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JoM Curatorial Policy

Curation is] the act of continually identifying, selecting and sharing the best and most relevant online content and other online resources on a specific subject to match the needs of a specific audience.

Ann Hadley and C.C Chapman (from Content Rules, 2011)

1. JoM's Curatorial Mission Statement

The Jewish Online Museum will bring together, represent and make digitally accessible and engaging, those narratives, objects, images of the Jewish experience that are relevant for a twenty-first century audience in New Zealand, and beyond. The Jewish Online Museum will curate innovative virtual exhibitions, document, preserve and provide access to existing cultural resources and ephemera and offer viewers an interpreted experience of this, and create new resources that can educate, challenge, and inspire a national and international audience to know more deeply, the voices, documents and stories that give expression to the diverse identities of Jewish peoples.

2. Curatorial Purpose: Goals, Audience and Message

The Jewish Online Museum is a non-profit, web-based cultural resource that seeks to extend public access to artefacts, images and narratives that best represent and share the heritage and significant contribution of Jewish peoples to New Zealand.

The Jewish diaspora in NZ is made-up of diverse peoples and cultures. This ethnic and cultural diversity will be represented by the digital museum in ways that facilitate a breadth of representational modes and give contemporary expression to the Jewish community’s common identity as Jewish people. The Jewish Online Museum recognises the need for its curatorial policy to support innovation in the re-representation of the complexity, and particularity, of Jewish experience and heritage in contemporary New Zealand so as to increase tolerance, awareness and understanding of this globally dispersed community of peoples and their culture(s) .

The Jewish Online Museum will endeavour to reach new (and younger) audiences through its digital interface and outreach programmes, and is designed as an innovative and interactive educational and cultural resource for future generations that is enabled to preserve, make accessible and interpret the complex histories and heritage of Jewish peoples to art, culture, science and economy in NZ and overseas. Through its curatorial programme of exhibitions, unique user-interface and opportunities, commissioned essays and artworks the virtual museum seeks to provide an effective (interactive, accessible, growing) digital resource that, through new modes of exhibition and engagement, can link, build and develop a significant nation-wide collection(s) of images, narratives and objects with wider international contexts and resources.

3. JoM’s Content and Collection

As a digital museum, JoM’s ‘collection’ is fundamentally not material, actual or physical but instead is comprised of a wholly digital database of images, texts, photographic artworks, animations, films, video interviews, audio files, video footage, film, musical compositions, songs, stories, articles, chapters, letters and documents. These materials are, and can be, either digital reproductions in the form of photographs, scans or copies, original digital documents, artworks, artefacts or recordings, or original digital material created and generated by or (through commission) for the Jewish Online Museum for use as publishable exhibition and online content. This donated, acquired, loaned, original and commissioned content and material will be digitally stored and preserved for posterity and when appropriate, made accessible (through loan, gift or subscription) to the general public on the museum’s website and server. This collection and content will be managed by a Collection Management System (CMS) under the direction of the JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel and ultimately, the JoM Trust. A JoM Collection/Content Management Policy and Procedure is currently being drafted so as to guide both operational (curatorial, archival, technical) and ethical dimensions of managing a digital museum collection such as this.

4. Key Curatorial Objectives

The following objectives are intended to guide creative curatorial input and outcome:-

4.1_Develop wider access to contexts and audiences for existing resources, such as Jewish archives and associations, by curating new and engaging opportunities for individuals, organisations and communities to contribute to and find representation within, the digital museum context.

4.2_ Provide a more contemporary, socially mobile and culturally relevant representation of the Jewish community that can better serve and interact with, different and specific audiences with an understanding and appreciation of Jewish art, life and heritage as well as offer the Jewish diaspora in New Zealand a more contemporary and engaging representation of their identity, culture and heritage.

4.3_ Curate online exhibitions and make links with wider discourses that address the key issues and challenges of being Jewish in this specific South Pacific context of New Zealand.  It is the intention of the museum that the curated content of JoM build a more positive awareness of the culture and contribution of Jewish peoples to contemporary life, and by doing so, create a more culturally inclusive resource that has the capacity and scope to address the diversity of audiences and peoples living here in New Zealand.

4.4_ Inform Jewish culture in New Zealand and bring a global perspective to this nationally focused museum by linking our own exhibitions, resources and programmes to that of other Jewish museums, institutions and organisations worldwide through the digital platform of the Internet. The structure and design of this new digital museum is such that it is intended to act as both destination and portal: it is both a place to experience for itself, and a place to begin a learning journey elsewhere, whether as a researcher, student, or incidental visitor to the museum.

5. Criteria for the Selection of JoM Content (and Curatorial Input)

Priority will be given to content, and curatorial initiatives, that address one or more of the following selection criteria*:-

5.1_Content that has been previously inaccessible to the public including cultural artefacts, historical narratives and resources significant to building insight and understanding of Jewish life and culture in New Zealand

5.2_Content that can be developed as an accessible educational and/or cultural resource for a wide range of viewers, with a particular focus on youth, that deepens insight into, and understanding and tolerance of Jewish peoples

5.3_Content in the form of text, artefacts and resources that lend themselves to digital representation and development as online content (audio, visual, textual) and can contribute meaningfully to the those areas of Jewish life, work, art and culture designated by the key subject fields of the JOM: Arts; Faith; Community; History; Holocaust; Maori and Pacifica; Israel/Homeland; Diaspora; Education; Language: and further, is pertinent to the New Zealand context in particular

5.4_Content from other institutions, individuals and organisations that can potentially increase public benefit through publication in (and association with) the digital museum context of exhibition, interpretation and improved accessibility

5.5_Content that can significantly build positive insight, understanding and awareness of the various contributions of Jewish peoples to New Zealand, both past and present

5.6_ Content or curatorial initiatives that can encourage user-generated content and facilitate new, digitally enabled, community engagement and public interaction with content pertinent to the re-representation and exhibition of Jewish experience in the online museum context

* Notwithstanding the selection criteria outlined above JoM reserves the right to refuse to exhibit, store or publish any content for any reasons.

6. Curatorial Advisory Panel

The JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel will be convened by the JoM Project Manager and include the JoM Managing Editor, a member of the JoM Trust, a representative contributing curator, and an external museum curator/content manager from another museum, archive or collecting organisation in New Zealand. All decisions as to appropriate content, levels of access to that content, criteria for content selection and content development, the theme or focus of exhibition, artwork, information, narrative or artefact will be the decision of the JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel, and be based on the six Selection Criteria listed above. All commissioning (and de-commissioning) of content, of guest curators and curatorial enterprises of any kind will be the responsibility of the JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel. The JoM Curatorial Panel will ensure best curatorial practice in accordance with the Museums Aotearoa: Code of Ethics and the principles of partnership established by the Treaty of Waitangi Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The Panel will report (quarterly) to the JoM Trust through the auspices of the Curatorial Advisory Panel Convener (currently JoM’s Project Manager).

The JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel is also responsible for the periodic review of the collection and/or content to assess the continued relevance of the material, text or resource to the museum’s mission. Refinement and/or development of the content or collection of the JoM in accordance to its strategic aims and mission is the primary responsibility of the Panel.

7. Curatorial Responsibilities

7.1 Copyright

7.1.1_Clearly defined procedures to ensure that the copyright, or intellectual property rights, of all materials and content owned or created to be published or made available to the public will be followed by the JoM curator(s) and the JoM team (please see JoM Collection/Content Management Policy and Procedure). In compliance with the Code of Ethics JoM curator(s) and their team will seek permissions, provide and publish metadata that details provenance and attributes ownership in accordance with the Copyright Act of New Zealand 1994, and the Copyright Amendment (Infringing File Sharing) 2011 which repeals section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994.

7.1.2_ The JoM Trust holds full copyright responsibility for the content and stored data (or ‘collection’). When obtaining copyright for objects held in JoM Trust collections it is desirable for the JoM Trust to either hold copyright for material held in its ‘collections’, or to have written permission to reproduce the material from the copyright holders.

7.1.3_ JoM curators will also be responsible for the accuracy of their research, analysis, interpretation, and for the content of any written description and/or documentation of the collections and/or content under their jurisdiction, whether prepared by themselves or others. Curators must be aware of current scholarship and appropriately and accurately acknowledge the scholarly or artistic efforts of others, as well as secure copyright permissions for images and reproduction of text or image used in the creation of JoM content, such as JoM exhibitions and information resources. Copyright notice will be published near an image as a hypertext link to more detailed information about the copyright owner, and the circumstances (if any) in which a viewer may download or print an image.

7.1.4_ JoM curators will respect and uphold the moral rights of artists and authors in any display, publication, reproduction or promotion which features his/her work. The information provided about an item will acknowledge the name of the artist or author, the title of the work, the date of the work, its medium and where appropriate, the donor.

7.2 Reproduction

7.2.1_ Generally objects, images, articles and interviews owned by the JoM Trust, through donation, bequest, transfer or purchase, are copyright to the JoM Trust. JoM Trust ‘officers’ (e.g, designated curators or content managers) can therefore give permission for these objects, materials and texts to be photographically reproduced or digitally represented on the JoM website. The ownership status of photographs, images and reproductions held in the collection is complex and reference must be made by JoM curators to the Copyright Act1994. Ownership by the JoM Trust does not imply ownership of copyright. The owner of a photographic print or negative cannot reproduce the work without the permission or license of the owner of copyright.

7.2.2_ JoM curators will endeavor at all times to ensure faithful reproduction of all original content, and when developing exhibitions and interpretations for online engagement with the public, will ensure that all reproductions in full or in part of any text, image or resource material published online are accompanied by the appropriate permissions, acknowledgements and metadata. When reproducing of any text or image, in full or in part for inclusion in an exhibition or interpreted display JoM curators will endeavor not to alter or devalue the original item, and seek appropriate permissions for ‘in part’ inclusion as either reference, citation, precis or illustration. All other alterations, such as cropping or overprinting, will necessitate the JoM curator (and team) to seek agreement with the copyright owner to specifically authorise these alterations to their original content as permissible.

7.2.3_ Unauthorised online publication and/or reproduction of content donated, created, exchanged, loaned or acquired by JoM is difficult to avoid, however curators and content managers should work with strategies designed to dissuade unauthorised reproduction on behalf of the museum, and the copyright owner e.g, digitising material at low resolution not suitable for reprinting or use of digital watermarking. (see JoM Collection/Content Management Policy and Procedures for more detailed information)

7.3 Documentation and Interpretation

7.3.1_ Collection items and content will be recorded as digital documents and documentation in a permanent digital archive. Collection or content documentation will record essential information (metadata) relating to the description and imaging of each item and its history, location, provenance, valuation, conservation and condition. Information on this database will be maintained by JoM staff, regularly updated and stored in an alternative backup.

7.3.2_ JoM curators are responsible for the accuracy of their research, analysis, interpretation, and for the content of written description and documentation of the collections under their jurisdiction, whether prepared by themselves or others. All guest curators selected by the JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel must be aware of current scholarship and appropriately acknowledge the scholarly or artistic efforts of others by ensuring accurate provenance is detailed and made public and accessible on the JoM website.

7.3.3_Photographic and audio-visual documentation of significant stories, materials and objects pertaining to Jewish peoples, life, culture and contribution in New Zealand will be undertaken by the JoM curatorial team with the authorisation of the JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel. Photographic and audio-visual documentation held by other institutions and archives, such as the Alexander Turnbull Library, can be accessed for use and reproduction by curators for the purposes of JoM exhibitions and articles with the appropriate published acknowledgements.

8. Acquisition, Loans, Donations

8.1_Acquisition is the process of obtaining legal possession of an object, image or recording for accessioning into the ‘collection’. Acquisitions or loans can be made by donation, purchase, bequest, exchange and transfer from another collecting institution. As an online museum, JoM will seek permissions to responsibly store, preserve as digital file, reproduce and publish as content any or all materials loaned or donated to the museum for either a short time, or posterity. The JoM reserves the right not to acquire, or accept loans when offered donations by other institutions, organisations or the public.

8.2_JoM may accept incoming loans and offer items as outgoing loans when appropriate. The duration of each loan will be determined by the circumstances and can be extended or discontinued when necessary. Decisions concerning long term loans will be made in consultation with the JoM Curatorial Advisory Panel. All loans of the collection (digital items, materials or resources) or JoM created content (such as exhibitions), are subject to the conditions of loans set out in a standard loan agreement issued by JoM (see JoM Collection/Content Management Policy and Procedures for more detailed information). The JoM curator and/or their team will maintain an up-to-date register of loan items (incoming and outgoing), including the duration of each loan and the location of the item.

9. Code of Ethics

9.1_Curators, along with all staff working with JoM, must be bound by a code of ethics relating to their conduct and responsibilities. There is a published code of ethics relevant to the collection management responsibilities of museums in New Zealand, published by Museums Aotearoa in April 2003.  Those sections of the Code of Ethics that curators and content developers and managers should follow pertain to the display of collections (content) and the reproduction of original content for public access and engagement. There is also a section on professional conduct that details principles, the responsibilities of the curator to the collection, the public, the employing authority and to colleagues. This Code of Ethics is guided by that of ICOM’s (International Community of Museums) Code of Ethics for Museums and should be used to guide best ethical practice in all conducting all aspects of curatorial responsibility and remit. JoM is a member of the International Community of Museums.

© Jewish Online Museum 2013


Key references

refer: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (1997) The Copyright Act 1994, A Manual for New Zealand Museums, Wellington

refer: Copyright Council of NZ

refer: New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography

[email protected]

refer: Curcom: Curators Code of Ethics (US)

refer: Online Rights and Public Access : NZ on Air

refer: Museums Aotearoa: Code of Ethics

refer:- International Community of Museums: Code of Ethics for Museums

refer:- Te Papa Museum Policy Documents: Copyright and Museums


Please feel free to download a copy of our Curatorial Policy here  JoM Curatorial Policy (06.13).pdf

Last updated/revisions to the Curatorial Policy| October 30, 2013.


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