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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 16 One must be cautious in over-stating these niche values of course. There are other Australian museums and galleries with very strong Aboriginal collections and which have identified those collections as a strategic strength (for example, the Art Gallery of Western Australia identifies its Indigenous holdings as a corporate priority; the Art Gallery of New South Wales has its Yiribana Aboriginal and Torres Strait Art Gallery Gallery; Museum Victorias Melbourne Museum has its Bunjilaka Gallery of Aboriginal culture). Neither can the MAGNT claim anything approaching a monopoly on Asian art and culture (in one case alone, the AGNSW has invested millions of dollars in a newly opened (2003) Asian Art Gallery.) Nonetheless, in parallel with the focus on the top end and central deserts of Australia, the synergy of focal points does serve to give the MAGNT a recognisable character. As for all museums and art galleries, there are areas of strengths and weaknesses in the collection holdings. There appears to be sound reason for suggesting that the social history holdings of the MAGNT may prove currently inadequate to properly represent the history of the Northern Territory in any future expansion of history exhibitions. The non-Indigenous Australian art collection has been identified by various stakeholders as lacking depth. These areas of the collections will need strategic enhancement, resources permitting. In short, the Consultant regards the overall collection development strategy of the MAGNT to be sound and well based in so far as comparison to other Australian institutions and in achieving the MAGNTs legislative and strategic mission. There are strong and weak areas in the collections which will need to addressed via prioritised acquisitions, should resources become available. As is noted above, the acquisition budget of the MAGNT relative to that of other organisations is discussed separately, in Section 7. 3.2.2 Collection management Collection management at the MAGNT is the day to day responsibility of the Registrar and Collection Managers. Conservation staff have a fundamental support role in ensuring care of the collection objects. Currently collection management is split between two streams, one in History and Culture and one in Natural Sciences, with the conservation section aligned with the former and taxidermy with the latter. It is proposed as part of the MAGNT restructuring to consolidate the research and collections functions under one Assistant Director and this would see a structural integration of collection management functions. There are some basic differences in practice between art/history and natural sciences, but there are also strong similarities. If the MAGNT pursues a single Collection Management Information System, then the proposed integration has functional merit. In its integration of former national museum and national art gallery, Te Papa Museum of New Zealand integrated the collection management functions in a similar vein. Allowing for the art gallery and museum functions of the MAGNT, the above structural approach to collection management is a common one for museums and galleries. There is some variation in the extent to which curators have a direct and day-to-day responsibility for managing the collections. Some museums such as the Australian Museum have separated curators from the collection management duties as