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Te Papa commissions two reviews into care of its collections

News from Te Papa
Te Papa will take additional time to consider the best way to deliver its collections care function, including undertaking an independent review into the care of its natural history collections.

This follows feedback that further consideration is needed before decisions can be made on how best to deliver the vital function of caring for New Zealand’s national collections.

The museum will proceed with bringing its Collection Managers and Conservators into a single collections care team.

The museum will work closely with these staff in the coming weeks to define comprehensive new standards of collection care, clarify roles and accountabilities, and benchmark Te Papa against other museums.

In parallel with this process, an international expert review commissioned by Te Papa’s Board will be conducted by global museum collection specialists.

Te Papa Chief Executive Geraint Martin said the museum had listened to feedback, and was committed to ensuring the right decisions are made.

“We undertook consultation, we’ve listened to what our people had to say, and that is now informing our next steps. We know we need to modernise our approach, and we are committed to doing that, without compromising care of the collections,” says Mr Martin.

Mr Martin said he looked forward to carrying the process forward with staff.

In parallel with this internal process, an independent review commissioned by Te Papa’s Board will look at the care of Te Papa’s natural history collections.

It will be conducted by international museum collections specialists and is expected to be concluded in October. The international panel will consider what are the optimum standards, protocols and levels of care to ensure the health of Te Papa’s natural history collections for the long-term.

Board Chairman Evan Williams said the Te Papa Board was absolutely committed to ensuring Te Papa can meet its legislative mandate to care for the collections in perpetuity.

“We have heard the concerns that have been raised around the care of science collections, and we are responding to them by seeking credible, independent and expert advice,” says Evan Williams.

Mr Williams said Te Papa’s Board and leadership would work swiftly to assemble a panel of experts who would consider Te Papa’s approach, with reference to international best practice.

“Te Papa has a unique place in New Zealand’s network of science collections, but the challenges we face are similar to those encountered by museums around the world.”

“By drawing on international expertise as well as the input of our own staff, we can assure ourselves as a Board that the right steps are being taken to ensure the responsible stewardship of these precious specimens.”

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