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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



Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

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

Page content

MAGNT Review December 2004 Morgan 18 and access to information relating to the collections. While primarily a management tool, it can also be an invaluable method for improving public access to collection information. This can be approached in various ways, for example subsets of the collection database can be available to the public for restricted searches. Confidential or sensitive data can be kept secure. Some form of user-friendly front end is desirable to facilitate public use. As is noted earlier, a process of regular inventory should be included within the collection management procedures. This may already be done in practice but should be formalised. A rotating and at least partly random process of checking for collection items should applied and reported as an audit function to the Board. The recent controversy over the theft of large numbers of collection objects from the Australian Museum acts as a reminder not only of the risk of object theft and the need for vigilance and security processes, but also of the need for museums to demonstrate they are doing everything possible to deter and detect theft. Most of the MAGNTs collections are housed at the Bullocky Point site. With a collection numbering in excess of 1.2 million objects/specimens, this is a large cultural and scientific resource. The Internal Report March 2004 describes at some length the collection storage infrastructure at the MAGNT. As with most museums in this country, collection storage areas are under substantial pressure especially in certain disciplines. The wet (alcohol) collections of the MAGNT are arguably the most comfortably housed in the wet store that opened in 2000. There is estimated growth capacity for wet collections through to 2016, reflecting a greater concentration on collecting under-represented faunal groups (which are mostly invertebrates and thus mostly small animals). The MAGNT is currently engaged with a reorganisation of dry collection storage but there are concerns that it will be exhausted within two years. There is a leased offsite storage facility at McMinn Street. It is not environmentally controlled (temperature or humidity) and neither is it pest proof. Mostly large and non-delicate objects (such as canoes) are stored there, together with workshop materials. It is not suitable for most of the MAGNT collection and is of dubious standard for what is stored there now. Many of the museums of Australia have moved or are in the process of moving collections into improved storage conditions. The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse), the Western Australian Museum and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery are doing so now; the new Melbourne Museum has state of the art collection storage on site and good offsite storage; and so on. The task of storing collections in adequate conditions is a challenging but necessary part of museum and gallery business. Planning for the MAGNTs future must include consideration of collection storage as a priority (refer funding scenarios, Section 8). As is noted above, the MAGNT has well documented collection management procedures. It has also recently developed an Integrated Pest Management Plan. With these procedures in place, and allowing for the infrastructural and staffing limitations, the MAGNT is demonstrating a commitment to best practice in museum collection management on par with other state agencies.