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CSE Lecture Series

2010-2011 CSE Lecture Series


Title: Plugged In, Switched On: Engaging the public with new media and digital technology at the MSU Museum

Dr. Gary Morgan, Director of the MSU Museum

Date:   April 15, 2011
Time:  10:20 am
Room: 1279 Anthony Hall

Museums are ever more using digital technologies to deliver engaging educational products for their audiences, new and old.These digital products are delivered in the museums' galleries and via the world wide web, allowing people to virtually visit the museum for exhibit and collection related experiences. The exploding use of social media and the use of mobile devices is directing museums, like so many organizations, to consider ways in which to market their products, and to connect with audiences via the audiences' own networks.
The MSU Museum has worked with other campus units such as MATRIX to develop innovative collection and heritage database products available on line. Yet the museum's use of digital and media technologies inhouse - as adjuncts to the visitor experience - has been limited by funds and expertise. The current public program of the Museum is incorporating more media and technology, through partnerships with faculty and departments. But there is much more that could be done.
One key role for the MSU Museum is to be a point of engagement for many publics with the best of MSU, especially the research and creative endeavors of MSU faculty and students. The opportunity is there for the Museum to showcase new digital developments at MSU, in user-friendly exhibits, for audiences of all ages. This will require new relationships between the MSU Museum and 'non-traditional' MSU departmental partners.

Gary Morgan is Director of the MSU Museum. Arriving to this position in September 2009, he has 30 years of experience in museums, as a researcher/curator, collections manager, and subsequently as senior manager or CEO of large state and national museums in Australia and New Zealand. His professional background is originally in biology, and he practiced as a systematic zoologist for ten years, working with freshwater crayfish, hermit crabs and xanthoid crabs in Australia and the Indo-West Pacific. In addition he carried out faunal surveys and habitat assessment in marine waters around southern, western and northern Australia, with studies in New Guinea and France.

After seven years as Curator of Crustacea at the Western Australian Museum, he became a senior manager in the inaugural management team of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, where he oversaw the curatorial and collections functions, as well as educational and exhibitions staff. At the Australian Museum in Sydney, he was Associate Director, leading the largest research and collections staff of any museum in the country. In 2000, he became Executive Director of the Western Australian Museum, with responsibility for one of the most diverse collections in Australia and multiple public and back-of-house sites. The museum’s research and educational programs spanned natural sciences, anthropology and archaeology, history, and maritime studies.

In 2004, Morgan left the public service to become a heritage and museums consultant. In this capacity, he provided advice on museum practice to museums in Australia, and had a six month appointment to advise the Sharjah Museums Department in its set-up (United Arab Emirates). He spent two years in Malawi, in an aid funded program assisting a nationally significant cultural center and museum, focusing on the traditional cultures of Malawi. He has published over 50 articles in systematic biology and faunal survey, museum studies, and the place of museums in society.

At MSU, Morgan has been establishing new networks across campus and building the museum’s focus on STEM programs, in keeping with MSU priorities.