The Faculty of Science at Macquarie University has decided to discontinue the museum studies program by phasing it out over the next two years. 

If you regard professional education and training as a critical issue for the museum sector, this is disturbing news. Although we are in the midst of Australia’s Educational Revolution at a time when national cultural policy is under scrutiny, we are seeing cuts not only to this excellent museum studies program but also to the music department at the Australian National University. What’s going on?

Not only is the program an important stepping stone for current and future museum professionals, it provides mutually beneficial support to museums large and small through internships and projects. The annual tour of regional and community museums exposes students to the great work of smaller museums and galleries in the regions.

The students have set up a Save Museum Studies at Macquarie Group on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/367158740007042/ and a #SaveMSMQ hash tag for Twitter posts. Posts mentioning @museumsatmq will also draw attention to the issue. Even though I'm not a Facebook fan, I’ve joined the Facebook group and have contributed personal comments. If you feel the same way as I do, I encourage you to join the group to register your support. Please encourage others to join as well. 

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Comment by Paul Bentley on October 12, 2012 at 11:04

The students at Macquarie University have started a partition calling for the decision by the Academic Senate to rethink its decision to close its museum studies programs. They also urge further options be considered. I encourage others in the museums sector to sign the petition, which can be found at http://www.change.org/petitions/macquarie-university-rethink-the-cl...{%2210151054469612882%22%3A443576515693877}&action_type_map={%2210151054469612882%22%3A%22change-org%3Arecruit%22}&action_ref_map={%2210151054469612882%22%3A%22__zAyiOnjvGT%22}

Comment by sharon peoples on June 12, 2012 at 11:33

This is really short sighted. The museum education program here at ANU is really small and we are all too aware of the cuts here. It has been really disconcerting. However, having just returned on the weekend from a two week museum education exchange with the Smithsonian Institutions in Washington and New York, it seems that museum education is one of the most exciting areas particularly with the rise of the notion of participatory museum. Twenty three museum educators from the national cultural institutions in Canberra gained some interesting insights into the variety and the quality of education programs in the 17 museums under the Smithsonian banner. Admittedly the effects of the efficiency dividend meant that a couple of the institutions here missed out on sending a representative, so we still have to deal with cuts to the sector. I just feel more positive

Comment by Linda Young on May 28, 2012 at 13:44

This is bad, sad news. It reinforces the truth that universities are not agents of social and professional development in the interests of society. They offer courses that can bring in a critical mass of fee-paying students and research income - those are the performance indicators that matter. 

Having been through it myself at the Uni of Canberra in the early 2000s, and luckily and happily found a new position at Deakin, I am very sensitive to the reality of what sustains Museum Studies. Even the moral support of institutions, professional groups and local communities matters not enough.

For what it's worth, cheers to Macquarie's Museum Studies program, to Andrew Simpson, to all graduates and current students - your reputation and achievements speak volumes for the worth of the program, and won't disappear.

Comment by Penelope Jane Edwell (Hyde) on May 28, 2012 at 11:35

Hi Paul,


Thanks for the alert to this issue. I took museum studies at Macquarie, including the tour of regional museums, and find this very disheartening but will certainly pass this onto ex-students and colleagues.

 

Many thanks,


Penny

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