Improvement on the agenda as DCAS Museum Service gathers for three days
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s (DCAS) Museum Service has gathered in Caledon this week with the aim of improving their offering to the public and ensuring that all affiliated museums follow best practice.
The Museum Symposium started on Monday, with representatives from the 43 museums funded by the DCAS and other departmental support staff in attendance.
Guy Redman, Chief Director for Cultural Affairs at DCAS, chaired proceedings on the second day of the symposium on Tuesday and opened the meeting with a message on the important role of museums in society.
“Youth unemployment is a huge challenge in our country. Many young people who finish school can’t read for meaning. They don’t have the skills that our country needs because of the conditions they face,” he said.
“Some of the youth and the children that come through our museums are experiencing a museum for the first time. Some of them visiting the city museums are coming to the city for the first time. So it’s quite a special experience for them when they come to our museums. We have the unique privilege and opportunity to shape their minds and their perspectives of our country and how they can contribute as responsible citizens.”
Day one of the symposium featured a research, exhibition and programme expo, with a range of speakers involved. On Tuesday, delegates spent the day in meetings and covered a range of issues. Museum representatives were also given an opportunity to highlight the challenges they face.
“As museums we can all agree that the times of inward-looking are gone. We are part of communities, some of which are in distress,” Mr Redman added. “What I’ve noticed in the museums I’ve visited is that all of them have repositioned themselves as community centres, as places where communities can come and feel safe. That makes the communities feel a certain level of ownership, and that is a huge responsibility that we have, because when they lose that sense of ownership, whatever we have to offer loses value.”
Wednesday is the final day of the Museum Symposium.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport works to ensure that museums are well resourced and able to play a role in education. BETTER TOGETHER.