- The Rebuilding Page -
STILL A CHANCE TO RE-START and REBUILD,
BUT BEFORE WE GET TO THOSE ISSUES ...
THE PLACE IS IN A TOTAL MESS :: the Landlord requires us to tidy up everything of value to the Museum, box it, and put it neatly on pallets or in shelves, and assist him in disposing of broken boxes and other rubbish.
After the auction, buyers and others allowed thousands of items that did not interest them to fall to the floor (or remain in shelves but disorderly). We have to assemble those thousands of items into some hundreds of numbered boxes and store them neatly. Otherwise the Landlord says we will lose them.
FORTUNATELY, many of these still-existing items are "archival" documents and engravings etc.. Unlike machinery and cabinetry, archival items entrusted to the Museum when businesses closed, cannot be replaced. They are an archive of industry, going back many decades.
So a team of hardworking volunteers is needed, to work a few days packing and safeguarding these items. COVIDsafe procedures will apply, and "Worker Permits" will be issued if they are still needed.
IF you are interested, or able to help, PLEASE EMAIL email@example.com with your contact details to learn more. [Other message systems are not supported at MMOP.]
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, often including some early history of typesetting and printing. Printing developments from 1950 onward are not well represented.
The President of the well-known Penrith Museum of Printing has written expressing the need for MMOP to remain as the "national" museum that the others could lean upon. Some other MOPs have expressed similar sentiments.
See our folder of support letters. The "Museum Support Program" at MMOP offers training and hard-to-get supplies to museums (and university departments).
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.
PRINT THE PLANS AS POSTERS - A GREAT SOUVENIR - 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 were still "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.]
Firstly, we must be diligent, right now, in protecting everything that is useful and having it ready to move (or re-start).
Thousands of items have been scattered or maltreated by the people who attended the Auction and were left unsupervised. Documents and objects must be picked up, boxed, lightly documented, and placed in shelving or on pallets. This task includes removal of all scrap cardboard (as committed by Michael to the Landlord).
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP WITH THIS TASK or get more info, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who join the team will be issued with Worker Permits. MMOP has an official CovidSafe plan.
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 seemed to have no way to ask for help from people who did not know him.
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 shelves, ready to move if necessary. Or the Landlord may continue discarding them.
We have unknown, but limited, time to finish this.
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 (first contact by email only please) and shifts will be negotiated and permits sent to you. Covid-safe procedures will apply and the MMOP CovidSafe Plan is ready.
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, excusing you from any limits and restrictions.
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.
Fulfilling the MMOP Budget
Now I must ask you, friends of the Museum, to find PHILANTHROPIC PEOPLE who are interested in supporting "heritage, art production and education" and find a way to approach them.
If you have someone in mind that you could approach, I could offer you some further discussion that may help you to open a conversation about the Museum, its potential and its history, especially its financial history.
Please ask them to 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. But I feel that I cannot introduce myself.
You may not be aware, but someone among your acquaintances, with "a bit of clout", may know a person or company who would be willing and able to help (or at least discuss it), if only they knew about MMOP, its history, its challenges and its potential. Some philanthropists are interested in "heritage, art-production and education".
It's not only "print people" who value the preservation of all this knowledge and artefacts. Printing has in some way benefited every branch of knowledge and endeavour, and people in many walks of life appreciate that.
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 now that I cannot.
I am not asking you to negotiate, but to tell someone who might help, perhaps indirectly, that such a museum is of value to the community, and that you 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, and the sale of the machinery, 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 expenses 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, is of course 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 experienced Not-For-Profit law firm will set up the two planned bodies to manage the Museum and its assets. An initial tranche of funds will be requested, to cover these expenses.
The current plan (subject to legal advice) is that 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 most of whom 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.
I do not intend to continue to manage the Museum for much longer. I hope to have a good team in place and a great "membership organisation" to manage the venture within a reasonable time, and hand the task over to them.
The budget assumes that a salaried Director will be required at that time.
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, 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 comprise an ongoing human-based store of knowledge about the main focus of the Museum. That is, the crafts 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 and assisted to visit other related organisations to gain context and additional skills, and that may become a two-way street.
The Team will also host and offer training to volunteers from other museums which may have lost their older, experienced, people.
ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
I have been advised by some people who love those ancient crafts, 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, librarians and historians, advise me that such material is of value for research. I understand that archives cannot generate much cash-flow, if any, but they fulfil an important role.
Archives of trades must have knowledgeable staff available to assist researchers. Accordingly I believe that archives would be of greatest benefit if they remain within a substantial, relevant organisation that can interpret and give context to the items. That will fulfill the intention of the providers of the archives.
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.
When the foundry 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 to offer your comments or ask questions. 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.
CLICK HERE FOR mmop future PAGES|
See the full range of subject matters, programs and audiences, and links to some great referees and blogs.
CLICK HERE FOR SHOWROOM PAGES
MMOP Home Page