letter to the editor June 15th 2017

Gallery/Museum Storage

The recent letters regarding Anderson House and its feasibility as a public art gallery warrants some further comment. There are numerous collections housed in historic buildings around the country and around the world. While there are challenges associated with creating museum standard collection storage within such facilities this is frequently mediated by addressing storage either as a separate building e.g. adjacent or alongside historic buildings or offsite. With regard to a proposed inner city art gallery/centre, the provision for collection storage requires careful consideration. The cost associated with housing and maintaining collections long-term requires the assessment of the benefits of collections to publics e.g. how the public will access and use these collections. In summary value is often attributed as inherent to collections however if these are not utilised to tell the communities stories in meaningful ways then value is limited. Museums and galleries need to be clear about this value particularly when pursuing this costly space in, for example, a CBD where the cost of large scale air conditioned space is at a premium. Given the fact that collection storage is an issue for both the Anderson Park Art Gallery group and the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, it appears impractical to be proposing new storage for collections at Queens Park and in the inner city. It is clear that in terms of economic viability and the ongoing funding of these facilities via the public purse, serious consideration should be given to shared off-site storage.