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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 37 There are inherent challenges in being both a true museum and art gallery. While the generic practices of the two types of museum overlap substantially, there are differences especially in the emphasis on methods and approaches to providing the visitor experience. There are also significant differences in the traditional audiences for the two types of institution. As we have seen (Box 1), there are relatively few examples of art gallery-museum combinations amongst the state and national agencies but the largest in the region is Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Soon after its opening in early 1998, the museum was motivated to review and increase its allocation of gallery space to what might be called traditional art displays, in the face of criticism that it was not adequately serving as the national gallery. There appears to be little public expression of concern about the nature and balance of the MAGNT experience. At least, visitor exit surveys and discussions with stakeholders reveal no groundswell of protest about any lacking in the public program at the MAGNT. The thematic and collection area that is certainly under-represented, and that has been identified as such by at least a percentage of visitors, is the broader social history of Darwin and the Top End. A sound case can be made for expanding significantly the coverage of Territory history. There is some evidence to suggest that at least an element of the Darwin public would like to see a greater area committed to non-Indigenous Australian art, and this is certainly a view of a number of MAGNT stakeholders. In recent years the MAGNT has introduced several new initiatives to provide more diversity to the visitor. The Discovery Centre is one example and is discussed at more length in the section on new methodologies below. Education and holiday programs have been enhanced at the MAGNT to value-add for schools and teachers. These programs include education kits for many of the major exhibitions and floor talks for teachers and secondary students. As is noted above, the MAGNT has an audience research approach that can be tailored in the future. Having mechanisms to introduce the messages from that research into the museums programs supports a responsive environment to audience needs. 4.4 Being more involved in community-partnered projects, working with communities The MAGNT has engaged with the Indigenous community at various levels, which is appropriate and essential given the very large Indigenous population of the Northern Territory (c. 25-30% of population depending on the source of data, compared to about 2.2% for Australia). At the upper end of that engagement is the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, an event of truly national significance and proportions. There are few regular awards or events hosted by museums and galleries in Australia, regardless of size of the institution, which are of comparable standing and profile. (One might suggest the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales as being one of the few that attracts nation-wide attention and interest.) If nothing else did so, the delivery of this program by the MAGNT lifts it from a regional status to an institution of national standing.