Museums & Galleries Qld

Ian Jempson, Queensland Maritime Museum, and James Donaldson, RD Milns Antiquities Museum, honoured in 2012 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards

Posted on: 6 December 2012

We bring you our fourth article featuring stories on each of the Winners and Special Commendation recipients of the 2012 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA) in five categories.

Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) proudly announced the recipients of the 2012 GAMAA at a special event hosted by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture, on Saturday 17 November. Guest presenter, Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts congratulated this year’s recipients and presented the winners with a specially-commissioned trophy created by Queensland artist, Donna Marcus.

We announce the GAMAA recipients in the category, ‘Individuals: Paid’:

WINNER – Ian Jempson, CEO of the Queensland Maritime Museum

SPECIAL COMMENDATION – James Donaldson, Museum Senior Administrative Officer, RD Milns Antiquities Museum, University of Queensland

This category was generously sponsored by the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland. The Winner receives a prize to the value of $1,000.


Ian Jempson

Ian Jempson was nominated for his achievements as the Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Maritime Museum, his previous position as General Manager at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton, and for his overall contribution to the museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts presents the 2012 GAMAA to Ian Jempson, Winner in the category Individuals: Paid

Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts presents the 2012 GAMAA to Ian Jempson, Winner in the category Individuals: Paid

Ian’s vision and commitment to the Queensland Maritime Museum has seen the organisation develop into an outstanding facility that undertakes best-practice management of its significant collection, and supports and trains its staff, interns and volunteers to maintain the Museum’s high professional standards. Ian has focused on improving the visitor experience, developing innovative public programs and embracing new technologies to improve displays as well as upgrading visitor and retail point-of-sale systems. Ian’s exceptional leadership was clearly demonstrated during the 2011 Brisbane floods when preventative measures were put in place to secure the vessels, buildings, displays and records in less than 48 hours and, following the deluge, had the clean-up and repairs underway and the doors re-opened within five days.

As General Manager of the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Ian was instrumental in its formative years, developing strong partnerships with the gallery and museum volunteers and overseeing major infrastructure developments at the Centre. Ian also made a significant contribution to the cultural and economic life of the Winton region. He was on the Winton Tourism Strategy Committee, a community advisory committee of Council, where he strived to ensure that the committee worked as a team to position Winton as a destination rather than a stopover.

Ian has also made a significant commitment to the museum and gallery sector through his leadership as Chair of Brisbane’s Living Heritage Network (BLHN). He has spent countless hours of his own time representing BLHN and its 80 member organisations at public events, media interviews, speaking engagements, and in liaising with key stakeholders including government and non-government agencies to achieve best outcomes for the wider community’s engagement with cultural heritage of the greater Brisbane region.

For the past five years, Ian has volunteered extensive hours of his expertise as an Industry Reviewer with Museum and Gallery Services Queensland’s Standards Review Program. This role has involved attending planning meetings, reading and commenting on participating organisations’ Self Review Surveys, attending Field Visits and providing practical advice, attending On Site Reviews, assisting with the development of action plans and providing strategic advice, and acting as part of the ongoing reference group for the Program.


James Donaldson

James Donaldson was awarded a Special Commendation for his achievements in a relatively short career as Museum Senior Administrative Officer of the RD Milns Antiquities Museum at the University of Queensland.

Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts presents James Donaldson with a GAMAA Special Commendation

Hon. Ros Bates, Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts presents James Donaldson with a GAMAA Special Commendation in the category Individuals: Paid

Since joining the Museum four years ago James has been a dedicated member of the Museum team, beginning as a volunteer then progressing to tour guide and student coordinator until two years ago when he was appointed to his current role.

In 2010/2011 James played an integral role in the relocation of the Antiquities Museum collection of almost 6,000 artefacts to a temporary home while a new gallery space was created, and subsequently project-managed the rehousing of the collection in its new space. He spent time researching gallery spaces, storage, lighting, paintwork and cabinetry, making a significant contribution to the look and feel of the new gallery.

James has played a key role in developing the Museum’s public engagement programs, developing its social media presence with target audiences such as the University’s students, and preserving and strengthening links with patrons, supporters and community members. He manages the Museum’s primary and secondary schools’ program and has transformed and modernised it over the last three years. Since March, the Museum has experienced record attendance figures from school groups and public visitors. The response to the new, more atmospheric gallery has been overwhelmingly positive – an achievement made possible through James’ creativity and leadership skills.

In the area of best practice, James has taken responsibility for implementing procedures for the Museum’s volunteers and in ensuring that occupational health and safety requirements are met. He has contributed to the development of updated Museum policies and procedures in line with the National Standards and has assisted in the development and implementation of the Museum’s new Strategic Plan.


The 2012 GAMAA was presented by Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. This prestigious annual event is designed to celebrate the outstanding achievements, professional excellence and innovation of Queensland’s museums and galleries. The Awards recognise the valuable contribution our State’s museums and galleries make to enriching their local and wider communities, and honour the extraordinary commitment and talents of paid professionals and volunteers working in the industry.

For a full list of winners and photos of the event, and to see what the GAMAA Judges said, go to the M&GSQ website at

The 2012 GAMAA were proudly sponsored by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Brian Tucker Accountant, Brandi Projects, Archival Survival, Regional Galleries Association of Queensland and Museums Australia Queensland.


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Museums & Galleries Queensland

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Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

Museums & Galleries Queensland promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. We strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities.

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