Premier’s review to decide the future of South Australian Museum amid restructuring talks

South Australian Museum’s restructuring plans are put on hold for a Premier’s Review. The move aims to evaluate the museum’s future plans amidst concerns from the community.

The South Australian Museum’s planned restructuring has been put on temporary suspension. A Premier’s Review has been promoted to investigate the viable options for moving forward. These steps follow the Premier and Minister’s meeting with Kim Cheater, Museum Board Chair, and Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive of the Museum. These meetings, along with the preceding discussions involving multiple parties with an interest in the Museum’s proposed changes, have led to this decision.

This latest development has come about because of wholesome community advocacy. The Museum restructuring review will be executed swiftly, and it is anticipated that it will offer strategic recommendations that will guarantee the Museum’s continued delivery of high-quality outcomes for all South Australians.

The Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s Chief Executive, Damien Walker, will chair the review. The remaining panel consists of experienced members such as Professor Craig Simmons, the South Australian Chief Scientist, and Dr Jim Thompson PSM, Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Museum.

Various areas will be focused upon by the panel, such as research functions, contemporary approaches to exhibits and public access, curatorial capabilities, public engagement, the management of collections, repatriation and engagement with First Nations communities regarding their cultural heritage. They will also touch upon how the Museum can offer educational opportunities in line with curriculum and early learning settings.

It is projected that the panel’s recommendations will be delivered to the government by mid-year.

The Opposition’s spread of incorrect information about the Museum’s proposal has been addressed. It is clarified that there are no plans to dispose of the Egyptian Room or the Mammals Gallery. In addition, the Repatriation of Ancestral Remains programme will continue.

Peter Malinauskas has clearly stated that, “The South Australian Museum is a vital institution for our state.” He considers it crucial that the Museum adapts over time, but stressed that these changes should be carried out in a considerate manner to create community confidence. He showed displeasure at the Liberal Opposition’s false claims about the Museum’s future. Evidently, he found it disheartening after they caused significant budget cuts to the Museum themselves.

Andrea Michaels stressed that, “The South Australian Museum is a cultural institution in our state and the review will provide advice to the State Government on the best way forward for a stronger future for the Museum.” She shared similar disappointment over the misinformation spread in the community concerning the Museum’s proposal. She further confirmed that these concerns among community members were a major factor behind their decision to implement the current step.

For full details of this press release, a PDF version can be found here. Should you have any media-related queries, please contact Nick Harmsen at [email protected].

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