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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 59 6 A comparison of per square metre exhibition costs at the MAGNT relative to those of other institutions Exhibition development is a foundation activity of museums and galleries in supporting their core function of public programs that inform and entertain. Exhibition development includes several stages, from planning (concept brief and concept development), to approval (usually in several steps), content development (including text and graphics), object selection, appropriate treatment and preparation of objects before display, fabrication of the exhibition, installation and ongoing management and maintenance of the exhibition. Ideally, there is a parallel process of market research and evaluation. For touring exhibitions, there is also the cost of repeated dismantling, transport and re-installation. More and more museums are developing virtual packages to accompany and enhance the real exhibition; the internet is the ideal medium for such virtual packages. Each of these stages and any optional extras have associated costs. Art galleries and museums can mount very similar types of exhibition, where the objects are nearly the entire focus and are presented either on the wall for twodimensional pieces, or in display cabinets for delicate and valuable three-dimensional pieces. These are accompanied by text and perhaps some limited graphics. Art galleries can have permanent/long term galleries of destination art works (eg. the permanent display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales) but have most of their galleries supporting a changing program of exhibitions. Museums have a typically greater proportion of their galleries devoted to permanent/long term displays, with a commensurately greater investment in exhibition infrastructure and ancillary components such as multimedia and interactives (mechanical and/or computer). Thus, the costs of establishing exhibitions can be extremely variable, especially if comparing museum and art gallery exhibition budgets. The most commonly used comparator of long term museum exhibition costs is the cost per square metre of an exhibition, which should include a component for all the stages involved (as noted above). However, museums are not consistent in how they cost their exhibitions. There is considerable variation in costing the contribution of permanent staff; the salary costs of permanent curators and exhibition staff are rarely included in exhibition costings. Further, corporate overheads in exhibition development are also usually excluded from the exhibition development budget. Most museums and galleries cost an exhibition on the basis of dedicated costs such as contract staff, materials and fitout costs, and often (but not always) the costs of object preparation and conservation. It is often not possible to confirm precisely what has and has not been included in quoted exhibition costs. Box 20 shows a range of recent exhibition costings on a per square metre basis for several large museums in Australia. It must be interpreted with cognisance of the qualifications noted above. What is being attempted here is some reasonably informed comparison of the expenditure of the MAGNT on exhibitions, with similar exhibitions at other institutions. The comparisons are for long term exhibitions for which the per square metre costing is most valid. Art gallery exhibitions often rely on far less infrastructure as is noted above and the costs of hanging can be relatively minor even allowing changing gallery colours on occasion.