President’s Message


At its AGM alongside the Museums Australia national conference in May last year, the Museums Australia Education National Network (MAENN) elected a new committee.

One of the things the new committee inherited from its predecessor was a recent-ish member survey which highlighted three main issues:

  • Brand – many respondents did not understand what MAENN was
  • Communication – especially the need to ensure that information gets to the people who need/value it (77% of respondents said that they did not receive MAENN info from their manager), and
  • Professional Development – the need to provide National workshops or presentations on a regular basis, experimenting with different media/portals/software. Face to face PD was also highlighted.
This was a really helpful start for the new committee – a challenge, certainly, but the survey provided a very clear sense of direction and purpose.

Having thought this through a bit and workshopped some strategies, in November the committee decided on the following actions:

  • Branding – MAENN would now be called Museums Australia Education (MAE)
  • Communication – it was decided
    • to set up a new MAE website  on WordPress, to allow anyone interested to subscribe for automatic email updates, thereby avoiding communications being held up by ‘gatekeepers’ (This site is now live – although still in development.)
    • to expand this into social media, setting up a Facebook page, LinkedIn Group, Google+ and a Twitter account (links can be found on the website, the Twitter handle is @MA_Education)
    • MAE Newsletters and President’s Reports (such as this one) will still be emailed to MAE members, but will also be replicated on the MAE website and alerts sent out via social media, as a kind of ‘belt and braces’ communication
    • to have a drive for website subscribers and social media members in February/March 2014.
  • Professional Development
    • it was decided to use Google Hangouts, which offer functionalities such as streaming live online panel discussions and then publishing the captured video to YouTube and also embedding this in the website – allowing us to build up a library of PD resources over time
    • Unfamiliar with Hangouts? Click this link to learn how to join MAE Google+ Hangouts
    • the first online PD for the year is Constructivism in Australian Museums an Interview with Dr. Louise Zarmati – Thursday 27th March 2014, 4.00pm to 5.00pm (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) – online via Google Hangout, Free.
    • Future sessions may include a discussion about how to set up a local state MAE group (for those states/territories without one), learning in Art Museums and a session on early years
    • To run a pre-conference day – MAE Day – on Friday 16 May, immediately before the Museums Australia Conference in Launceston. More information and booking details can be found on the MAE website (Note places are limited, so book early)
    • MAE is also actively working to encourage state and territory groups to run their own face to face PD sessions. Victoria and the ACT have active groups and NSW has run some recent programs and Queensland is planning a number of upcoming sessions.
So, while Museums Australia Education may have seemed a bit quiet over the second half of 2013, there was much planning and work by the committee, building the various new initiatives outlined above. I am very grateful to the entire committee, but particularly to:
  • our Treasurer, Peter Hoban, who has taken the lead on a number of these discussions and developments
  • our Secretary and social media manager, Christine Healey, who has done an amazing job devising and populating the new website and setting up the various social media accounts and online booking facilities, and
  • our Tasmanian Representative, Tamas Oszvalds, who, as our ‘person on the ground’ in Launceston, is helping us work out the program and logistics for the MAE Day event on 16 May.
And finally…
Can you please
  • FORWARD THIS COMMUNICATION to any museums education staff within your organisation or more broadly who you think may be interested in Museums Australia Education, its program, and sharing information within a museums education community of practice, and
  • Visit the MAE website, subscribe and follow MAE on social media
  • If you are interested, book in for the Google+ Hangout with Louise Zarmati and/or the MAE Day pre-conference day.
This will help us reach a critical mass of engaged museum educators, and have an impact on both our professional practice and, ultimately, the quality of our communities’ enjoyment and learning within our institutions…

Thank you!

Andrew Hiskens
President, Museums Australia Education


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s