Next Tuesday, the Auckland Museum - the repository of local history - will turn a blind eye to the past two chaotic years of the institution's history and hold a public meeting instead to seek guidance on its "gallery renewal plan".

Interim director Sir Don McKinnon, in a masterly piece of PR spin, says "the process for establishing a gallery renewal plan commenced nearly two years ago and we have held several consultations with museum employees, volunteers and stakeholders who have provided diverse recommendations. We now want to hear from Aucklanders, as this is their museum".

In hastening to note that Sir Don is the head resuscitation nurse, brought in to calm the traumas of the Vitali era, next week's public forum does conjure up images of Pol Pot suddenly popping up in Cambodia after his reign of terror and saying, woops, I seem to have lost my road map to the future, anyone got any bright ideas?

As one cynical insider suggested to me, could it be they're appealing to the public because everyone with ideas within the organisation has been made redundant or cowed into silence?

The meeting is to be "hosted" by Waitakere City mayor Bob Harvey, who tried to rally support for doomed director Vanda Vitali this year as the board was busy sharpening the guillotine. Leading the discussion will be Ken "Mr Te Papa" Gorbey, and an arch opponent of the national museum's "entertainment model," cultural commentator Hamish Keith. The chances of consensus from this meeting of minds - or of others getting a word in - seems unlikely.

More fruitful would be a discussion about the failure of governance over the past two years, and the lessons to be learned as we move into the era of the Super City.

On November 1, Auckland comes under the control of an elected Auckland Council and a multitude of council-controlled organisations, each run by appointed boards of little-known appointees, similar to those running the museum.

If we don't nail what went wrong at the governance level at the museum, we risk similar meltdowns not just at the museum, but in the wide range of organisations that will soon be controlling up to 75 per cent of the region's services.

Because of the secrecy involved, what went on at the museum in the two years under Dr Vitali, was a mystery then, as now.

The inexplicable scrap with the Hillary family was when we all began to take notice. But in her first year, nearly a third of the museum's jobs were restructured out of existence, and insiders say about 100 staff out of a roll of around 150 either resigned or were made redundant. In her time, patronage declined 20 per cent. Now we discover that at the end of all that upheaval and disruption, there wasn't even a grand plan behind it.

Because of the secrecy, Auckland ratepayers, who pay $22 million a year to fund the institution, have had to guess at what's been going on. Even after the secret deal that led to her departure, the board has offered no explanations, or apologies, pleading confidentiality. Is this quick sweep under the carpet going to be the pattern every time something goes wrong in the new CCOs soon to run our roads and public transport systems, our waterfront, our entertainment and sports venues?

Back in December, Mr Keith called for the suspension of both Dr Vitali and the board and for a commissioner to be appointed to run the museum and investigate the causes of the crisis. He offered himself as an "independent professional who knows how to run museums" for the task. He highlighted that the board "must accept compliance with what Ms Vitali was doing".

In March, when Dr Vitali's departure became official, two supporters of the dumped director repeated this call. Arts patron James Wallace called it a "devastating blow" and told chairman Dr William Randall, "as you have now lost the confidence of many of us involved with our museum, you have no option but to resign en masse". And Mayor Harvey called on the "dysfunctional" board to be replaced by a commissioner.

Five months later, we're to get a public forum about what to put in the glass display cases. One stuffed board would be a good place to start. Along with a public inquest to ensure better governance of this and all our other CCOs.