History of the Australian Museum Society (TAMS)

The Australian Museum society (TAMs) has promoted the role and activities of the Museum for 40 years.

Australian Museum logo

 © Australian Museum

In February 1972, Frank Talbot (Director of the Australian Museum) set up an Interim Planning Committee, with Mrs Carol Serventy as Chairman to establish a “supporting body, aiming to interest a broad stratum of the Australian public in the Museum, in the Australian environment and in conservation in its widest sense.” The Australian Museum Society (TAMS), operating as a sub-committee of the Trust, was born.

First meeting in 1973
The First Annual General Meeting was held on 28 March 1973, Sir Harold Wyndham was elected President, and a draft Constitution was adopted. The Constitution provided for an annual election, from amongst the membership, of President and Vice-President and six members of Council, who would serve for a maximum term of three years. The Museum Director was an ex-officio council member, and three members of Museum staff were appointed by the Trust on recommendation of the council in consultation with the Director.

Executive administrative duties were performed initially by Faye Cameron, Executive Vice-president until 1977; then Susan Bridie until 1995; Carole Bibby until1997; Sandra Harrison until 2003and followed by Kate Murray until 2006.

Corporate sponsors
Corporate sponsorship membership commenced in 1977/1978. In 1981 the Constitution was amended to allow for fund-raising as an aspect of the Society’s business. Circles of Natural History was a tiered membership program, for corporate and individuals, launched in 1987. It was managed by a part-time manager. In 2000 a new membership structure was introduced. In 2005 fundraising was transferred to the newly established Australian Museum Foundation (a separate legal entity) and the Australian Museum Development Department.

In March 1982 TAMS became an Australian Museum benefactor in its own right with a contribution to the new Bird Gallery. Other significant donations have been to the Planet of Minerals; Dreamtime to Dust and sponsorship of the Investigation Centre (Search & Discover) which opened in 1994.

Review of mission
A developmental review of TAMS was conducted in 1997 following the Premier’s Department 1996 review of the Museum, and the mission statement was changed to reflect a better defined relationship between TAMS and the rest of the Museum. The Mission statement, 'To promote public awareness of the Australian Museum and its activities, assist it financially and support the Museum’s Mission statement' was adopted.

An internal TAMS review resulted in TAMS becoming more incorporated within the Museum structure. This included staff becoming Museum employees; the Council being dissolved and in 2006 the Society Council decided to change the name to Australian Museum Members. The subsequent changes in the Australian Museum Members logo in 2006 from Dinosaur to that of the Australian Museum’s echidna but including the word MEMBERS further reflects this realignment.

Activities
TAMS/Australian Museum Members’ activities have included functions, lectures, field trips, excursions, workshops, kids’ events, Night Talks, hiring out Australian Museum areas as venues, operating a Coffee Shop (operated as a fundraising concern by TAMS on behalf of the Museum Trust), visitors’ orientations service, visitor questionnaire surveys & co-ordination of volunteers.

In 1980/1981 a separate position for the co-ordination of volunteers was established and Herti Verge was appointed to this position. The Super Science Series lecture program (joint AM & TAMS project) which brought to Australia some of the world’s foremost environmentalists and scientists commenced in1988.

Public communications
The bi-monthly brochure, called 'Muse', with a colour magazine format commenced in 1987.

In April 2006 the first edition of the magazine, 'Explore' was published. 'Explore' better reflected the scientific research of the Australian Museum and included promotional material. 'Muse' ceased publication. 'Talking Science', commenced in 1992/1993. This monthly volunteer radio program on 2 SER.FM was, by 1997, was a weekly radio show having moved to Eastside Radio. It ended in 1999. In 2010 a new Members Lounge opened off the William Street foyer.

TAMS/Australian Museum Members has been an active member of the World Federation of Friends of Museums and was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Federation of Friends of Galleries & Museums in 1976. In 1977 Carol Serventy was elected President of AFFM. TAMS/Members have continued to be involved in AFFM (Kate Murray has served as Treasurer and President).

History of the logo
The initial logo (with some minor variations) was a dinosaur in a circle. This logo appeared in the letter sent, by Carol Serventy, to potential supporters in 1972.

After 2003 Kate Murray tried to inextricably link the words THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM SOCIETY to the logo. Thus reinforcing the brand, concept or meaning to the logo by adding the words THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM SOCIETY to the logo.

In August 2006 the current echidna logo was adopted.


 


Patricia Egan , Archivist
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