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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 38 The Telstra NATSIA Award is high profile and important, but not truly a community product. These are ones that are generated by communities, often in partnership with an organisation that can give tangible form to the product. Museums are increasingly assuming a vital role in assisting community groups to have a voice and a public presence that would otherwise be impossible. The MAGNT has a relationship with the Larrakia Nation that is described by its Coordinator as a positive one over the last three years. Prior to that, there was seen as little interaction with the MAGNT. Since 2002, MAGNT has worked with Larrakia Nation on a Cultural Awareness Program held over six weeks each year. There have been fruitful discussions regarding partnerships between the MAGNT and Larrakia Nation regarding the proposed Larrakia Cultural Facility (that may be located in close proximity to the museum). Hopefully the above partnerships will continue and evolve but even if they did not, there is good reason for the MAGNT to work to involve Aboriginal people in the operations of the institution. This was commented on by several of those people interviewed for this Review. Museums and Indigenous people have a chequered history that largely reflects past practices but also current perceptions. The unfortunate history of collecting that has contributed to the collections of some older museums is less an issue for a young museum like the MAGNT. But the attitude of Indigenous people to museums, in Australia and overseas, is still largely one of indifference at best and active animosity at worst. There are very fine exceptions, such as the National Museum of the American Indian in the United States, and museums around the world are working to redress past wrongs. In Australia, the museum community has adopted the Museums Australia policy document Previous Possessions New Obligations (first drafted 1993 and currently being revised and updated as Continuous Cultures Ongoing Responsibilities). A comment from an Indigenous observer for this Review was that museums are not seen as living places and that most young Aboriginal kids wouldnt even think of visiting a museum. This was a comment regarding the MAGNT but would have relevance to most museums (and galleries), even those with large displays of Aboriginal cultural material. The perception of museums as a lingering embodiment of a dominant cultural psyche a white institution displaying sometimes unethically collected Indigenous objects for a white audience - and as having little relevance to Indigenous peoples today, are two key reasons for this disconnection. (For a longer discussion of this issue, the reader is referred to Griffin, 1996). Given the strength of the MAGNTs Aboriginal collections and the high percentage of Indigenous people and richness of Aboriginal culture in the Territory, the MAGNTs commitment to work with Indigenous people must if anything grow. The opportunity to break down the traditional barriers between Indigenous people and western cultural institutions is one that the MAGNT could, and given its context, should adopt as a cause celebre as it were. This will take real commitment from the museum, its Board and Government. The outcome could be an experience that expands the high quality but static exhibitions of Aboriginal art into a living experience of art-culture-people that could set the Northern Territory as a national leader and provide residents and tourists with the finest experience of Aboriginal culture in this country.