museums of southland

In a Southland Times article dated March 30th 2019, Gore District mayor Tracy Hicks proposes a distributed museum model he refers to as “Museums of Southland”. Hicks questions the current model which sees the story of Southland being centralised at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery located in Queen’s Park in Invercargill city. Given that there are over 40 museums in Southland, most of which are “micro”, it is understandable to suggest that the stories of Southland could be coordinated and distributed across a myriad of local museums where differing communities come together to tell their own stories in their own ways. Hicks states “I would say a Museums of Southland model is the way of the future. I envisage it would deliver space and resources to ensure stories are told locally, and be backed by a regionally resourced storage facility to support museums across the province where and when needed.”[1] Hick’s refers to the benefits of a more collaborative model where cooperation between museums could represent a richer representation of Southland’s stories. He rightly asserts the success of the Southland Regional Heritage Committee which is made up the three Southland local authorities affirming “It gets stuff done and, in my view, gets the big picture of the needs and opportunities that heritage presents across the region.”[2]

Collaboration among the district’s museums to see the formation of a Museums of Southland model has the potential to project a more authentic version of Southland’s histories and peoples. Hicks seems to propose, in summary, there is no singular story that should be prioritised and interpreted by the staff of a centralised institution that is relatively distant from the multitude of micro museums around the district. A distributed network of museums that maintain their autonomy in form, purpose and function, but who are connected by the shared ethos of sharing the stories of Southland could be supported via the Southland Regional Heritage Committee. The DIY Museum represents a similar model in that its projects are not centralised within a singular location or institution. The benefit of the ability to pop-up in a diversity of locations and engage a variety of communities means the museum becomes more embedded as an experience or encounter rather than a singular institution/place sanctioned with the authority to tell the community’s stories on their behalf.  

[1] Hicks, Tracey. “Collaboration could better tell our story.” In The Southland Times, Opinion, Saturday March 30th, 2019.

[2] Ibid.

36 + southland museums

I have, so far, located 36 museums in Southland but I know there are more. Please help by letting me know if you have visited a museum that is not currently listed here. Thank you!

Southland Museums COPY.jpg

seeking visitor host (fixed term) for soled out

Job Description:

Duties and Responsibilities – Visitor Host (fixed-term)

The Visitor Host is responsible for the reception of visitors throughout the duration of the Soled Out exhibition – 16th November 2018 to the 10th February 2019. The Visitor Host will, alongside the Assistant Visitor Host (intern), ensure visitors are provided with an engaging and informative experience. The VH will also participate in the facilitation and implementation of any education/outreach activities and monitor the safety and security of the collection.

Responsibility for managing staff

Direct reports: Intern – Assistant Visitor Host

Financial authority

As per delegated authority

Reports to

Kathryn McCully (Southland Art Society)

·Provide professional and engaging, high level customer service to Soled Out visitors.

·Respond to any enquiries and refer as appropriate in a timely manner both while in gallery and via email, social media and other online platforms.

·Promote Soled Out and its associated retail, education/outreach activities etc. via social media and other online platforms on a regular basis.

·Liaise with media to maximise opportunities for publicity.

·Provide hospitality, entertainment and educational services related to the Soled Out exhibition as required. Liaise with guest speakers, visitor groups (e.g. schools and other organisations that may be interested in a group visit) and ensure events/activities are well attended and managed.

·Ensure space is safe, secure, clean and well presented to visitors at all times. Immediately report any issues associated with the safety and security of the collection.

·Maintain a high level of knowledge about the Soled Out exhibition to facilitate a high level of visitor engagement.

·Document visitor numbers and encourage visitors to undertake short visitor surveys.

·Manage the Assistant Visitor Host. Liaise regarding visitor enquiries, education and outreach activities e.g. group visits, guest talks etc. and any space maintenance and/or security issues.

·Adhere to Health and Safety requirements ensuring the safety of yourself and others. Report any risks or hazards immediately to your supervisor.

·Manage artwork sales as appropriate.

·Ensure technology is fully functional to ensure the best possible visitor experience. Report all faults to supervisor immediately.

Key relationships - internal

·DIY Museum

·Southland Art Society

·Assistant Visitor Host (Intern)

·Classic Motorcycle Mecca Events Operation Manager

 Key relationships – external

·Soled Out visitors

·Soled Out guest speakers/presenters etc.


·Community Groups


 Knowledge, skills & attributes

·Strong, demonstrated customer service skills.

·Interest and passion for engaging visitors with arts and cultural experiences.

·Understanding of the role of popular culture, and in particular sneakers and streetwear, in the repertoire of youth.

·Self-motivation and demonstrated reliability.

·Able to effectively communicate with a diversity of people.

·Responsive to needs of visitors.

·Social media and promotional skills.