Inside the Collection

Meet our Regional Services Team- Rebecca Pinchin and Joanne Delzoppo

Rebecca Pinchin and Joanne Delzoppo
Photography by Powerhouse Museum © all rights reserved.

The Regional Services Program at the Powerhouse Museum provides programs and services to the people of New South Wales and beyond the borders of Sydney. These programs and services include access to our collections, expertise and resources for individuals and groups such as local museums, historical societies and libraries in rural and regional communities. The Program is managed by Rebecca Pinchin with assistance from a wide range of other Museum staff, including Project Manager, Joanne Delzoppo. In this post, we meet both Rebecca and Joanne and discover a little more about their positions and how they got there.

What is your role in the regional services program?

Rebecca: I seem to do a lot of talking! I manage the Museum’s relationships with regional organisations and I keep the memory of our dealings over time. I see myself as a bit of a ‘plant’ within the Museum because I can assist community groups on how to approach the Museum by interpreting and guiding them. It’s a matter of knowing what we can offer and matching that to their needs.
Joanne: I am working as a Project Manager assisting Rebecca to run the diverse programs in Regional Services. This includes working on large projects such as the Australian Dress Register or some of the many small and important programs such as organising internships for cultural workers located in the regions. Internships are an opportunity for professional development for regional paid and volunteer staff where we tailor a program for them offering exposure to museum practices, the opportunity to work on a project with Powerhouse staff or to learn a specialised skill.

How did you end up in this job?

Rebecca: I came from an education background – I trained in fine arts and worked as an art teacher. Before working at the Museum, I was coordinating an outreach program at Western Institute of TAFE, Dubbo, providing training to disadvantaged and isolated groups from Dubbo to Broken Hill. Prior to that I was Director of Dubbo Regional Art Gallery. This job brings the two streams together.
Joanne: After studying fillm and photography at University, I qualified as an art and photography teacher. I worked for a short time at Ariah Park Central School before taking a position as Exhibitions Curator at the Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery. This was a wonderful and fulfilling role that was hands on in exposing me to all aspects of putting exhibitions and programs together, as well as running a regional art gallery. I have worked as an Exhibitions Coordinator and now Project Manager at the Powerhouse Museum for 9 years. As well as Regional Services, I work on temporary exhibitions, permanent exhibitions and the travelling exhibition program.

Do you spend a lot of time travelling?

Rebecca: I usually send other people travelling! I do still travel quite a bit. It’s not until you visit a site that you can see what the issues are. It’s an essential part of the process. Museum staff have probably visited 60-70 places over the past year. Often the local people know the answer to a problem but they need the confidence. We can say you’re right on the right track. That’s about 75% of what we do. These are usually volunteer groups, often unfunded, using whatever support they can call on.
Joanne: As a Project Manager, we can do some travelling expecially with the travelling exhibition program. Lately, however, I have been organising others to travel to install a number of exhibitions including: Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Gene Sherman Collection to Lake Macquarie, Ties with Tradition: Macedonian apron design to the University of Wollongong and a large loan of the Museum’s chairs to Bathurst Regional Art Gallery for their collaborative exhibitions Sit, Fold & Stack.

What’s a typical working day for you?

Rebecca: Curator Eva Czernis-Ryl and I went to the Riverina for the opening of an exhibition about a pastoral property by the Lockhart Historical Society. In our collection we have a silver Corinthian cup made in 1881 for a local horse race. We took the cup for the opening and it was on display for the weekend. Then we went to another local museum about 40kms down the road where the race club had been. We spoke to the ladies there and sparked their interest and now they’re finding out more about the racing club and we are helping with their collection.
Joanne: A typical day is working on schedules for various programs, talking about the Australian Dress Register website, organising an exhibition to visit a regional venue, moving crates that have just returned from a regional tour, chasing up copyright for an image we want to use in an exhibition, reviewing the exhibition design for the latest exhibition, talking to staff about the marketing campaign for a project, liasing with the many varied departments in the Museum to chase up issues or get them to assist with a project.

What aspect of the job do you enjoy most?

Rebecca: When you make something happen that otherwise wouldn’t, like getting the cup to Lockhart. It’s an A category object (high significance) and the standard response would be to say “no, it can’t travel”. But instead you look at the issues and work around them. It only works if you’ve got someone whose job it is to do that. It has a huge impact and people are so appreciative. We have ensured access to something that is special and part of their local history.
Joanne: The diversity of the projects I work on means I am always learning something. There is great satisfaction when a project is completed, whether it is large or small, or you have helped someone learn or complete something.

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