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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 45 of frontier conflict in Australia. The writings of Keith Windschuttle have both embodied the single written account model and enlivened the debate in the popular press. It is not the place of the Consultant to discuss the relative accuracies of Australias historians. The point here is that history is a dynamic subject, open to interpretation and informed from various perspectives. The history of the victor is not always the same as that of the victim. At the very least, their perspectives and views of that history will be very different. This is the environment that museums are operating in, and museums have a role in setting history within a framework relevant to multiple audiences. Museums are more and more presenting stories from different angles rather than the traditional single narrative of the old style school text book. At the very least, this is elevating history from a dour and sometimes irrelevant image to a more vibrant and living discipline. History as something that informs the present and can prepare us for the future is the history that museums must reveal in their public programs. In a sense, this is more an issue for the MAGNT of the future than of today. The history exhibitions at MAGNT are largely focused on Cyclone Tracy, an important event in the history of Darwin but not one laced with diverse views about what actually happened. If the MAGNT is able to expand its social history program in the future, then it will have to consider very seriously how it presents the history of the Territory and from which perspectives it tells the many stories that weave together to form that history. 4.9 Greater awareness and canniness in commercial activities The commercial imperative for museums has grown significantly over the past two decades. This has reflected a general reduction in government funding in real terms relative to the increase in costs of operations. As well, there is a philosophic foundation that suggests people do not value as much things they get for free. There has been in this period much debate within the museum sector regarding the relative merits of charging versus free general admissions (refer discussion in Section 3.3.7). Museums and art galleries now typically operate shops, cafes and venue activities (although these may be directly managed or leased); they charge admission to special exhibitions and experiences, even if their general admission is free; they operate or support various types of Friends/Membership Societies which have at least a partial role in income generation; they offer charged consultancies in their areas of expertise; they sell some types of data and images to commercial buyers; and run assorted other business related functions (such as the Documentary Unit of the Western Australian Museum). They enter into many and varied agreements and partnerships, formal and informal, that can generate funds otherwise unobtainable by the museum (this can include research grants such as ARC Linkage projects and commercial agreements such as the bioprospecting involvement of the MAGNT). The commercial activities of the MAGNT are discussed in various sections of this Review. In terms of this discussion, it can be said that the MAGNT is certainly aware of the need for income generation and has entered various arrangements and contracts