letter to the editor 21.7.16

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/82261663/invercargill-city-council-seeks-legal-opinion-on-anderson-house-health-and-safety

Ascertaining the safety of Anderson House in terms of the daily presence of council employees is a necessary and overdue action. Despite the assertion that the Anderson Park Art Gallery staff are not direct Council appointees, their salaries are funded by the council and there are council representatives on the APAG Board.  Mayor Shadbolt’s statement that the house is not suitable for the purpose of an art gallery will, no doubt, raise some eyebrows. There are, for example, numerous museums and art galleries around the country, and the world for that matter, which are housed in historic buildings. While these may not be purpose-built for the particular functions of an art gallery/museum there are many other benefits that shouldn’t be understated – those who have visited the The Rotorua Museum of Art and History, for example, could likely speak too many of these. Not to mention the fact that the majority of collections held in museums throughout Southland are not held in purpose-built facilities including, arguably, the Southland Museum and Art Gallery’s collection. Anderson House was donated for the purpose of an art gallery and significant expenditure on the facility over 50 years has, like many other museums/galleries housed in historic buildings, seen visitors flock to this significant community attraction. There are challenges associated with historic buildings therefore regardless of what purpose Anderson House is deemed fit for, the building will need to be upgraded and maintained for this purpose.