Museum boss leaving

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Departing Ashburton Museum director Dr Tanya Robinson.

By Mick Jensen

Ashburton Museum director Dr Tanya Robinson is departing after four years in the role.

The former Hawkes Bay native is moving to Australia to join her husband, who has an increasing workload in the country.

She finishes tomorrow.

Dr Robinson started at the museum a year after the new art gallery and heritage centre building on West Street opened.

She said she had enjoyed the challenges of her job and would miss her “amazing” staff and dedicated team of volunteers.

With her team, she had been able to achieve a number of key goals that included raising the profile of the museum both locally and nationally, and the presentation of innovative programmes and exhibitions.

Dr Robinson said the attendance at the museum had grown hugely over the last four years, exceeding key performance indicators for visitor numbers and quadrupling the number of programmes it ran.

The museum had one of the biggest collections of photographs in the South Island, with over six million, and some 20,000 objects.

She said there was a big responsibility to manage the collection on behalf of owners and the ratepayers and although there was still work to be done on inventory, good progress had been made.

There were around 1000 research requests a year, which also kept staff busy.

said there had been many exhibition highlights for her in the past 48 months.

The New Faces, News Lives exhibition had been one of her first big projects and had been a great way to engage with the locals.

Other favourites included the recent Topp Twins display and Sounds Like Us, which featured a snapshot of New Zealand radio history and saw the public create hundreds of their own craft radios.

Ashburton Feels Like Home, and Snap, a glass plate photo negative exhibition featuring historic local faces, had both received very positive feedback.

Dr Robinson said adding the Murney Family Room to the museum’s exhibition space had been a very positive step forward, and that space continued to be a real asset.

The museum’s Adventurers Club was very popular with families and children and was a great way to connect with the community.

Dr Robinson said she was passionate about how museums connected with the community and was sad to be leaving her thriving and strong team.

“I do intend to keep a keen eye on the progress of the museum and its exhibitions from Australia.”