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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 49 Certain museums have established specialised areas of strength. For example, a number of museums have special evolutionary units which undertake enzyme and DNA analysis on tissue samples. The South Australian Museum, Australian Museum and Museum Victoria are notable in this regard. Many museums are developing large frozen tissue collections which are not a significant part of the MAGNTs holdings. The Museum Victoria has recently established a Science Communication stream within its science program, to study the processes of science communication in an informal learning environment (such as museums). The Queensland Museum has a research and collection stream in parasitic protozoans, rather atypical for museum holdings. Box 16 also illustrates that the natural science of the MAGNT is in keeping with the disciplinary activities of other museums. That is, there is nothing about the broad disciplinary coverage of research at the MAGNT that would raise questions as to why the museum should be pursuing such streams. The Northern Territory covers 1.35 million square kilometres and has 7,200 kilometres of coastline that abut one of the biologically richest regions of the world. Australia is itself a mega-diverse country in terms of its biological assemblages. Museums and herbaria remain the primary institutions for biosystematic* research in this country and overseas. The need for MAGNT research in taxonomy and the recognition of its importance was evident from the responses of external stakeholders in the interviews undertaken for this Review (refer Appendix 4). *Biosystematics is the study of the evolution and relationships of species of plants and animals. Taxonomy is the descriptive subset of this broader field. Thirdly, Box 16 shows that if anything, the MAGNT has a slightly narrower range of natural science disciplines covered by its research staff than most of the state museums. Setting aside relative sizes of the institutions and their constituencies, it could be said that the MAGNT is less equipped and resourced to provide an acceptable range of taxonomic coverage than are other state museums. The only museum with fewer staff engaged with natural science research and collections is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. (It should be noted that in Tasmania, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, run by Launceston City Council, also has collections in geology, zoology and botany and undertakes some research in zoology especially in freshwater invertebrates. In the Northern Territory, there is no similar overlap between the MAGNT and another museum or like body.) As is noted above, museum researchers are expected to channel the results of their research into a variety of communications. Some of this communication is of a scientific nature and published in refereed journals and presented at professional conferences. Museums, arguably more than universities, regard the communication of science to a broader public as a fundamental role, and this like all things is done better by some researchers than others. As is noted by Travers et al in their 2003 review of the Natural History Museum (London), objective evaluation of research is a notoriously difficult subject . Their study of the NHM reinforced the importance of taxonomic research undertaken by museums. As a measure of scholarly output, they compared the number of refereed publications of NHM research staff in a given year (2001/02) with the output of staff from several United Kingdom universities. Their finding was that the NHM compares