MuseumNext Melbourne was our first Australian museum conference. The event which was produced in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and brought together 360 museum professionals for three exciting days.
The theme for the conference was inspired by the values of ACMI which state ‘we enable a culture that embraces creative risk taking, supporting bold ideas and new voices with energy and commitment’. MuseumNext Melbourne focused on the theme of ‘RISK’.
The first day of the conference was our activity day. This gave delegates the opportunity to participate in workshops, visit local museums and enjoy exclusive tours. The day ended with a relaxed social event in a riverside bar.
The second day of the conference opened by paying our respects to the traditional custodian’s of the land on which we were meeting, with moving a Welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Elder Auntie Joy Murphy Wandin.
Our opening keynote was the internationally renowned museum consultant Elaine Heumann Gurian. Elaine challenged delegates to think beyond simplification and embrace complexity, before taking questions from delegates.
The conference theme of risk connected the days other presentations, with an international line up sharing everything from escape rooms in Augusta, Georgia to food and tourism in South Africa, from the latest in audio guide technology from San Francisco to a new Children’s Gallery in the Melbourne Museum.
The day was varied, inspiring and often challenging. The final session of the day was a special look at Virtual Reality with Google and museums from New Zealand and Australia. In it, they asked whether VR was just hype or could actually benefit the museum sector.
The second day of the conference concluded with drinks at ACMI, and the opportunity for delegates to visit the centres galleries.
The final day of the conference opened with what was described as ‘a shot of caffeine’ with Jason Scott, Free Range Archivist & Software Curator from the Internet Archive.
Jason shared his adventures in the challenging world of online copyright and shared a personal view on the challenges that we all face from corporations taking a hard line on copyright, even with things they don’t own.
In one of the most memorable moments in MuseumNext history, Jason also spray pained his face ‘shiny and chrome’ in a Mad Max homage!
With delegates energised by Jason’s opening keynote we settled into another inspiring day, with education, business, Chinese visitors, tech and inclusion all packed into a two stream schedule.
The day concluded with a brutally honest panel discussion in which five museum directors discussed the challenges of their jobs and what keeps them motivated.
With the conference wrapped, delegates headed to the Melbourne Museum for a closing reception in the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery. The conference was followed the next day by Melbourne’s White Night Festival and many delegates stayed in the city to participate in the event.
The Conference received great feedback:
‘Far and away one of the best conferences for the sector I’ve been to.‘
Christopher Salter, Deputy Director, Museum of Brisbane
‘I loved MuseumNext. It had the right combination of edginess, young people, and easy laid back charm.‘
Elaine Heumann Gurian, Museum Consultant
‘This was my third MuseumNext and it could be the best yet’
John Coburn, Tyne & Wear Archive & Museums