Hamilton City Council to consider re-branding Waikato Museum

Re-designing Waikato Museum's Victoria Street entranceway is one of a list of actions included in the museum's new ...
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Re-designing Waikato Museum's Victoria Street entranceway is one of a list of actions included in the museum's new strategic plan.

Waikato Museum is about to get an image makeover which could see "museum" dropped from its name.

​City councillors debated the merits of the museum's new strategic plan on Tuesday following two months of public engagement.

The full council is expected to adopt the plan on March 31.

High on the plan's action list is a name change and branding exercise for the museum.

The 16-page document said the name "museum" doesn't capture the diversity of the venue's collections or the role it plays in the arts community.

The new name should reflect the museum's diverse collections and exhibitions and create an identity the public can relate to, the document said.

Elected members will receive a briefing on the museum re-branding in June.

The strategic plan is silent on possible costs associated with a name change.

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker​ said she looked forward to the briefing and believed the museum's new strategic plan was timely.

It had been 12 years since the museum last assessed its strategic vision.

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"Twelve years ago we didn't have social media or interactive art exhibitions," Hardaker said.

"There was a lot of talk in the community about had it [museum] lost its way and were we actually delivering. What's been very interesting in this journey is we've got it right and that we've got the mix right."

The museum consistently scores high in customer satisfaction rating surveys and achieved an 84 per cent satisfaction rating in 2014/15.

Visitor numbers, however, have remained stagnant over the past five years.

Councillor Martin Gallagher supported a rebranding of the museum and commended initiatives to better connect the venue to the Waikato River and Victoria Street.

Among the actions listed in the museum's strategic plan is a proposal to re-design the venue's Victoria Street entrance and open the site to the riverbank paths.

Gallagher said the council needed to give careful consideration to developing land behind the neighbouring ArtsPost.

"Cause if we get that wrong, as a development, it could be an absolute crusher-breaker of this amazing museum. And if we get it right, it could be an incredible, appropriate enhancement," he said.

Thirty responses were received on the museum's strategic plan, including a submission from the Exscite Trust.

The trust manages the interactive science centre which is housed in the museum.

Trust chairman Graham Jamieson, speaking at Tuesday's council meeting, said the museum's strategic plan was short on specifics and gave no details on expected income or expenditure.

Jamieson said it was unclear from reading the plan whether the museum intended to continue operating Exscite.

The trust has made a legal claim against the city council regarding the past operations of Exscite.

"By agreement this is currently parked pending the outcome of the strategic plan review and the trust is working on this issue with council staff," he said.

Speaking after the meeting, Jamieson said the trust would not make any public comments about its legal claim while it was in discussions with the council.

 

 

 

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 - Stuff

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