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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 33 4 A discussion of the MAGNT outputs relative to national and international trends in museums and galleries 4.1 Overview The operating environment of the MAGNT is unique. The MAGNT is sited in the Northern Territory with its unique regional location and tropical setting and the agency delivers a unique blend of programs to that constituency and visitors to the Territory. However many of the drivers and challenges facing the MAGNT are similar or indeed common to those facing other major museums in this country and internationally. There are naturally differences in detail and degree. Australian museums are well regarded internationally. Museums in this country have a good reputation for innovation and commitment to exploring new goals and methods while maintaining core values. The modern expectations of museums are somewhat paradoxical. In many minds, museums remain repositories of dead things in dusty cases. Market research undertaken by several museums in Australia (eg Australian Museum research, pers.com.) shows that this attitude is still strong in some quarters, in spite of the fact that museums have in the past two decades embraced many new methodologies and many new programs for audience engagement. It should be noted that a recent review of the Natural History Museum in London makes reference to this same problem of perception (Travers et al, 2003). Museums in Australia and internationally have made great advances in diversifying their products and responding better to public desires. This is reflected in far greater audience evaluation and feedback, and some museums have committed audience research units (in Australia, the Australian Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, both in Sydney, are notable in this respect). There are multiple trends to museum practice in Australia and overseas. Museums are as diverse as any generic group of organisation, and more diverse than many. One thing is certain museums cannot expect to retain or grow audiences unless they are able to evolve as attractions. Recent research (yet to be fully published but in prerelease in Museums Journal December 2004, London counts the true value of lottery cash and free entry) concludes: it is inevitable that museums that do not significantly improve their offer to visitors by opening a capital development, introducing free admission where they previously charged, or making their programming more appealing will experience a fall in attendances its not enough to just stop the structure decaying museums have to keep getting betterIt is not just about refreshing old cases and redecorating the loos every so often. They have to innovate as well. This message is as valid for Australia as it is overseas.