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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 70 generating external funds to support activities, such as research, may conceivably generate more funds in future but this income is usually heavily tied to the research outputs themselves. An immediate question to pose is whether or not there are any readily identifiable products that the MAGNT is currently delivering that are not appropriate to a state museum and art gallery. As is discussed in this Report, particularly in Sections 3 and 4, the MAGNTs programs accord well with those of other state museums in Australia and efforts are being made to align them with broader tends in museum services in this country and internationally. There is no major area of MAGNT activity that one would identify as being unusual for a state museum or gallery to deliver. Indeed, there are some areas of activities that other museums are pioneering or now regarding as staple that the MAGNT does not do to any extent. Although the absolute number of its visitors is at the lower end of the range for state museums in Australia, the MAGNT is attracting a high visitation relative to the population size of the Northern Territory. Significantly, visitation has defied the downward trend in tourist numbers in recent years (refer Section 3.3.3). While this is obviously a good outcome, this type of success comes at a cost. More visitors mean more wear-and-tear on facilities, galleries and exhibitions*. With free-for-entry sites such as the MAGNT at Bullocky Point, increased visitation (30% in the last year) does not generate a commensurate increase in revenue to compensate for the additional costs. There is likely to be some correlating increase in turnover in the shop but it would be optimistic to expect shop returns to match the wear-and-tear on facilities. *The best longevity of facilities is via the Yes Minister scenario a functioning hospital with no patients or a museum with no visitors. Current funding is likely to result in a continued decline in the museums infrastructure (buildings, exhibitions, internal fittings etc). While not old (by museum standards), the 1981 buildings at Bullocky Point are showing the inevitable impacts of more than 20 years in a tropical maritime climate. Maintenance costs will continue to increase. While the site does not have extreme safety issues such as asbestos contamination which has plagued some other museums (eg. recent closure of a major public and staff building at the Western Australian Museums Perth site), various reports including the Internal Review March 2004 have collated issues that relate to risks to visitors, staff and collections. Addressing issues relating to the car park/precinct, offices/laboratories and collection storage will require capital works funding (see below). Some operational improvements to collection storage have freed up space but it will be only an interim delay to inevitable overcrowding. In an operational sense, it will be difficult on the current budget to attend in a substantial way to any of the risk management issues above. Visitor utility at current levels has a number of limitations. The Internal Review March 2004 discusses the current visitor experience at some length. A few points are noted here. The entry foyer while not unduly small is rather awkwardly shaped for multiple uses. There is no real space to orientate the visitor before entering galleries or for large groups to gather. There are staff concerns about the size and location of the shop, but in the Consultants view, while not large, the shop is not so badly