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8 August, 2022

EnCounter Gil Museum

In an effort for more people to encounter Gilgandra Museum, an Orana Arts program is set to work with the museum in coming months.

By Emily Middleton

The enCounter program is a module of Orana Arts’ VAMP (Volunteers, Artists, Museums, Program) strategy that links the creative community to local museums to increase engagement, vitality, and resilience in the sector.

Curator Fiona MacDonald recently visited Gilgandra Museum to get a sense of what outcome is desired by museum volunteers.

“What we hope to do is establish what this museum would like to achieve, and then advertise for artists to see if they would like to come work with the museum to develop a project,” explained Ms MacDonald.

“There’s absolutely no parameters yet. It’s basically what might float to the surface. We’ve put out an expression of interest, and I’m here today to talk to the volunteers to work out what they’d like to achieve out of the project, not so much what artist, but what they image would be an outcome.”

Ms MacDonald was overwhelmed with the size of the Gilgandra Museum collection, and is very excited to see what the chosen artist will come up with.

“I’m having a bit of a brain explosion at the moment, this museum is fantastic, I think there’s so many artists around to come and do something here.”

The collection wouldn’t necessarily be touched, instead the artist may choose to create a response to what is already there.

“It may not even be something that is a permanent installation, it might be a performance on a particular day where you bring people etc. But I’m not trying to narrow down ideas,” said Ms MacDonald.

EnCounter is a fairly new program, that’s designed to work with volunteer museums and heritage places.

“We all know that they do a lot of work, and it’s a struggle. Plus it’s mostly an aging volunteer workforce. This is another way to bring in a new audience, and possibly new people interested in volunteering, as well as engaging in museums in ways that interprets their collection in a slightly different way to appeal to a younger audience.”

The program has only been running for a year, and has already found success at Gulgong’s Henry Lawson Centre.

An Orana Arts spokesperson has said that the project will see an injection of funds into the region, and increase the museum’s offering to visitors and community

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