At its AGM alongside the Museums Australia national conference in May 2013, the Museums Australia Education National Network (MAENN) elected a new committee. It also extended thanks to the previous committee and particularly to David Arnold, for his contribution as President over many years.
In doing this, the group considered a long-term strategy to move the executive committee roles to a different state or territory every few years – in order to share the load, but principally to share ownership of the network and allow for new ideas.
The new executive is:
- President: Andrew Hiskens, Manager, Learning Services Division at the State Library of
- Vice President: Angela Casey, Educator, at the National Museum of Australia
- Treasurer: Peter Hoban, Education Team Leader (and Placed Teacher with the Catholic Education Office) at Sovereign Hill
- Secretary: Christine Healey, Education Manager at Heide Museum of Modern Art
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 about and workshopped some strategies, in November 2013 the committee decided on the following actions:
- Branding – MAENN would now be called Museums Australia Education (MAE)
- Communication – it was decided
o 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’
o to expand this into social media, setting up a Facebook page, LinkedIn Group, Google+ and a Twitter account
o MAE Newsletters and President’s Reports 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
o to have a drive for website subscribers and social media members in February/March 2014.
- Professional Development – it was decided
o 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
o that the first online PD for the year would be Constructivism in Australian Museums an Interview with Dr. Louise Zarmati – in March 2014
o that 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
o to run a pre-conference day – MAE Day – on Friday 16 May, immediately before the Museums Australia Conference in Launceston.
- 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.
From the outside, Museums Australia Education may have seemed a bit quiet over the second half of 2013. But there was much planning and work by the committee, building the various initiatives outlined above.
I am very grateful to the entire committee, but particularly to our Treasurer – Peter Hoban, our Secretary and social media manager – Christine Healey, and our Tasmanian Representative, Tamas Oszvalds, who is helping us develop the MAE Day pre-conference event.
Museums Australia Education (MAE)
17 April, 2014