Newcastle Museum wins major national award

The Newcastle Museum became the first local government-run museum to be named the grand winner of the National Museums and Galleries Awards.

In a huge blow to the regional museum, the Newcastle Museum was named the most impressive entry among 42 finalists in 16 categories for its 1X4 social history exhibit at the MAGNA Awards. Australian Museums and Galleries Association.

By winning the top prize, Newcastle City Council attractions beat giants like the National Museum of Australia and the National Maritime Museum

It also won the prize for the temporary or traveling exhibition in its budget category.

The 1X4 exhibit features 23 items from Newcastle Museum’s own collection, including a brass locomotive model, pigeon trophy and lace dress. Each element is associated with four different stories, which can be explored via a cell phone or audio tour, as well as a choice of music.

The exhibit, put together by curator David Hampton with a budget of less than $ 20,000, was designed and created locally despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Museum director Julie Baird said the exhibit had generated widespread interest, commenting “IX4 is an innovative and collectively rich social history exhibit and website exploring the multiplicity of stories that every object can tell.” .

Newcastle City Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was one of the most important cultural prizes Newcastle has ever won and was testament to both Baird and Newcastle City staff.

Mayor Nelmes said: “The Newcastle Museum is at the forefront of contemporary museum practice, creating insightful and immersive ways to interpret and preserve our city’s fascinating history.”

Mayor Nelmes also applauded Baird’s recent selection as deputy chairman of the Australian Association of Museums and Galleries National Council, saying his appointment recognizes the importance of local government funded museums in the cultural landscape. .

The exhibition, which closed in Newcastle last month, will now be on tour with three museums adding it to their program of traveling exhibitions.

Her next stop is Randwick City Council’s La Perouse Museum in September.

Local government funded museums in Canada have also been in touch for advice on creating their own version of the concept.

The Newcastle Museum has also won the A Level Program Website Award at the Museums Australasia Multimedia and Publication Awards for excellence in publications and multimedia in the museum sector.

The awards were presented at the recent AMaGA National Conference in Canberra.

Images: Entrance to Newcastle Museum (top) and curator David Hampton, Director of City Wide Services Alissa Jones and Director of Newcastle Museum Julie Baird at MAGNA Awards (bottom).

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