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Review of the Museum and Art Gallery services : a report to the Department of Community Development, Sport & Cultural Affairs



Review of the Museum and Art Gallery services : a report to the Department of Community Development, Sport & Cultural Affairs

Other title

MAGNT Review December 2004 Morgan; Internal review of MAGNT. Final report March 2004


Morgan, Gary


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




"This Review has looked at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’s outputs relative to benchmark museum and art gallery activities and outputs around Australia and relative to international trends in museum practice. This Review has also considered possible service outcomes set against three funding scenarios." - Executive summary


This review was commissioned by Risk Management Services of the Department of the Chief Minister for the Northern Territory, on behalf of the Department of Community Development, Sport and Cultural Affairs. The review was put to Tender in October 2004, with the Tender awarded in November 2004. - Introduction; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- Part A: Introduction - Background -- Outputs of this review. Part B: Outputs of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory - A comparison of the MAGNT outputs in activities of collection development and management, public programs and research relative to those of other state museums and galleries - A discussion of the MAGNT outputs relative to national and international trends in museums and galleries - A consideration of the scientific focus of the MAGNT in terms of a) its management and outcomes relative to other museums and b) its contribution to Northern Territory economic activity and Government programs - A comparison of per square metre exhibition costs at the MAGNT relative to other institutions - A comparison of the acquisition budget of the MAGNT relative to other institutions. Part C: Possible budget scenarios - A discussion of three budget scenarios for the MAGNT with their consequent service outcomes. Part D: Summary of recommendations. Part E: Sources and acknowledgements. Part F: Appendices 1-8




Museums -- Northern Territory -- Public opinion; Museums -- Evaluation; Public relations -- Museums -- Northern Territory

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



xviii, 124 pages ; 30 cm.

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/458000; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/457995

Page content

MAGNT Review December 2004 Morgan 10 Thirdly, even allowing for the variation in organisational size, the MAGNT is one of Australias more diverse state institutions in terms of disciplinary coverage. As is noted above, the closest sister state agency to the MAGNT in disciplinary diversity is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery also holds plants in the state herbarium, the only state museum in Australia to do so but does not have a major maritime archaeology/history dimension. The MAGNT operates multiple sites over a large geographic area, more akin to the Western Australian Museum and Queensland Museum, which are also highly diverse museums but exclude the role of state art gallery. The MAGNTs six year Strategic Plan identifies this intrinsic diversity as a strength. The Consultant concurs that there are particular opportunities for flexible program development and economies of scale in having the state museum and art gallery linked, assuming the expectations of key stakeholder groups to give strong presentation of the component parts can be met. In contrast to the diversity of disciplines and disciplinary coverage, the core functions of major cultural agencies, while often branded differently and with different emphases, are remarkably similar. The core functions of the MAGNT (which align with the key activities scoped into this Review) may be broadly defined as: o Developing, caring for and providing access to the collections o Undertaking research relating to the collections and through fieldwork o Interpreting the collections and providing public experiences to educate and entertain (exhibitions, education, and so forth). A perusal of respective annual reports, websites and other published materials reveals that these reflect the core functions of other state and national museums and galleries. They may be labelled differently of course. For example, the Western Australian Museum identifies its core functions as collection development and care, knowledge generation and knowledge communication and the Art Gallery of South Australia as preservation, research and communication. The State and Commonwealth Acts of Parliament* establishing the various agencies or their Boards also reflect the similarity of legislative core functions. If one adds to these core/legislative functions, supportive activities such as commercial enterprises (via retail outlets, dining facilities, venue activities, consultancies, etc) and fund-raising, as well as advertising and marketing, then the total packages of activity for any of the large museums and galleries in this country are very similar indeed. *The Acts are accessible on websites of most of the institutions. The differences between the various state and national museums and galleries in Australia are less in the what, then in the how and how much. While the broad areas of activity may be very similar, how they are delivered and how much emphasis they assume (and as a corollary, how much funding they require) vary. It is at this level that each agency must decide the balance between its functions and how to apportion internal resources to deliver on the corporate outputs and outcomes. There is no correct balance, and no single formula that determines the best mix of the core functions. No museum or gallery in this country would claim to be adequately addressing all of the collection management or development needs of its collection. Similarly, no museum or gallery in this country would suggest it could not do more in terms of public services if it had the resources to do so.