Peter Entwisle is perfectly right: “The Dunedin institution is here and is a window on the history of Otago.”
### ODT Online Mon, 7 Jan 2013
Opinion | Art Beat
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
By Peter Entwisle
The redevelopment of what used to be called the Otago Settlers Museum is undoubtedly a great success. But there are concerning issues surrounding it which need some careful thought.
Readers may remember I did not support the name change to include ”Toitu”. At a practical level it obscures the path to resources in publications using the old name. It was also a public relations ”own goal” because the opinion poll conducted by the museum showed overwhelming opposition, which was then blithely ignored. It thus became an issue for the city council, decided on the mayor’s casting vote. It is an odd use of the casting vote, which conventionally favours the status quo. In explanation Mayor Dave Cull said the institution was now a new museum and so a new name was appropriate.
“With respect, it is not a new museum, being on the same site and with the same collections, but an existing one expanded, physically. But the change of name and other things suggest it is changing its focus.”
I was on a tour of the premises shortly before their opening when director Linda Wigley addressed the group. When it came to question time I asked if the museum was not losing its focus on wider Otago. She acknowledged it was focusing more on Dunedin and I asked why that was and if it was a good thing. She said that as history museums had sprung up in other parts of Otago, she thought her institution should avoid poaching on their ground.
This has at best limited merit.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr