STILL A CHANCE TO RE-START and REBUILD,
Context: OTHER MUSEUMS OF PRINTING IN AUSTRALIA|
MMOP is/was the only comprehensive museum of printing (MOP) in Australia. Other MOPs generally focus on the history of printing in their town, perhaps including the early history of typesetting and printing. Printing developments from 1950 onward are not well represented.
Don't leave without seeing the MMOP FLOOR PLANS
at the foot of this page.
Visualise the whole 3000 sq.m Museum, including the Trade-Show Area on the first floor
- it will be the main "general admission" attraction once we get a lift installed.
IF MMOP CAN PAY THE RENT, the Landlord is willing to renew the lease on this ideal location.
A GREAT SOUVENIR - PRINT THE PLANS AS TWO A2 POSTERS, LOTS OF DETAIL.
Please see the LINKS TO OTHER PAGES at the foot of this page.
Some thoughtful people have expressed concern over the large repetitive groups of certain classes of exhibit. It is a matter of history that certain items became available, in excess of reasonable needs. Rather than ignore many such items, they were accepted or purchased with a view to selecting the most appropriate to keep.
At that time, very limited effort could be directed at curating the thousands of items not immediately required for display and operation. This was not a case of "collect and forget". Rather, it was a difficult challenge to develop the priority areas of the Museum. The intended eventual curation of the items that remained "as acquired" would result in numerous presses (etc.) being fully described and conserved, selections made, and the surplus offered to other institutions or used for spare parts.
On the other hand, a strong feature of MMOP is its policy to show not just an interesting item (like a machine or an 1880s workstand) but at the industrial scale where there would be a realistic number of such items working side-by-side. This illustrates the working environment, contributes to a unique experience, and has led to film-makers' interest in the Museum's industrial atmosphere. [see below for film-making.]
The plan, for some years, was to get introduced to those who are known to support art, heritage and education. Michael admits he was a bit shy to talk about his own contributions and ask for help from people who did not know him. The two or three leaders he did speak to, from industry or philanthropy, did not make any positive response. And government bodies always had some reason not to consider MMOP. And apparently unconcerned whether it disappeared or not.
Michael Isaachsen continues and summarises:
THE VITAL, urgent task is to get help from friends and supporters of the Museum, to pick up all our materials that have been scattered around the building, put them into numbered boxes, photograph them, and stack the boxes on pallets or similar, ready to move if necessary. We only have a couple of weeks to finish this or the Landlord may take it all to the tip - he told me so.
COVID-19 WORKING REQUIREMENTS: the relevant Government office has assured me that packing the goods preparing to move is a task for which I am permitted to issue a "Working Permit." So if you are available to help, LET ME KNOW ASAP and shifts will be negotiated. Covid-safe procedures will apply.
Working hours are to be decided between the volunteers and myself, but may well be a 10 a.m. start until late afternoon, on as many days as we can manage. When arrangements are finalised I will issue you with a government-authorised Working Permit. That will allow you to travel to and from your shift at the Museum, outside those present limits of time and distance.
We can have up to five persons present at any one time.
So What Happens Next?
This depends on whether we can obtain sufficient financial support to remain at Geelong Road, or only enough to cover a smaller place plus the cost of moving, or only enough for a storage company where we may or may not have enough space to squeeze everything in, or nothing.
In case we have to leave Geelong Road, and we cannot pay for a reasonable place to start again, I would like help to find a business person who can provide some storage space or indeed a working space.
Financial SupportI need help in being introduced to someone who supports "heritage, art production and education" and who will ALLOW ME TO MAKE THE CASE for Australia to have a comprehensive Museum of Printing. This is now a priority. And an urgent one it is. Of course I realise that being allowed to make my case is not a guarantee of success, but any such conversation, even if unsuccessful, will educate me about how to improve the presentation.
Fulfilling the MMOP Budget
Now I must ask you, friends of the Museum, to FIND PEOPLE who are interested in supporting "heritage, art production and education" and find a way to get me introduced.
You may not be aware, but someone among your acquaintances may know a person who would be willing and able to help if only they knew about MMOP, its history and its challenges and its potential. It's not only "print people" who value the preservation of knowledge and artefacts. Printing has in some way benefited every branch of knowledge and endeavour.
There may even be some people who would be moved to support, when they learn of my own efforts and commitment over forty years since 1977. My family and I have reached the end of our own finance - we have no more to give. My family have been forced to surrender all their assets including their houses. They shared with me an expectation that industry, government and philanthropy would continue where I cannot. [Although I will continue to be available for a year or three to train and coordinate.]
I am not asking you to negotiate, but to tell someone who might help that it's important for the community, and that I believe that I need a chance to show them how it will become self-supporting and able to pay its way. Please break the ice, introduce me to someone I would not otherwise get to talk to. It could be a sponsor, donor or lending organisation.
Since the surrender of the family's assets, the money needed for re-starting the Museum is a lot less, but still out of reach for most individuals. I can just say here that the amounts needed to cover the rent and wages until the Museum breaks even is far less than the amounts that my family and I have already contributed.
The alternative, of buying the building, of course, is far preferable for the Museum's long-term prospects, because leasing is unlikely to be permanent. The cost of purchase goes well outside those figures. If someone buys it and rents to the Museum, or provides funds for the Museum to buy it, either way, there would be protection for that party if the Museum ceases to operate.
It is relevant, here, to mention the "Corporate" plans. An initial tranche of funds will be requested, to cover legal advice. An experienced NFP firm will set up the two planned bodies to manage the Museum and its assets. The Museum will become an incorporated association, and the MMOP Foundation Inc will be set up to own the heritage assets and manage all donations and loan funds. Both will qualify for "DGR Status", so permitting tax deductions by donors.
The Foundation will consist of a small team of legal, accounting and professional people who are not involved in MMOP management. The two bodies' constitutions will be linked so the Foundation can oversight the management of the Museum and its Committee. A key role will be to ensure that any loan obligations are fully complied with.
It is my belief that a core team of up to six staff will give the ideal outcome, recruited over the first few years and taking the Museum to full-time operation, great services and substantial revenues.
THE TEAM IS ESSENTIAL
The team wages will be the largest item within fixed expenditure, and the team's efforts will be responsible for most of the revenue, as they will deliver the core programs and the marketing efforts. Volunteers will continue to play a part, and the team's duties include supporting the volunteers.
The volunteers, trained and encouraged by the team, will play the major role in cataloguing and curatorial work on the thousands of books, artefacts, typefaces, spare parts and machinery. It is also likely that among the volunteers will be some who can impart relevant knowledge to the Team.
The most critical role for the team, a role which might not work so well with a smaller team, is to form an ongoing human-based store of knowledge about the main focus of the Museum. That is, the craft and business of printing and related industries, including the Ancient Crafts of typefounding, typesetting, printing by hand, and bookbinding. When a new member is recruited, the others will pass on those ancient crafts to them.
They will be encouraged to visit other related organisations to gain context and additional skills, and that may become a two-way street. They will be essential on providing training and support to the MMOP volunteers, and they will host volunteers from other museums who no longer have people with relevant experience.
ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
I have been advised by some people who visit casually that a lot of our 'archival material' is of little value and it should not take up floor space. But others, including members of professional bodies, advise me that such material is of value for research. I know that archives cannot generate much cash-flow, if any. And archives of printing must have knowledgeable staff available. Accordingly I believe that archives would be of greatest benefit if they are a part of a large, relevant, organisation that can interpret and give context to the items.
In a way, our 'type foundry' is like that. Using the Monotype system, it makes and supplies founts of movable type for universities, museums (including MMOP) and small printeries, and it can also compose type from a keyboard, e.g. for a book. At likely volumes the foundry would not survive as an independent operation. And when it is again operational, it will provide a captivating experience for many visitors. The Monotype was the major system of typesetting for publishers of quality books and journals from around 1900 to the late 20th century.
That's about it. Please email me for any further information (or to offer your comments). Please include your phone number and we can have a chat.Michael
INTERESTING: The film and TV industry has noticed MMOP and used the Museum as a filming location several times and at other times picked up a truckload of machines and other things to use on their set elsewhere. Twice in recent times the MMOP "Newspaper Linotype Composing Room" has been used for TV. Here's one of the episodes taking place.
To visualise the Melbourne Museum of Printing, these floor plans show how the 33,000 square-foot building (3000 sq.m) is planned to be set out.
These two files can be printed out up to A2 size.
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