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Understanding Museums - Australian Museums and Museology: Edited by Des Griffin and Leon Paroissien

About the authors

Margaret Anderson

Margaret Anderson is Director of the History Trust of South Australia. In a career spanning 30 years she has worked as a public historian in various museums and taught history at Monash University. Her research interests have focused on women's history and demography, but she has also written more widely about the practice of public history. She undertook an important survey of regional museums on behalf of Monash University for the Heritage Collections Working Group in the early 1990s.

Jennifer Barrett

Dr Jennifer Barrett is the Director of Museum Studies and Associate Dean (Postgraduate Coursework) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney. She is currently completing a manuscript for Museums and the Public Sphere for Blackwell Publishing (Oxford and NY, 2008) and Australian Artists and the Museum with Jacqueline Millner for Miegunyah (MUP) and Power Publications (2008).

Anne-Marie Condé

Anne-Marie Condé is a curator at the National Museum of Australia. Prior to taking up that position in 2008, she worked for many years as an historian at the Australian War Memorial. Her published work mainly concerns the history of archives, recordkeeping and museums in Australia, and she has in interest in the relationship between recordkeeping and literature. At present she is working on a study of the diary of the Australian novelist Jeannie Gunn. Anne-Marie manages the National Museum's ‘Eternity’ gallery, and she is undertaking some biographical work on ‘Mr Eternity’: Arthur Stace.

Ian Cook

After a cadetship at the Art Gallery of New South Wales Ian moved to the National Library of Australia as its first conservator in 1969. He completed a degree in Applied Science (analytical chemistry) at the Canberra College of Advanced Education in 1978, established the Preservation Services Branch at the Library, worked with colleagues to create the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material, and was appointed inaugural Director of the State Conservation Centre of South Australia (later called Artlab Australia) in 1985.

During the 1990s Ian was involved in developing national policies and strategies for collections management and conservation. He represented South Australia on the Heritage Collections Council and was, for some time, the Convenor of the Conservation and Collections Management Working Party which developed the National Conservation and Preservation Policy and Strategy – Australia’s Heritage Collections.

Ian was the Chair of AusHeritage Ltd (1995–1998) and currently serves as one of its deputy chairs. He is also Deputy Chair of the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Program and manager of 3CS AsiaPacific. His interests include participatory cultural mapping, risk and vulnerability analysis, Asian studies and international affairs.

Liz Gillroy

Liz Gillroy is Regional Museum Curator at the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Researcher and Cataloguer for the Council and for Timbertown collections. She was Assistant Curator of Social History at the Powerhouse Museum from 1984 until 1986; an active member of the Board of the then Museums Australia NSW branch; and the inaugural Curator at the Newcastle Regional Museum from 1986 until 1988. Following the convict trail, she then relocated to Port Macquarie where she worked outside the museum sector in administration and environmental education.

Phil Gordon

Phil Gordon has worked at the Australian Museum since 1980. He advises Aboriginal communities on issues such as Aboriginal Museum outreach and repatriation of Aboriginal human remains and other significant cultural property as well as providing advice for various government agencies on cultural heritage issues and policy development. He plays an important role in working with cultural centres and keeping places in setting up and planning, as well as advising on ongoing training needs.

Michael M Gore AM

Adjunct Professor Mike Gore retired as the foundation director of Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre – in 1999 and took up a position the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University. His special interest is science communication.

Des Griffin AM

Des Griffin is currently Gerard Krefft Memorial Fellow, Australian Museum, an honorary position commemorating one of the early directors of the Museum. Des retired in September 1998 after 22 years as Director of the Australian Museum. Prior to that he was a Senior Research Scientist at the Museum conducting research on marine science, particularly the biology of Crustacea.

Des has published more than 30 papers on management, leadership and policy in museums and on the return of cultural property. He has been involved in reviews of science and of museums including their programming and management and served on numerous committees and many semi-government or government advisory bodies concerning science and museum policy in Australia.

Des was instrumental in the development of 'Previous Possessions, New Obligations', a policy on museums in Australia and Indigenous peoples, for the Council of Australian Museums Inc (CAMA) and Museums Australia.

Janette Griffin

Janette Griffin has been a Senior Lecturer in Science Education and Learning Beyond the Classroom at the University of Technology Sydney and is now a consultant. She has taught students from K to 12 in formal and informal settings including the Australian Museum and the New South Wales CSIRO science education centre. Her research and publications investigate ideal conditions for integrated school/museum learning and the complementary roles of teachers and museum educators. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

Martin Hallett

Martin Hallett is Senior Arts Officer at Arts Victoria where he facilitates collaborative digital projects including Culture Victoria, a project helping metro-regional organisations to create online content about their cultural collections. Previously, he worked as a curator, manager and Deputy CEO at Museum Victoria.

Tim Hart

Tim Hart is Director, Information Multimedia and Technology, Museum Victoria. He has worked in museums for the past 21 years, in collection management, policy development, project management, information technology, multimedia and as part of senior management. He is committed to working towards increasing the integration of multimedia/interactivity in museum exhibitions and websites in order to fully utilise the opportunities now available using digital media techniques and emerging technologies.

Douglass F Hoese

Dr Doug Hoese joined the Australian Museum 1971. He worked as a research scientist and manager, becoming Head of Science in 1999. He has published 84 scientific and popular articles, dealing with the systematics and ecology of shore fishes of the world. His research interests are the systematics and general ecology of shore fishes of the Indo-Pacific. He was chair of the Council of Heads of Australian Faunal Collections when Online Collections of Australian Museums was established. He served on a number of whole of government committees on biodiversity and data management and various other database committees in Australia. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Australian Museum.

Joanne Hyland

Joanne Hyland has worked for the Western Australian Museum since 2006 following her experience volunteering on the museum's major collection relocation project during 2004. Joanne had previously been employed in various education-related roles and currently works as a Museum Extension Officer for the Western Australian Museum Development Service. This role includes providing advice and assistance on museum and collection management and interpretation to collecting groups throughout Western Australia. Joanne has been a member of the National Standards Taskforce since 2007, contributing to the online publication National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries. Joanne achieved first class honours in History at the University of Western Australia in 2009, and has a BA degree with a double major in Geography and History completed at Curtin University in 2003. Joanne has interests in History, Conservation and Environment, Archaeology, Museology, Cultural Heritage, Genealogy and Literature.

Amanda James

Amanda James is currently Senior Community History Officer at History SA. In this role she develops and manages projects and programs for South Australia's community history network and works with this network to tell the stories of their communities, manage historical collections and make their history and collections accessible. Amanda has been working in community history for many years, both for History SA and prior to that for several community museums in South Australia.

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is Director of the South Australian Maritime Museum. He has been President of the Australian Maritime Museum's Council for the past three years, is a member of the Steering Committee for the Australian Register of Historic Vessels and a member of the South Australian Heritage Council's Maritime Heritage Working Party.

Kevin previously worked at the Australian National Maritime Museum where he filled several curatorial roles including working on the opening exhibitions and managing the collecting areas of immigration, working life and commercial history. He studied Museum Studies at the University of Sydney and history at the Australian National University.

Lynda Kelly

Dr Lynda Kelly is Head of Audience Research, Australian Museum. Her interests include audiences, evaluation, museum learning and how to measure it, social media and Web 2.0, organisational change and development. She has worked in the human relations, education and executive management areas of the Australian Museum and contributed to numerous public exhibition programs.

Anne Kirker

Anne Kirker is an independent art consultant, curator and writer. She was Senior Curator (Special Projects) at the Queensland Art Gallery from 2001 until 2006 before which she held the position of Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs from 1988 to 2001. Previously she held similar curatorial positions in Auckland and Wellington.

Jan Lyall

Jan Lyall chairs the Australian UNESCO Memory of the World Program Committee, which she established in 2000. She is a former commissioner on the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and past head of Preservation Services, National Library of Australia (NLA) and former Assistant Director-General, responsible for the NLA's cultural and educational services. She was a member of the Conservation Working Party of the Heritage Collections Council of Australia and was in charge of preparing the first set of guidelines for the UNESCO International Memory of the World Program.

In 1997 she was awarded a Commonwealth Public Service Medal in recognition of her long-standing involvement with and contribution to national and international library preservation. At the conclusion of the third UNESCO Memory of the World conference in 2008 she was awarded the UNESCO Marie Curie Silver Medal in recognition of her services to the work of archives and libraries in Australia, particularly in the area of preservation and documentary heritage.

Laura Miles

Laura Miles is the Executive Director of Museums Australia (Victorian branch), working in a team of 12 to support over 700 museums in the state. On behalf of Museums Australia, Laura co-chaired the 2010 National Conference. Laura also sits on a number of boards in the cultural, education and science sectors and has contributed to various publications including The Hands On Guide To Science Communication (2007).

Originally from the UK, a lifelong passion for museums dates back to winning a trip to the London Butterfly House aged 5 and a MSc dissertation on museum websites in 2005. She co-founded, the multilingual European arts and science news service, voted one of the ‘100 most useful websites’ by The Guardian in 2006. Laura became a Chartered Director in 2008 and an alumna of the Cranlana Foundation, a group of ethical business leaders in 2010.

Bernice Murphy

Bernice Murphy was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1979–1983; then Curator, Chief Curator, and finally Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1984–2008). She served nine years (six as Vice-President) on the International Council of Museums/ICOM, Paris (1995–2004). She is currently National Director, Museums Australia (Canberra) and has chaired the Ethics Committee of ICOM, Paris (since 2005). She has published since the 1970s on exhibitions, art museums and contemporary art (including Indigenous art), and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Australian National University on the art museum profession in Australia from the 1940s to the 1980s. Her awards include: the Australia Council’s Visual Arts/Craft Emeritus Medal, 1999; Doctor of Letters (Hon.causa) University of New South Wales, 2004; and ICOM Australia Award for International Relations (2009).

Leon Paroissien AM

Leon Paroissien is Chair of Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design. He was the Founding Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. He has been active in professional museum organisations in Australia and abroad for over three decades and has recently contributed essays on museum governance and museum architecture to international publications.

Colin Pearson, AO, MBE

Colin Pearson studied at the University of Manchester from 1962–66, completing a Bachelors degree, a Masters and PhD in Corrosion Science. In 1967 he commenced a three-year contract as a Research Scientist, Materials Research Laboratories, Melbourne. During this time Colin undertook the conservation of iron cannon and ballast jettisoned by Lieutenant James Cook from the Endeavour in 1770 and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1970 for his contribution to corrosion science.

In 1971 he set up the Conservation Department of the Western Australian Museum in Fremantle, specialising in the treatment of maritime archaeological material from Dutch and colonial shipwrecks on the West Australian coast. He continued this work for seven years, before joining the Canberra College of Advanced Education to establish a conservation training program. The first in Australia, the program offered courses at Bachelors, Masters and PhD levels.

Colin stayed with the CCAE (later the University of Canberra) for 25 years and, in 1994, was appointed Professor of Cultural Heritage Conservation. In the same year he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for contribution to heritage conservation. He resigned from the University of Canberra in 2002 and was appointed Emeritus Professor. He is currently a heritage conservation consultant.

Michael Pickering

Michael Pickering is currently the Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program with the National Museum of Australia. Following an Honours degree from La Trobe University he worked for the Western Australian Aboriginal Sites Department for two years as an archaeologist. He then completed a Bachelor of Letters at the Australian National University whilst working as a consultant archaeologist and anthropologist. He went on to work as an anthropologist for the Central Land Council and then the Northern Land Council. He was the Regional Officer for the Central Australian region of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority in the Northern Territory while completing his PhD at La Trobe University. He worked as a Research Officer on Native Title for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and then as Head Curator for the Indigenous Cultures program of Museum Victoria. He moved to the National Museum of Australia first as the Director of the Repatriation Program, also taking on the role of Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program.

He has a wide range of research interests and has published over 40 articles on topics including political cartoons, material culture, cannibalism, settlement patterns, exhibition, ethics and repatriation. Examples of recent key publications include 'Dance through the minefield. The development of practical ethics for repatriation' (in J Marstine (ed.), Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics, 2011) and 'Despatches from the front line? Museum experiences in applied Repatriation' (in P Turnbull, P and M Pickering (eds), The Long Way Home: The Meaning and Values of Repatriation, 2010).

Michael Pickering is a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. He was a member of the Collections Council of Australia expert panel on repatriation and of an ethics panel convened by the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. He has twice received an Australian Public Service Australia Day Achievement medal.

Barbara Piscitelli AM

Dr Barbara Piscitelli is a member of the Board of Directors of the Queensland Museum and a former member of the Collections Council of Australia, and Chair of the National Review of Visual Education. She has undertaken extensive research into children's learning in museums, and has published widely on children's understanding of arts and culture. Currently, she is Visiting Scholar at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Margaret Rich OAM

Margaret Rich was Director of The Art Gallery of Ballarat from 1980 to 2003 and the Director of Geelong Gallery from 1975 to 1980. As the Director of The Art Gallery of Ballarat she oversaw two major building extensions, quadrupling the size of the gallery.

In 1999 she was awarded an OAM in the Order of Australia for services to the visual arts in regional Victoria and in 2002 received the Victoria Day Award for the Arts. She has served on various visual arts committees and boards at federal, state and local levels. She was a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Portrait Gallery and served on the UNESCO National Committee in 1985–86.

She curated many special exhibitions of Australian art including two of the four exhibitions for 'The Face of Australia', the Bicentennial exhibition featuring regional collections (1988–89).

Robyn Sloggett

Robyn Sloggett is Director and Grimwade Chief Conservator of the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne. The Centre delivers Victoria’s largest commercial conservation program, which includes programs in art, archive and artefact conservation services, and conservation management and art authentication programs. Robyn has qualifications in Art History, Philosophy and Applied Science (Cultural Materials Conservation). She is Chair of Arts Victoria's Indemnification Committee, a member of the Collections Committee of the Library Board of the State Library of Victoria, an Expert Assessor under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act, and a member of the Australian Commercial Galleries Association Forgery Focus Group. At the University of Melbourne she is a member of the Cultural Collections Advisory Group, Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry & Biotechnology, and a member of the Centre for Accounting & Industry Partnerships Advisory Board. In 2003 she was awarded the AICCM Conservator of the Year Award for Services to the Conservation Profession.

Peter Stanley

Dr Peter Stanley was appointed Head of the Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia in 2007. He is best known as a military social historian and was principal historian at the Australian War Memorial for 20 years. He developed or curated many temporary and permanent exhibitions, and is interested in material culture as a source in historical interpretation.

Peter's publications include Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy and Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli. He has also written extensively on British imperial history, through The Remote Garrison and White Mutiny, and on medical history in For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790–1850. Peter has made many contributions to historical interpretation in print and broadcast media, including the recent television series Revealing Gallipoli, Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery, Monash and the 2008 Four Corners program 'The Great History War'.

In 2008 Peter published Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942, and A Stout Pair of Boots, a book explaining how to get the most out of battlefield research. In 2009 he published another two works: Men of Mont St Quentin and Commando to Colditz. His most recent book, Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Great War was published in 2010. Peter's current project for the National Museum is writing 'Black Saturday at Steels Creek', a short account of the experience of the 2009 bushfires in a small Victorian community.

John E Stanton

Dr John Stanton has a PhD in Anthropology and, since his appointment as Curator (now Director) of the Berndt Museum of Anthropology in 1980, has had extensive experience and involvement in Aboriginal arts. He has collaborated in several publications with RM and CH Berndt and has maintained ongoing research programs in the Kimberley and Western Desert regions of north-west Western Australia and the south-west of the state. These have focused on assisting Aboriginal communities to establish local keeping places and cultural centres. Initiated at the request of local communities, these projects have involved the training of Aboriginal people in curatorial and exhibition techniques, oral history recording and other museological practices. Complementing the Berndt Museum's focus on contemporary arts, the projects are central to its outreach program to Western Australian Aboriginal communities.

John Stanton delivers a course titled 'Aboriginal art: production of meaning' for the discipline of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Western Australia. He has also mounted a number of exhibitions which were accompanied by published catalogues and monographs, including Aboriginal Artists of the South-West: Past and Present (2000) and On Track: Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Western Australia (2004).

Susan M Stocklmayer AM

Associate Professor Susan M Stocklmayer is the Director of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University. The Centre offers a full graduate and undergraduate program in Science Communication, and conducts outreach across Australia and internationally in partnership with Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre.

Tim Sullivan

Tim is the Deputy CEO and Museums Director at the Sovereign Hill Museums Association, Ballarat, Victoria. In that role, he is responsible for the development of Sovereign Hill Outdoor Museum, the Gold Museum and the delivery of environmental education programs at Narmbool. He graduated from the University of Sydney where he studied history, English literature and education, and has qualifications in geological cartography and in management with a focus on museum development from the University of Technology, Sydney.

His career has encompassed technical and managerial roles in the Geological Survey of New South Wales, the New South Wales Department of Mineral Resources, the Australian Museum, and Sovereign Hill. In 1999–2000, he was a Visiting Fellow with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

He is a member of Ballarat City Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee, a Senior Visiting Fellow of the University of Ballarat and a member of the Museums Board of Victoria. He has served on a diverse range of committees promoting regional research and development, commemorative projects, education initiatives and museum development.

Viv Szekeres

Viv Szekeres worked at the Migration Museum in Adelaide, South Australia, firstly as a curator (1983–1986) and then as Director (1987–2008). She has a Montessori Teaching Diploma London 1966, BA Hons History from the University of Adelaide 1976 and BA Education, University of South Australia 1980. Throughout her museum career Viv was an active member of Museums Australia and served on several arts and museums committees and task groups both in South Australia and federally.

Daniel Thomas AM

Daniel Thomas was born 1931 in Tasmania and graduated in Modern History at Oxford in 1956. At the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney in 1958 he was that museum's first curator and by 1978 had become Senior Curator and Curator of Australian Art. He was the inaugural Senior Curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra from 1978 to 1984. Finally, he was the Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide from 1984 to 1990. In 1986 he was awarded an AM in the Order of Australia.

Daniel Thomas headed and acted as office-bearer on various professional associations for art history, art museums and cultural heritage. He was a member of the federal arts-policy agency the Australia Council and its Visual Arts Board, an inaugural board member of the National Portrait Gallery, and of the Heritage Collections Committee of the Commonwealth Department of the Arts. He has curated many special exhibitions, notably of nineteenth-century Australian art, twentieth-century Modernism and contemporary art, and of an official cultural-exchange exhibition The Australian Landscape 1802–1975, shown in 1975 in Beijing and Nanjing. In 1978 he was commissioner for the Australian exhibit at the international Venice Biennale of contemporary art, and in 1984 he edited and contributed an essay to a John Kaldor exhibition book An Australian Accent: Mike Parr, Imants Tillers, Ken Unsworth, shown in New York and Washington. He has written many essays for art exhibitions, articles for art journals, and books, published in Australia, Europe and the United States. Now retired to the Tasmanian Riviera, he still writes occasionally on Australian art.

Deborah Tranter

Deborah Tranter is the Director of the Cobb+Co Museum in Toowoomba and Director Queensland Museum Regional Services which is responsible for delivery of museum services across Queensland. She is the author of Cobb & Co. Coaching in Queensland and Cobb & Co. in Japan. As part of her PhD thesis she completed a major study to ascertain the public value of the Queensland Museum. She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2000 for her contribution to cultural heritage and cultural tourism in regional Queensland.

Caroline Turner AM FRSA

Caroline Turner is a Senior Research Fellow, Research School of Humanities and the Arts, Australian National University. Previously, as Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery, she curated many international exhibitions, including Matisse (1995). She was co-founder and Project Director for nearly ten years for the Asia-Pacific Triennial exhibitions (1993, 1996, 1999). She has written extensively on art and museums, as well as lecturing on these subjects internationally.

Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh worked for the History Trust of South Australia from 1985 until 2008, initially as a collections and exhibitions curator at the Trust’s Migration Museum, and then as Manager of the Community History Unit, which delivered public programs for South Australia’s community museums network and history practitioners. From 2005 to 2008 Kate was a member of the Museums Australia National Taskforce responsible for the web-based publication, National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries. Kate currently works as a museums consultant and is also a member of the Professional Historians Association (SA Branch).

Kimberley Webber

Dr Kimberley Webber is the Principal Curator, Collections and Access at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum. She has a particular interest in the history of museums in Australia and, with Professor Graeme Davison, edited the 125th anniversary history of the Powerhouse, Yesterday's Tomorrows.

Kylie Winkworth

Kylie Winkworth is a museum and heritage consultant and occasional advocate for regional collections. Her current work is focused on museum renewal and sustainability.

She began her museum career at the Powerhouse Museum, working with the textile and costume collections and domestic history. Since going freelance in 1987 she has worked with museums and heritage sites around Australia on exhibitions, site interpretation, collection assessments and strategic planning. Her publications include Significance 2.0, co-authored with Roslyn Russell. She has an interest in heritage and museum policy and has served on many boards and committees, including the National Cultural Heritage Committee. She was a director of the now defunct Collections Council of Australia, a trustee of the Powerhouse Museum and a member of the NSW Arts Advisory Council.


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Cite as: Des Griffin and Leon Paroissien (eds), 2011, Understanding Museums: Australian Museums
and Museology
, National Museum of Australia, 2011, published online at ISBN 978-1-876944-92-6