As an outcome of several years of research into museums’, art galleries’ and other musingplaces’ Communities of Ownership & Interest (COI) the nudgelbah institute has just released a discussion paper entitled 'Tasmanian Musingplaces'.
The paper essentially presents a case for the formal regularisation and accreditation of musingplaces in Tasmania and there is a boast that there is currently something in the order of 140 musingplaces in the State.
Only one could be realistically regarded as being formally accredited to lend substance to the social licence musingplaces operate under.
The institute’s Director, Ray Norman, said today “it is interesting to see that ‘musingplaces’ in Tasmania are so unevenly accountable to their communities.”
“In some cases it could be argued that they are less accountable for the public funds they depend upon than say incorporated artist-run-initiatives seeking, and winning, public funding,” he said.
In Tasmania, sporting groups, historic societies, indeed clubs and societies of all kinds are generally incorporated under Associations Incorporation Act to provide their members with legal protection.
Incorporation also protects the public as upon incorporation these groups become accountable to government and consequently operate in accord with the Act or are wound up.
Ray Norman said ”currently there are processes in train to investigate the accreditation of museums nationally on a state by state basis.”
“This process appears to be focused on the self-regulation of the museology profession more than it may have legal status or offer any public protection” he said.
“Furthermore it appears to be making slow progress and not looking towards legal standing as a background for new funding options and paradigms.” He said.
The institute is advocating that musingplaces proactively engage with their Communities of Ownership and Interest to ensure inclusive and 21st C innovative, accountable, entrepreneurial and sustainable musingplace operations with appropriate legal standing.
The institute is well aware that the outcome of accreditation is unlikely to be achievable quickly. Nonetheless, a structured three to five year timeframe with the active participation of the various musingplaces and their Communities of Ownership and Interest has the potential to deliver more sustainable outcomes for musingplaces in Tasmania.
Moreover, it is now 64 years since the Tasmanian Government considered the place museums hold in Tasmanian society, and the Tasmanian imagination, and it is timely that the matter be revisited given the passage of time and the cultural and social change that is now evident in Tasmanian society.