Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Now it has been resolved it is difficult to see why the 18 month stoush between the Hillary family and the Auckland Museum should ever have happened. There is absolutely nothing in the published details of of the agreement between the two parties that could not have been resolved over a civilized cup of coffee and a deep breath or two.
Sir Edmund left his papers and other personal materials to the museum with the proviso that his two children could have some control over access to them and publishing rights for twenty years. Absolutely nothing unusual or life threatening there. I have been involved with museums and galleries in various ways for half a century and there is nothing in the published facts of this matter which is any more than a run of the mill set of bequest conditions.
Why did the board and the museums director feel they had to dig in - if the conditions were intolerable or could not be met they could have refused the bequest. Instead they have unnecessarily damaged the reputation of the museum and left a bad taste in the public mouth - no apology yet for the Museum publicist describing public concern as the "screaming public".
The one question that remains unanswered is where was the museum experience on the board - any museum trustee worth their salt should have seen this coming.
Enjoy the YouTube museum lecture above. I am sure there are some clues here.

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