Motat director set to take museum interactive
With a new man at the helm the wheels of change are gaining traction at Motat.
As its 50th anniversary approaches next year the museum is considering a number of major plans to drive its future.
The first is a 20 to 30-year Master Plan for its physical layout.
‘‘Every single building here is coming to its design life end,’’ director Michael Frawley says.
‘‘It’s about looking at all of our buildings with the realisation that we need more space and we need better display space.
‘‘When you look at the museum it is a higgledy piggledy mix of buildings.
‘‘It literally developed with no methodical plan of where to put buildings, and no plan of what to do to replace them.
‘‘We’ve gone back to square one. There was an attempt to do this back in 2003. It was very ambitious in the sense of the size of buildings, but it was never implemented.
There is no indication yet as to what the still-to-bedesigned Master Plan would cost to carry out, but the previous one carried a price tag of $43 million.
‘‘We can’t afford that. The only way we are going to be able to afford this is to put in some of our own money, borrow some, and also look for sponsorship like naming rights on buildings,’’ Mr Frawley says.
After 21 years in London the former lawyer moved back to New Zealand in 2009.
His reason for heading home was his 9 and 5-yearold daughters.
‘‘I wanted to bring them up in New Zealand. We moved to an historic homestead in the hills overlooking Geraldine. I went from London where I would see thousands of people every day to out in the middle of nowhere where I would see five people a day if I was lucky,’’ he says.
His first call of business at Motat when he took over in January was to survey staff and volunteers to see what the state of the museum really was.
‘‘The initial feedback
is that it needs to be more interactive. We need to have the objects we’ve got working and moving and there needs to be more of an interactive experience with the people who work here,’’ he says.
‘‘Out of it there was this general consensus that we could fine tune where the museum has been going over the last 49 years, or we could be really brave and go back and say ‘what should the Motat of the future look like’?, and completely change tack. That’s where the unanimous vote was, let’s change direction.’’
The survey will help shape a strategic plan that will decide what visitors see at the museum.
Staff and volunteers will be asked to vote on the strategy in July.
Mr Frawley’s predecessor Jeremy Hubbard stepped down when his contract expired in August.
His departure was surrounded by hints of friction between management and volunteers.
‘‘The museum has a bad history of things exploding out into the public arena and we’d like to draw a line under that and refocus where the museum is going,’’ Mr Frawley says.
He says communication is one of the key things management is working to improve.
‘‘There is a lot happening – watch this space,’’ he says.
Lots happening: Motat director Michael Frawley is looking to the future ahead of the museum’s 50th anniversary.