Selecon Sponsor NZ Museums Aotearoa Award for Exhibition Excellence

09 September 2009,

The Nelson Provincial Museum's Manager of Collection Services, Paula Haines-Bellamy, has recently returned from a study trip to Melbourne, Australia. The trip, sponsored by Selecon, was the prize package presented to the Museum as the 2009 recipient of the Museums Aotearoa Award for Exhibition Excellence for Unpicking the Past. The trip gave Paula the opportunity to visit designers and exhibition experts in Melbourne and its many museums, galleries, libraries, historic sites and buildings, to investigate aspects of exhibition and lighting design, collection storage, and public access.

The trip was a very valuable experience in terms of the learning gained from viewing current curatorial practice within a large variety of institutions. In particular the extent to which these institutions are providing access to not only their own collections, but also significant national and international collections through touring exhibitions, to a very large audience within Melbourne.

Right: Paula, after her visit to the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum and the National Sports Museum, on the William Barak Bridge with central Melbourne behind her.

There were many highlights of the trip for Paula. There were several exhibitions on at the Immigration Museum, ScienceWorks; Melbourne Museum and NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) which Paula found really interesting in all areas of exhibition development, design, presentation, use of digital media and public interaction: Journeys of a Lifetime; Ancient Hampi; A Day in Pompeii; Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination; Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire, which included over 200 works in all media; Dressed to Rule: Imperial Robes of China; Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen; John Brack. In talking to exhibition designers as she went through many of these exhibitions it was soon apparent to Paula that there was a strong relationship between Selecon and many of the museums and galleries with the design of exhibitions and lighting systems.

Paula was fascinated by the display and interpretation of objects found during the 2002 redevelopment of a building site in Melbourne's CBD. The exhibition, staged in the foyer of a new office building on Lonsdale Street, tells the history the Little Lon district of Melbourne, an infamous slum and red light district. The exhibition also recounts the story of the archaeological project itself which unearthed over 130,000 artefacts.

Paula would like to thank the staff of the museums and galleries she visited who spent time with her, and thanks also to Selecon, for their support in funding and organizing the trip. The Nelson Provincial Museum would also like to thank Selecon for their generous support of the Museums Aotearoa awards in sponsoring the Exhibition Excellence Award.

Banner: An image from the exhibition Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen at the National Gallery of Victoria. All photos supplied by Paula Haines-Bellamy.