Posts Tagged ‘gallery’

New – National Standards for Australian Museum and Galleries – Version 1.2


Version 1.2 of the National Standards for Australian Museum and Galleries has been released with updated resources and links. The release of this latest version continues the Taskforce’s commitment to continually review the document so that it remains relevant to the needs of Australian museums. This document is intended to be freely available to all of Australia’s many museums. We use the term museum to represent all collecting organizations in the sector


Download The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries version 1.2 


The Standards are focused on key areas of activity common to organisations that care for collections and provide collection-based services to the community. They aim to support museums and galleries in carrying out their day-to-day activities, meeting their responsibilities, attracting support, and achieving their other organisational objectives.


The National Standards Taskforce (see Appendix B of the Standards Document) has developed the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries in consultation with the museums and galleries sector and with reference to current practice, existing core standards, development and accreditation programs. The result is an up-to-date set of agreed Standards that are broad in their scope and are designed to be an accessible tool for museums nationwide.


The three parts, nine Principles and thirty-nine Standards within the document capture and explain core industry standards and practices. Benchmarks, tips and resources provide guidance on attaining or researching specific Standards.


The Standards may be used to:
• Understand principles and standards of vital importance to museum development
and management.
• Identify what can be done towards meeting specific Standards.
• Review the museum. Staff or external reviewers might use one or all parts and/or Standards as a basis for a review of operations.
• Advocate for resources to meet Standards
to governing bodies, different levels of government, and departments, regarding museum needs such as equipment, facilities and staffing
• Gain leverage to enhance access to funding
by provide a rigorous context for funding applications.
• Help make the museum more sustainable.
by providing support or measurements for a museum’s commitment to this aim.
• Identify areas to improve.
by allowing museums to discover areas of
operation that could be initiated, developed or improved.
• Promote achievements within the museum through identifying, communicating, celebrating and promoting the benchmarks they have met.
• Raise the museum’s profile with local, state/territory or federal government.
through promotion and networking, as well as forward planning with reference to government strategies and policies.
• Enhance the museum’s credibility, recognition and status within its local community.
through long-term strategic planning and in positioning themselves within their local community.
• Increase community confidence in the capacity of the museum.


The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries are structured in three parts:
• Part A: Managing the Museum
• Part B: Involving People
• Part C: Developing a Significant Collection


For each of these areas of activity, this document presents five levels of information:
• Principles: the core principles of museum practice addressed by the National Standards
• Standards: the criteria to be met as museums put the Principles into action
• Benchmarks: points of reference to assist museums wishing to demonstrate that they are working towards meeting specific Standards
• Tips: practical pointers and suggestions relating to specific benchmarks
• Books and online publications and/or web pages: print publications and online resources relevant to museums activities encompassed by individual benchmarks
(for use in conjunction with Appendix E; all online resources are hyperlinked)


The first five appendixes contain at-a-glance reference information:
• Appendix A: What Is a Museum? – extended definition of a museum, developed
by Museums Australia
• Appendix B: The National Standards Taskforce – information about the nine
organisations represented on the National Standards Taskforce
• Appendix C: Key Acronyms – a list of acronyms used in this document
• Appendix D: Glossary – concise definitions of key terms used in this document
• Appendix E: Resources – full bibliographical details for all print publications and
online resources referenced in this document.


Collecting organisations of all kinds are invited to use the National Standards framework as a practical point of reference, and are encouraged to continue providing feedback, contributing their insights, and reporting on their experiences, as the Standards continue to be developed (see Appendix F).


Contact details for Taskforce members in each state and territory are provided on the website of Collections Australia Network (CAN), the host site for the National Standards, and in Appendix F.


Importantly, the Standards offer museums opportunities for development long term, and can help them to identify priorities and develop policies, plans and procedures that will allow them to manage their activities effectively and to achieve their goals.


Benchmarks identified in this document can be incorporated into a museum’s planning in manageable stages, as resources become available.


Post by National Standards Taskforce, Australia, November 2011


Arts & Culture in Australia: Statistical Overview (Part 1)

Keyboard, photograph by Geoff Barker, 2010

On the 19 October the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published its 8th Australian Bureau of Statistics report on Arts and Culture in Australia. Drawn from a range of sources, including the CAN-Partners list of Museums and Galleries. It is an attempt to provide a unified body of information relating to the those industries defined as being in the ‘Heritage’ or ‘Arts’ sector.

This post is my attempt to compile a bit of an overview of this rather lengthy report and hopefully encourage others to plumb its depths to drag out some of the interesting stats to be found in it. The main area that attracted my attention was Part B Profiles of the Cultural Sectors – 8.0 Museums, 10.0 Libraries and Archives, 12.0 Performing Arts, 13.0 Music & 14.0 Visual Arts and Crafts.

The first thing I noted from the table on page 11 – AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON SELECTED CULTURE AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES – was that in 2006 the GLAM sectors main competitor for leisure activity was still the TV with Australians over 15 spending just under 3 hours each day watching or listening to TV. The most popular cultural venue was the cinema and this perhaps accounts for the table noting that Australians spent triple the length of time visiting entertainment and cultural venues than they did attending Sports Events, although presumably many, like myself, tend to vegetate at home and watch the event on TV. Also I wasn’t sure if this included Australians visiting overseas events.

But even so it is an interesting statistic given the general perception that Australians would prefer to attend a sporting event rather than a cultural one. The reason for this is perhaps the definition of cultural venues which include 36% visiting zoological parks and aquariums 34% percent visiting local, state and national libraries, 34% visiting botanic gardens, and 25% visiting a popular music concert. Art galleries and Museums were next in line in terms of attendance.

It should also be noted that across the board women were more likely to attend a cultural venue with the visit to the library showing the largest discrepancy. In 2006, the ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey found that reading was a favourite activity for 61% of people aged over 15 years. The activity was a favourite for 73% of females surveyed – compared with this sad indicator my genders general bookish interests – 50% of males.

Strangely in the period leading up to middle age (i.e. 44), people were more likely to visit museums and after this Art Galleries assumed the ascendance. I was surprised because of it is often the museum that is associated with the older market and the Art Gallery with the younger one … Hmmmmm? Also noted that Museums tended to get more one-off visits while galleries, libraries get more repeat visits.

The second table discussed is the 2009 OVERSEAS CULTURAL AND HERITAGE VISITORS. Arranged by activity we find 57% attending Museums and Art Galleries but the greatest number 62% visit historical/heritage buildings, sites or monuments. I’m thinking the Sydney Opera House and other major heritage building may have been responsible for quite a few of these however.

Australians took around 66 million overnight visits and 9.3 million of these visited: the theatre, a concert, performing arts, museum, art gallery, Art, craft workshops, festivals, fair, cultural event, Aboriginal displays site or community, or a historical/heritage building, site or monument.

When it comes to government funding the main part of Federal revenue, $1,391,100,000 goes to Radio and TV services while State and Territory Government spends the most on Performing Arts venues $241,200,000. By comparison table 4.1 with 2008-2009 figures shows

Heritage Expenditure by Australian Government in millions followed by %
Archives 105.4
Libraries 60.0
Environmental heritage 207.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 266.0
Art museums 91.5
Total heritage 729.8

Heritage Expenditure by State and territory Government in millions
Archives 65.9
Libraries 337.4
Environmental heritage 1,397.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 338.3
Art museums 175.2
Total heritage 2 313.8

Arts Expenditure by Australian Government in millions
Other arts 136.3
Multimedia 6.2
Film and video production and distribution 115.5
Radio and television services 1,391.1
Design 0.2
Visual arts and crafts 33.4
Music composition and publishing 0.7
Performing arts venues __
Other performing arts 7.0
Music theatre and opera 24.0
Dance 21.6
Drama 28.3
Music performance 59.3
Literature and print media 31.2
Total arts 1 854.7

Arts Expenditure by State and Territory Government in millions
Other arts 124.2
Multimedia 5.9
Film and video production and distribution 122.7
Radio and television services 1.7
Design 4.9
Visual arts and crafts 41.1
Music composition and publishing 0.5
Performing arts venues 241.2
Other performing arts 34.6
Music theatre and opera 16.9
Dance 18.2
Drama 30.1
Total state and territory government 3 033.7

Totals for Heritage and Arts expenditure were as follows: Australian Government 2,584.500,00 and State and Territory Government 3,033,700,000.

There are % figures on this but I have not included them as I wasn’t sure how they were worked out but if any one else can work out how they are arrived at please let me know.

I’ll leave it here for now and try to get out Part 2 on the report next week. All the best Geoff.


Public / Private collaborations II

The relationship between public collector and private institution generated a wonderful discussion in CAN-notices last week. We opened up that dialogue in the previous post but here we will look more closely at the reasons why it causes such controversy.

The main issues are:
1. What kind of connections are appropriate between private collectors and public museums?
2. To what extent do public institutions depend on valuable private collections?
3. Should private collectors use public institutions to build their own reputations?
4. Or is the real issue that private collectors do not need the not-for-profit sector and can hold their own exhibitions in the commercial spaces?  

Directors of galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are focused on developing strategic relations with private collectors and philanthropists. GLAMs have been built on donations by private interests for centuries. The United States-based Association of Art Museum Directors published an article in January 2007 titled Museums, private collectors and the public benefit supporting public and private partnerships. AAMD believe private collectors and philanthropists are responsible for the ‘unprecedented growth of art museums.’ To ensure our cultural institutions grow, museum directors must be focused on ‘the development and cultivation of strategic relationships’. The flaw in this argument is that institutions become reliant on the commercial sector. This global recession has made many GLAMs reconfigure their funding models.

The Art Newspaper says that while the strong relationships built between wealthy art collectors and museums in the 19th century were taken for granted, recently questions have been raised about the kind of connections that are appropriate. Last year, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art courted controversy when it hosted an exhibition of comedian Cheech Marin’s private collection of works by Chicano painters. Online blogger Hoogrrl suggested: ‘He (Cheech Marin) should direct his efforts at helping LACMA mount a Chicano art show that is curated and scholarly instead of a mere exhibition of his own collection, which I understand is not the best representation of Chicano art anyway and may actually diminish the importance of this these artists in the history of contemporary art. The mission of a public institution is going to be different from that of an individual, therefore, individual collectors should find creative ways to show their collections and promote their goals by using private funds, in private settings.’

The Leipzig Museum of Contemporary Art director Barbara Steiner plans to follow LACMA’s initiative and host a series of shows by private collectors rather than curate the exhibitions using their works as a foundation. She says it is ‘open experiment in the way that public and private resources can be used together.’ Steiner believes it does not blur the boundaries between public and commercial interests but sheds light on the issue that private museums are increasingly ‘manouvering public institutions out of the limelight’.

Munich’s Haus der Kunst director Dr Dercon argues: ‘You can raise questions about public and private museums, but what we need to discuss is the usurping of intellectual power by the commercial world.’

Collectors give the public access to some of the world’s finest masterpieces but public institutions need to work together to better define their benefactor’s role. Hooggrrl agrees with Dercon that the modern issue lies with private institutions. ‘The “undue” influence of collectors and dealers is less of a threat than the noticeable tendency for these parties to lose interest in public institutions. If a director feels the influence of a collector or dealer in a particular proposal is too great, then he or she should simply say “no”. The real problem is that private collectors no longer feel the need to put pressure on museums to gain influence over them. They simply build their own exhibition spaces and appoint directors of their choice. This loss of interest is slowly manoeuvring public art institutions out of public visibility and away from social recognition.’

Here are several examples of cross-sector collaborations in Australia:
Case study 1: The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney is an example of a private not-for-profit institution in Australia. Its mission statement is to exhibit significant works not easily accommodated in private galleries, contemporary art spaces or the museum sector’.

Case study 2: Larrakitj, Kerry Stokes Collection and the Art Gallery of Western Australia
The Art Gallery of Western Australia presented the exhibition of Indigenous sculptures Larrakitj from the Kerry Stokes Collection. It was curated by the Kerry Stokes Collection associate curator Anne Brody.

Case study 3: John Kaldor and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
In 1995 the MCA exhibited John Kaldor’s private collection, John Kaldor Public Art Projects and Collection, to coincide with an exhibition of Jeff Koon’s work and the latest Kaldor art project, Puppy.

Case Study 4: James Fairfax and the Art Gallery of NSW
One of this country’s greatest philanthropists James Fairfax donated his entire European art collection to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2003 transforming the gallery’s collection. Works by van Ruisdael, Rubens, Canaletto, Claude, Boucher, Amigoni, Domenico, Tiepolo, van Mieris and drawings by Ingres, Watteau, Fragonard and Greuze have been displayed in the galleries that bear his name.

The gallery’s press release says, ‘These gifts have enriched the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW and provided impetus and direction to the development of this previously under-represented aspect of the Gallery’s collection … The quality and distinction of the works he has acquired would grace any of the world’s great public institutions.’

Sarah Rhodes