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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 61 MAGNTs allocation to exhibitions on a square metre basis is low. There is only one major long term/permanent gallery that the MAGNT has been able to develop in the past five years, that being the Transformations Gallery (natural science). This was opened in December 2001. The gallery occupies 330 square metres and the exhibition had a $230,000 budget from Minor New Works. This covered dedicated costs noted above; curatorial and exhibition staff input was not costed. This translates to a per square metre cost of $697. Generally, eastern states museums aim to spend around four times that amount on a long term exhibition. (Note: This is an average figure for what those museums would regard as an acceptable result. To that extent, it is really something of a minimum target budget for long term exhibitions. Actual allocations to certain exhibitions can be much higher. For example, some parts of the National Museum of Australia exhibitions approached $10,000 per square metre in cost.) The WA Museum is somewhere in between with a wide range in long term exhibition budgets ($730-2,400 per square metre). In the case of the WAM, the higher exhibition budgets have been possible where a significant dedicated capital fund was available, either from Government or from a sponsor. When advising museums today as to what is a reasonable budget to allocate to exhibition development, the Consultant advises that somewhere around $3000 per square metre should be a target figure for a basic but quality fitout. It is certainly possible to deliver an exhibition for less but if quality fittings and display furniture are to be used (for longevity and possible reuse) and some multimedia and drawer/interactive systems included, then the $3000 per square metre is a good baseline figure. If more extensive sophisticated techniques are used, the costs can be higher (indeed, much higher). If resources permit, future MAGNT exhibitions should apply a similar budget. The quality of outcome achieved in Transformations is high given the funding level. At this budget level, options such as multimedia and interactives are not possible but the MAGNT staff have delivered a visually pleasing exhibition, quite rich in collection objects and with a mix of interpretive styles. Audience exit surveys since June 2002 have yielded a 92-95% rating of good to very good for the exhibition, which is a more than acceptable response given the small size of the budget. The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award is mounted by the MAGNT each year. Of the total available budget of $244-264,000 ($50-70,000 from the MAGNT; $194,000 from Telstra), the actual expenditure on installing the exhibition is very low, around $15,000 (for display furniture, development, framing, graphics and hanging/demount) (2004/05 budget allocation, MAGNT). No more than this can be afforded. The profile and significance of this event is high but the MAGNT is finding it increasingly difficult to assign a workable budget to the NATSIAA. Various elements are under-funded and no additional staff can be employed to oversight the event causing significant stress on existing staff and resources. As is noted elsewhere in this Review, the MAGNT does not have any virtual exhibitions. Development of this type of product should be considered as part of the redesigned web presence. For examples of state-of-the-art virtual products that complement and expand the audience experience of the real exhibitions on display,