The Queensland Museum Network (QMN) encompasses the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre; The Workshops Rail Museum; Cobb+Co Museum; Museum of Tropical Queensland; Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying; and the University of Queensland Earth Sciences Department collection. The network is the keeping place for the state’s collection of 1.2 million objects and specimens — valued at more than $479 million — and has approximately 14 million research collection items.
Since coming on board as CEO and Director of the QMN in 2013, Professor Suzanne Miller has brought together these seven autonomous campuses to form the one effective network.
Suzanne has a strong academic background, having completed a PhD in marine geology and geochemistry. The Edinburgh native is no stranger to managing museums, having come out of twelve years at National Museums Scotland, a collection of four museums. She made the move to Queensland after six years leading the South Australian Museum as Director.
Suzanne was excited to once again work across a large range of museum collections with QMN. “I loved the idea of coming back to a multicampus museum, she says. “It has incredible geographical reach, but is also so multidisciplinary. When you have that variety of content it’s great; we could be doing Medieval Europe one month and dinosaurs the next.”
Suzanne says the challenge was to create a single streamlined network that could harness the strength of each independent institution.
“When I arrived, one of the interesting things about the network was that each campus operated autonomously from the other campuses. We didn’t operate as a network. In fact, other than finance, HR, and IT, very few of our services actually operated across the whole of the organisation. Everything else was done at a local level, and that was really not building on the capability within the organisation because there are some incredible skill sets and expertise across the network. Unfortunately, it was only ever being directed at very local challenges and opportunities.”