol Blackett,Lindy Chambers, Jan Hoffman et al), Melville Museum and Heritage Service (Helen Muntz, Soula Vereydieret al plus trained 2IC’s), Armadale Museum (Christen Bell), Fremantle Gaol (Anne Brake, Sandra Murray, Luke Donovan et al), York (Carol Littlefare-a really good example!), Mandurah (Nicholas Reynolds),Gosnells (Mary Maxwell et al), Mundaring Hills Historical Society (Brian Marshall, Paul Bridges), SwanGuildford (Paul Bridges), Wanneroo Museum and Art Gallery (Philippe Rogers, Kate de Bruin et al), Cityof Perth Collection (Jo Darbyshire),  Revolutions-Whiteman Park (Val Humphrey), Berndt Museum (JohnStanton et al), ECU Museum of Childhood (Brian Shepherd, Stephen Anstey, Juliet Ludbrook, Kate deBruin,Leigh O’Brien, Lyn Williamson et al). Others include New Norcia, FISA, Aviation Museum, Francis Burt LawCentre, Belmont, Mt Flora, the Army Museum and the WACA. This list is just off the top of my head and isby no means comprehensive (apologies to institutions and individuals not mentioned!). There are now manymore examples. The list doesn’t include kindred institutions such as art galleries, archives, school archive-museums, heritage services, libraries with museum collections (e.g. John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library),private collections/museums, all of whom have employed significant numbers of, in the main, appropriatelytrained and qualified (again many ECU Certificate in Museum Studies graduates) paid professionals withexcellent results. None of these bodies listed, with the possible exception of ECU Museum of Childhood,Claremont Museum and Fremantle Gaol were employing appropriately trained and qualified paidprofessionals in 1993. They were struggling under volunteer management and in many cases failing to meeteven basic professional standards or to obtain any kind of community profile or provide public value.” P A G E 63
  • Appendix Three: A TRAINING issues paper presented tothe National Conference of Museums AustraliaSeptember 2011.This paper is attached to the review report as it outlines in some detail the evolution of training forthe sector. It was written and presented by the consultant.Training review and needs analysis for the collections sector, and Issues PaperThe purpose of this short paper is to act as a focus for at least some of the matters to be considered in thereview. The consultant welcomes all comments on the issues raised as well as others that may be relevant toplanning effective training for the sector.A Philosophical FoundationUnderpinning issues relating to training for the museum’s profession are key questions relating to theroles and purposes of museums in the contemporary world, their viability, uses, changing nature andsustainability. Without a vision for what they may be in the future it will be difficult to make specificrecommendations regarding training. For whom should training be provided, what should it comprise, howdelivered, and to what social purpose? Weighty underlying philosophical matters are not the focus of thisreport and cannot easily be agreed on. However the attitudes and values held by all stakeholders with regardto these questions will shape the contribution each individual makes to the issues being examined. It will beuseful to be overtly aware of them in the deliberations as they inevitably affect our individual approaches tothe issues involved and will have a bearing on measures taken or not taken to implement recommendations.ContextIt is now a decade since Ian McShane was commissioned to carry out a similar review. It is timely to monitorprogress towards achieving the recommendations of that report. Since then the Museums Policy ReferenceGroup established by Minister McHale issued a major report (2006) on the sector as a whole which hadimplications for, and some specific recommendations regarding training. These two documents providebenchmarks for measuring progress.Although some progress has been made toward meeting some recommendations made in the McShanereport, many have not been addressed and some worrying developments have made some of them moredifficult to address. Amongst his 17 recommendations are matters yet to be acted on or resolved including• Establishing a museum industry training committee (Recommendation 17)• Strategic planning for training and development (1 & 2)• Individual professional accreditation including professional membership categories through Museums Australia (3 &12)• Mapping existing training courses against National Competencies (4 &5)• Co-ordination of training across related agencies (6)• Indigenous traineeship programs (7)• Mid-career professional development opportunities (8 &9)• Emerging training needs (10 & 11)• Employment standards and classification (13)• Regional hubs project (14)• Program division between museum and gallery sectors (15)• National training agenda linked to national standards (16)P A G E 64
  • Evolution of training in Western AustraliaIt is important to place the two reports mentioned above in the wider context of the changing nature of themuseum sector over a broad time period. This will assist in understanding where we have come from andpoint to what it may be practical to achieve in current circumstances.Training has become an issue in the wake of the emergence of the small museum movement fromapproximately the early 1960s when there was a quickening of interest in saving and displaying materialculture seen to reflect past ways of living in communities or practices that were being superseded. Prior tothis time the state museum institutions relied on teaching museum practice on the job. Qualifications foremployment in these institutions were sound academic credentials in a relevant discipline. There remainscontinuing scepticism in large museums as to the value of museum studies courses.As the museum movement expanded there little quality control on the way emerging museums wereconducted. The Western Australian Museum, under the direction of John Bannister, initiated theRecognition program as both a means of assisting the more active amongst these new museums and as a wayof their gaining a form of accreditation. As time passed it became clear that the scheme, worthy as it mighthave been, was not being adequately serviced and there was little opportunity for newly emerging institutionsto become “recognised”. Further, there was little pressure on those already recognised to maintain standardsthat had initially earned them recognition. By the mid1980s the scheme had all but collapsed.From the mid1980s training became a major concern of the Museums Association of Australia and itsWestern Australian Branch. It conducted a number of training workshops, sometimes in conjunction withregional chapter meetings, and at others in conjunction with the WA Museum. It was at this time too thatfunds from the Instant Lottery were secured by the Association to employ a travelling curator to work witha number of small institutions to establish sound policy development and collections management. Thisservice was supplemented by WA Museum’s Local Museum Program which provided modest collection,conservation and display advice.The late 1980’s was a time of considerable activity for the museums sector nationally. In Western Australiathere was considerable lobbying for sector support culminating with the part-time employment of anExecutive Officer for the professional association and the emergence of a grant scheme for modest financialsupport for the small museum sector which was managed by the association.In 1990 the establishment of a Western Australian State Government museums task force under theleadership of Tom Stannage marked the beginning of a new chapter in museum training and education.Much of the major thrust of the task force’s report was not taken up and acted upon by the incominggovernment. However the clear need it identified for some articulated training course for workers (mainlyvoluntary) in the state’s approximately 270 small museums resulted in a positive outcome. The call for actionwas taken up by the Association, a number of professional museum workers and the staff of Edith CowanUniversity’s Museum of Childhood. A course was devised around what a committee thought would providethe basic skills for managing a small museum and the course began as a series of 13 workshops conductedover full weekends on a cost recovery basis with only a modest remuneration for presenters who mostlyregarded their participation as pro bono work. Interest in these workshops exceeded all expectations andthey have been heavily subscribed now for two decades. There can be little doubt that this course has had aconsiderable influence in lifting the professionalism of Western Australia’s museum sector.Other initiatives around this time were transforming the museum and gallery sector. Art on the Move– WA’s travelling exhibition organisation - conducted workshops on the mounting and travelling of art P A G E 65
  • exhibitions thus empowering many small and regional museums and galleries. The regional Arts Networkand Country Arts became increasingly active around the state fostering a more skilled and knowledgeablearts sector.Most importantly, Curtin University embarked on the bold initiative of establishing a Research Institute forCultural Heritage (RICH) and appointing a professor at its helm. RICH introduced both undergraduate andpostgraduate courses to the level of doctoral studies in the broad fields of heritage studies in which it waspossible for students to specialise in museum studies. At RICH, appropriately for university studies, therewas an emphasis on philosophical and conceptual issues rather than the more technical skills required formanaging collections. However RICH, in conjunction with the Museums Assistance Program at the WAMuseum also conducted an annual four day course for museum workers in small museums which providedgrounding for voluntary workers in the necessary skills of managing collections. An important aspect of theRICH was to engage widely in consultative work around the state in conjunction with local government, themuseums community, and with peak heritage bodies such as the Heritage Council of Western Australia andthe National Trust of Australia (WA).Thus within a few short years the state had a number of complementary offerings supplementing the modestofferings previously in place and which continued to operate. (The WA Museum’s Local Museum Programbecame the Museums Assistance Program and has continued to work vigorously for the sector with limited staff.)A significant parallel development occurring in much the same period was the development of industrytraining packages within the VET sector resulting in Certificates at varying levels for the Library and Museumsector. Australia has been slow to take advantage of these in the museum sector, though Queensland has beenan exception piloting the packages and monitoring progress of participants very thoroughly. An extensivetravelling program of workshops conducted throughout Australia by Regional Arts Australia largelythrough Country Arts was an early attempt to provide accreditation for two units from the training package(collections management and conducting public events). These were conducted at a range of regional centresin Western Australia and to date are the only take- up of the training package in this state. McShane usedthese to illustrate the need for co-ordinated training across related agencies – a significant recommendationyet to be implemented. Recently there has been a review of the training package and industry participationhas been encouraged. The resultant courses are likely to appear attractive to potential participants, especiallyif there is uncertainty as to the continuation of existing courses. The recognised accreditation through theVET sector under the Australian Quality Framework provides a portable qualification presently not availablefrom the ECU course.A challenging environment in Western AustraliaThe suite of training offerings in Western Australia has served the collections sector reasonably well –something recognised in the McShane report. Nevertheless that report, now a decade old, drew attention tothe need to move forward, particularly in the area of accreditation, where to date little has been achieved. Thedecade has also witnessed some disturbing trends threatening to erode those factors that had made the suiteof offerings viable in the local environment. Perhaps most significant has been the dramatic scaling downof the activities of the RICH at Curtin University where undergraduate teaching has been cut, consultancywork all but ceased, and staff reduced to one member. With the untimely death of Professor Dolan the statehas lost a strong champion for heritage education. However an encouraging sign is the way in which culturalheritage at Curtin now has input to course work in architecture and landscaping. Such a developmentsuggests that the “collections sector” (the term used for this review) may do well to consider ways in whichit may contribute to the wider heritage industry where it interfaces with allied interests. At ECU, one maybe tempted to think the prospects are brighter, especially as it is now possible for undergraduate students totake Museum Studies as either a minor or major field of study and. A graduate certificate in the field is alsoP A G E 66
  • offered. These awards are integrated with the workshops which have proved so popular over the past twentyyears. The latter now comprise what is called the Museum Studies Course rather than Certificate as they donot satisfy the current requirements for the issue of a Certificate. However the undergraduate and Certificatenumbers are not viable, so the continuation of the workshop offerings making these awards possible isdependent on continuing healthy demand for the workshops even though no award will be possible for thosewho complete the same requirements that previously resulted in the issue of a Certificate. A more worryingaspect is that the provision of respected specialist presenters of the weekend workshops is becoming moredifficult. When the course was first introduced the almost desperate need for training encouraged committedprofessionals to give their time to help meeting that need. The Museum of Childhood, as part of a universitywith a mission of community service was an ideal facility from which to operate the course at that time. Staffof that museum, along with other professionals, gave of their time on weekends which did not impinge ontheir professional employment obligations during the week. Profit motive was not a consideration, thoughmodest fees were charged to cover the costs involved and any resulting profit was shared between theUniversity and the WA Museum. Shortly after its initiation the Museum of Childhood had its operationalbudget withdrawn and was challenged with raising such through its own initiatives. The cost of the course(still modest) contributed to its operational budget, but profits were shared with the WA Museum as before.Following Dr Shepherd’s retirement from the Museum of Childhood in 2004 the continuation of themuseum studies course was in doubt, and it was suspended for one year. When reintroduced there wasfurther pressure for it to earn its way so payments to the WA Museum were suspended. As time has goneon the WA Museum is not happy for members of its staff to be involved as heavily as they are without anyinstitutional return. Inevitably some of their employed time is taken up in preparation for the heavy demandsmade on them by presenting full weekend workshops to groups of participants frequently numbering inexcess of 40. Although participating presenters are paid a modest sum for their work, it is by no means aviable sum, the greater part of the expenditure on conducting the course goes on administration and payingthe part time member of staff coordinating the course who also contributes to several of the workshops.There is no substantial staffing commitment to museum studies at ECU at this time and, given the factorsoutlined above, no guarantee of longevity of the present offerings.Are we at a crossroads?In recent times there are signs of new initiatives that suggest possible ways forward and which make thereview and analysis of training needs for the sector timely. Careful consideration of them may well assist inchoosing the route to be followed.The WA Branch of Museums Australia has blossomed in recent years. Indeed it is scarcely recognisableas the organisation which, a decade ago, was then seen as an emerging force of significance for the sector.Testimony to its achievements was the association winning the WA Heritage Award for Outstandingachievement by a community Organisation in 2009. One of the association’s contributions to the sector hasbeen in the area of professional development, itself a synonym for training. Over the past year or so courses,for, which a realistic fee has been charged, have been conducted on the topics of interpretation, publicprograms and conservation. These initiatives have been well subscribed and, although not aimed at detractingenrolments from the ECU course, have demonstrated that the association has the capacity to conducttraining programs of quality and profit from delivering them. Museums Australia (WA) is to be applaudedfor the entrepreneurial way in which it is able to staff its operation with four members when its grant fromthe Department or Culture and the Arts would barely cover the employment of one officer. If one looks atthe relativities of conducting workshops through ECU and the professional association it might be concludedthat Museums Australia is the more viable option, especially if accreditation is not available through eitherbody for many of the participants. P A G E 67
  • A further ingredient in these changing times is the role played by the WA Museum’s Museums AssistanceProgram, now renamed Development Services. Despite limited staff and funding, one of its significantinitiatives for several years was to conduct the four day introductory course for museum volunteers inconjunction with the RICH at Curtin. Not surprisingly, this has lapsed for several years as a result of thescaling down of the RICH. However there is the opportunity to reinstate this course through the WAMuseum’s Development Services having mapped it against the VET competency and National Standardspackages so as to earn credits. It is understood that the WA Museum wishes to engage more fully withcommunities across the state and such an initiative would be a means to that end. By using an existing unitand being able to call on the great variety of expertise within its operation, training conducted under theauspices of the state museum has considerable credibility. It is hard to see how this would not be preferableto that institution to continuing to support a course run under the banner of ECU when there is neithersufficient recognition nor any financial return.An increasing pressure impinging on the future of training is the provision of accreditation for thoseparticipants seeking a portable qualification to enhance their career opportunities. While in the past thethrust was to provide volunteer workers in small museums with basic skills, today there are a growingnumber of paid positions outside the state institutions where people with appropriate recognisedqualifications can seek career opportunities in the sector. A hybrid training program, where elements ofa common course could be taken by both those seeking and not seeking accreditation may be importantto consider. This would be similar to the present course provision at ECU where a common core issupplemented by a seminar stream and more rigorous assessment for those enrolled in the approveduniversity units.The VET sector, with newly revised and nationally accredited training packages leading to Certificates atvarying levels potentially offers a viable pathway for effective skilling of museum workers. That there is aquickening of interest at the Perth TAFE College is evident by seeking enrolments to introduce the trainingpackage in 2011. This did not eventuate as at this time there were insufficient expressions of interest tomake its conduct viable. Given the uncertainties facing the sector as outlined above, the TAFE offeringwould seem to be increasingly attractive in the future. However, at present it is not clear who will deliver themodules in the VET course. Many of the professionals currently involved in delivering training courses inWestern Australia are highly skilled and established practitioners and their participation has been a magnetfor enrolments and a major reason for the popularity of courses. It is not clear at present who would delivera VET course through a TAFE college. Further, the mode and timing of delivery will impact on potentialenrolments. Intensive short courses or the weekend series of modules offered presently by ECU are attractivemodes for country residents (a significant proportion of enrolments) and people holding employed positionsduring the week. Although on-line delivery could overcome the issue of attendance in person, it would be atthe expense of the personal contact and practical work possible in workshop delivery.The McShane report recommended the mapping of present offerings, particularly the ECU course, againstthe competency standards. Although some progress was made towards this, the fact that existing presentersare already overcommitted and have no incentive to do this has meant that this recommendation remains tobe implemented. National Standards for museums and galleries were published in 2008 and have been usedin the development of the VET training packages. Whatever modes of training delivery emerge in the futurethe national standards provide effective guidelines for training to meet professional standards.P A G E 68
  • A temporary paid position for someone with the appropriate background could make it possible to map thepresent ECU offerings against the training package competencies. It seems unlikely that this will be practicalwithout such assistance. Once this is achieved it may well be possible to negotiate with the VET sector tofind a way of delivering the training package drawing on some of the skilled presenters and their years ofexperience to offer accredited training while retaining the capacity for those not seeking accreditation toparticipate in some aspects of the course on a fee for service basis. Combining accredited and non-accreditedtraining in this way would assist in maintaining viable numbers of enrolments.Training of Indigenous heritage workersMcShane identified a need for indigenous traineeships (Recommendations 10 & 11) as an effective way ofboth ensuring adequate representation in the profession’s workforce generally and as a means of providingtrained staff in indigenous keeping places in particular.The extent to which progress has been made in this area needs to be reported on and furtherrecommendations for addressing training needs for this sector need to be made.Collegiality within the museum fraternityThe museum community in Western Australia has been characterised by a spirit of friendly cooperation,mutual self-help and willingness to share and contribute for the greater good of the state’s moveable heritageand its interpretation. In the past, as funds were generally, limited, there was a sense that only by making-doand encouraging all with an interest in the area to contribute what they could to assist in widening the skillbase, could progress be made. This was particularly the case as the fledgling profession relied so heavily onvoluntary staff whose only opportunity for professional development was through the assistance of qualifiedand experienced professionals who were willing to assist. The more recent emergence of a more professionalmuseum service is to be applauded, but it is an evolutionary process rather than a sudden change. There isstill the need for mutual cooperation and sharing of knowledge. Presently the majority of small museums arestill staffed by volunteers and budgets are small. Professional leadership is transforming the sector and thereis a body of evidence testifying to the advantageous effect the employment of trained personnel is having onthose museums fortunate to be able to employ such people. Because museums need to serve society ratherthan the reverse, it is vitally important that professionalism does not undermine the commitment and serviceable to be given by members of the profession, whether paid or unpaid. For the foreseeable future volunteereffort will be needed to supplement paid professionals. Volunteer contribution is one of the ways museumsbecome strongly embedded in their communities. Recognition of volunteer training and access to it is avital ingredient in future training provision and one way of maintaining the spirit of unity and cooperationso characteristic of the sector in Western Australia. It is vital that in growing a more professional museumservice the involvement of the community, especially the volunteers, is not lessened.In approaching the future training needs for the sector a robust spirit affirming positive action and outcomesis needed rather than one that dwells unduly on possible shortcomings of various approaches, whether past,present or future. Achievements made to date have been because those involved have acted rather thanfailed to do so because of possible imperfections. It is timely to apply national standards, to meet VET and /or University criteria for certification, but in addressing these requirements it is important to build on pastachievements and to take all interested stakeholders with us into the future rather than alienate them. P A G E 69
  • Major issuesIn charting the way forward the following questions may assist in focussing on at least some of the issuesto be addressed:• What are the gaps in the current provision of training for the sector in Western Australia?• How sustainable are present training provisions?• What is the relationship between the concepts of “education” and “training” as they refer to the • What is the relationship between the concepts of ‘training’ and ‘education’ as they refer to the preparationof workers for the sector?• Should there be an agreed body of content for training courses for the sector at various levels? How should this be arrived at and how could it be monitored?• Should a course of museum studies (or equivalent) be a necessary prerequisite for employment in the collections sector?• Which institutions are best placed to provide pre-vocational training/education for the sector?• What factors will affect an institution’s willingness to conduct training for the sector?• What models from inter-state or overseas can assist in planning future training for the sector in Western Australia?• How may training best meet the particular challenges faced by regional museum workers spread over a vast state?• How important is it to endure that training is accredited and how can best can the sector ensure institutional or individual professional standards?• What provision should be put in place for professional development for people already working in the sector?• How should the content of future training/education programs be decided?• What can be done to ensure that the spirit of mutual support, collegiality and cooperation which have characterised museum education and training in Western Australia are preserved in whatever future arrangements are put in place?P A G E 70
  • ReferencesACT Museums and Galleries, Arts Tasmania et al, 2008. National Standards for Australian Museums andGalleries. Version 1.0.Brophy C, Birtley M, Sweet J, et al, 2002. Study into the key needs of collecting institutions in the heritagesector: final report. Deakin University, Melbourne.Department for the Arts, Western Australian Government, 1992. Into the Twenty-first Century, Report of theState Task Force for Museums Policy in Western Australia.Department of Culture and the Arts, 2006. Museum Policy Reference Group Report.Department of Culture and the Arts, 2005. Report on a Survey of Western Australian Museums, Galleriesand Indigenous Keeping Places and Local Collections.McShane, Ian, 2001. Training for the Museum Profession in Western Australia: a Report to MuseumsAustralia (Western Australia).Museum and Gallery Services Queensland, 2007. Education and Training Opportunities.Museums Australia Inc. (Western Australia), 2011. Business Plan 2011-13Street Ryan and Associates Pty Ltd, 1990. Development of a Training Strategy for the Australian MuseumsSector. Arts training Australia and Council of Australian Museums Association, Melbourne. P A G E 71
  • APPENDIX FOUR: People consulted during the ReviewReference GroupStephan Anstey WA MuseumClare-Frances Craig WA MuseumJennifer Harris Curtin UniversityDr Lenore Layman Murdoch UniversityChristine Lewis DIARoz Lipscombe DCAIan MacLeod WA MuseumPaul Muenchow Future NowThomas Perrigo National Trust of Australia (WA)Diana Roberts MA(WA)Paul Thompson Art on the MoveSoula Veyradier WA MuseumJulie Zappa Perth CITFocus group membersIndigenous Staff of Western Australian MuseumRon Bradfield (Jnr) Stephen AnsteyBarbara Bynder Les BarrendeanHelen Carroll Kate De BruinRoss Chadwick Leigh O’BrienDenise Cook Ian GodfreyAnna Haebich Brad KrugerCarly LaneChristine Lewis Employed staff in small museumsSarah McQuade Christen BellWes Morris Jo DarbyshireTerry Murray Sarah de BuegerBrett Nannup Natalie JamesDiana Roberts Eleanor Lambert Oonagh QuigleyVisual Arts Nicholas ReynoldsGary Aitken Tracy WilletAmanda AldersonAmy Barrett-Lennard ConservatorsProf. Clive Barstow Cristina AlbillosDigby de Bruin Stephanie BailyBeverley Eiles Susan BelfordAndre Lipscombe Ulli Broeze-HoenemannConnie Petrillo David GravesPaul Thompson Vanessa WigginDiana Roberts Natalie HewlettSue Starken Ian MacLeodPaul Muenchow Kate WoollettSoula VeyradierP A G E 72
  • VolunteersMercia BarkerAdriana BrandosBob HammondLee DoyleCelia MillerJean TrueMary WestFaye StockdaleIndividuals interviewedPhoebe Arthur Museums and Galleries Commission of New South WalesAnne Baille Museums and Gallery Services QueenslandJennifer Barrett University of SydneyDeborah Bowman CIT CanberraMike Barnett Old Fairbridgians MuseumAnne Brake National Trust of Australia (WA)Paul Bridges Freelance curatorMonica Kane Community Arts Network WAAlec Coles Western Australian MuseumCathy Day Museum and heritage consultantLydia Edwards ECURosemary Fitzgerald MA(WA)Dr Viv Golding Leicester UniversityProf. Jenny Gregory UWAVanessa Kredler UNESCOCarol Littlefair York Residency MuseumMike McCarthy WAMGreg Manzie Glyde Gallery ConservationLaura Miles Museums Australia (Vic)Sarah Murphy National Trust of Australia (WA)Don Newman Planning Association of AustraliaRebecca Pinchin Powerhouse MuseumGina Pickering National Trust of Australia (WA)Anna Ragosa History Trust of South AustraliaLee Scott Museums Australia National OfficeMadeleine Scully Riverina Regional MuseumAndrew Simpson Macquarie UniversityRobert Smallman Central Coast Institute of Technology NSWJohn Stanton Berndt Museum of Anthropology UWASarah Toohey Old Court House Law MuseumSoula Veyredier MAWA and Museums and Local History, City of MelvilleAndrea Witcomb Deakin UniversityLynda Young Deakin University P A G E 73
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  • Brian Shepherd 25 Hardey Rd, Maylands, Western Australia. 6051 Telephone. 0410 344 812Email. b.shepherd@optusnet.com.au