My name is Samantha Tidy Rutter, and I am a passionate visitor experience specialist, museum educator and award-winning author.
I am a skilled and seasoned communicator, and President of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association - National Education Network. I am formerly a Director on the Board of the ACT Writers Centre.
My publications (under my pseudonym) have received various awards and award-nominations including Winner of the ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Fiction, Runner Up for the FAW Christina Stead Award and Runner Up for the prestigious TAG Hungerford Award. When not writing children's books and adult novels, I greatly enjoy using my writing prowess, to illuminate stories in museum settings.
My vision for audience engagement is to encourage a sense of connection and community with one another through shared stories. I believe in building lifelong learners by inviting early-age audiences to a museum or cultural heritage site.
I have been fortunate to have held significant positions in several museum, library and arts settings that have resulted in a rewarding career communicating cultural heritage to young people and adult visitors alike. My previous experience as a teacher (B.A., Dip Ed, M.A), led me towards education programming in museum settings in 2005 and I have enjoyed a wonderful career, ensuring the relevance and integrity of museum education programming ever since.
In that time, I have been Education and Offsite Programming Manager at the State Library of Victoria, Manager of Education at the Australian War Memorial, Head of Education at Bell Shakespeare and Assistant Director, Learning and Visitor Experience at the National Archives of Australia. I have worked with visionary leaders, passionate teams and incredibly rich collections. Together, these circumstances have given me a very astute sense of how to most effectively engage with audiences of all ages.
In 2008, I was a research fellow at the Bibliothéque nationale de France (3 months full-time), where I completed a paper on how international libraries can learn from one another, when catering for a young audience.
For an insight into my passion for cultural heritage, watch a video presentation on the story behind Waltzing Matilda, the Promise of Gold in Victoria, and the inland adventures of Burke and Wills. These videos are examples of some work I completed for the National Library of Australia.
At the heart of my approach to visitor education in museum settings, is a steely determination to ensure that geographic location in Australia is no hindrance to accessing museums and keeping places. This ethos has taken me to really remote locations in Australia, showcasing live Shakespeare performances in indigenous communities, and lecturing on invaluable items of cultural significance such as the Jerilderie Letter, Robert O'Hara Burke's pistol and Franco-Australian maritime cartography in small towns where the primary school boasts a double digit enrolment.