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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 42 guides, docents, talks and seminars, and performance (music, dance, art/craft displays etc) is well received by visitors. As part of the extended museum experience, giving visitors a peek behind the scenes has been variously employed by museums. At its simplest, this can be tours of back of house areas and periodic open days where selected areas of operations are available to the public. More established examples include the Australian National Maritime Museums Wharf 7, that allows guided tours giving insight into curatorial and materials conservation areas. Perhaps the most ambitious example is at the Natural History Museum in London, where the recently opened Darwin Centre is a purposebuilt collection and research facility with public access designed into the building. Visitors can simply browse the glass walls into collection storage areas, engage with the PC interactives or hear a talk from a researcher. If they wish to be further emersed in the museums collections, they can take a guided tour of parts of the storage areas. The 30 million first stage of the Darwin Centre has been a success and stage two will be developed at twice that budget. Generally speaking, art galleries are a little less likely to run back-of-house tours although some certainly do provide this option (eg. the In Touch at the Gallery touch tours run by the Art Gallery of New South Wales). Galleries are more likely to provide floor talks relating to the works on show. It must be emphasised again that none of the above methodologies is a formula for a quality visitor experience. They are tools that can be used well or poorly. Content and context will still be the key determinants to a successful exhibition but the new methodologies can encourage interaction with the ideas and concepts and thus enhance learning outcomes. How does the MAGNT perform against the above, by no means exhaustive, list of methodologies? On balance, well in some areas and poorly in others. The use of simple audio-visual devices in galleries need not be very expensive but multimedia in the form of computer interactives can be costly. The MAGNT has no computer interactives in any of its galleries. The budgets for exhibition development at the MAGNT are low (refer Section 6). The only major long term gallery developed in the last five years is Transformations, developed at a cost of $700 per square metre. It relies on the objects and creative design rather than multimedia enhancements. On such a budget, incorporating multimedia is not very viable. Would the use of multimedia have enhanced the exhibition? The answer is that it most certainly could have, with opportunities for the visitor to move further into topics and see related materials that could not be on display. Interactive quizzes about the evolution of the fauna of the Top End could have added value to visits for children and families. Another example of possible use would be in the Aboriginal art gallery where interactives would allow the visitor to find more information about individual art works and artists, or the cultural background of a school of art, or have an artist tell the story of the art in her or his own words. The MAGNTs website is described in the Internal Review of March 2004 as modest. This might be regarded as something of a euphemism for a website that, in terms of delivery of museum products, is very poor. The website is flat and lacks any