Director of M.A.D.E. Jane Smith with the award that is so new there hasn’t been time to frame it.

M.A.D.E wins national award for innovation with Eureka 160

THE Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) continues to trail blaze progression in the museum space, winning the Innovation category at the Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNAs) which took place on Friday night in Sydney.

MAGNAs’ award for innovation recognises a museum or gallery project that promotes pioneering and sustainable practices. M.A.D.E received the prestigious accolade in recognition of their Eureka 160 program, a series of over 30 events delivered in a five month period to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. Highlights of Eureka 160 included a Minecraft competition for under 18s where entrants recreated the Eureka Stockade using the sandbox independent video game; a Twitter competition which called on M.A.D.E’s followers to send in photos of the strangest places they had seen the Eureka Flag; and the museum’s stunning display of the 1891 Women’s Suffrage Petition, a document containing 30,000 signatures which a group of remarkable women gathered in just six weeks from across Victoria using only public transport. The Innovation award also recognised M.A.D.E’s major improvements to their visitor experience including the launch of a new website and first app.

“The Eureka 160 program aimed to recognise the Eureka Stockade as a defining event in Australian history and was a fabulous example of creativity, collaboration and community engagement,” said M.A.D.E Director, Jane Smith.

“We are constantly striving to innovate and deliver the most interactive experience possible awarefor

our visitors,” she said. The MAGNAs recognise excellent work nationally in the categories of exhibition, public programs and sustainability projects. The Awards are open to all Australian cultural collecting institutions that are members of Museums Australia and are intended to encourage the continuous improvement and development of Australian museums and galleries; inspire and recognise best practice and innovation in the collecting sector and enhance the profile of museums and galleries in local and wider communities. Ms Smith added that the important thing about getting recognised nationally is that it keeps improving M.A.D.E’s visibility and this is just the beginning. “We have only been opened two years and this is the first thing that we have nominated ourselves for so I just think it’s a great opportunity to now understand that we are an award winning place and that will drive more visitors and more participation rates,” she added.

“The conference was very interesting because it was great to see where M.A.D.E. fits in all the new things that are happening in the museums and gallery space. “I think we are still in the top ten per cent. There is a new ANZAC museum that they have built in Albany, and that’s kind of the next generation of M.A.D.E. but I think we are still up there.”