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Management of Museums and Collections Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Objectives

(1) This Policy outlines the management of University museums and collections.

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Section 2 - Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Term Definition
Collection The body of acquired objects held in title by The University of Queensland. The University may delegate its responsibilities for collection management to an organisational unit. The unit accordingly becomes an authorised repository established to care for and advance knowledge of the collection.
Collection management A term encompassing all of the practices and procedures implemented by the University in acquiring, documenting, handling, accessing, exhibiting, storing, securing, lending, conserving and disposing of collection items.
Museum The Museums Australia Constitution (2002) defines a ‘museum’ as an institution with the following characteristics:

”A museum helps people understand the world by using objects and ideas to interpret the past and present and explore the future. A museum preserves and researches collections, and makes objects and information accessible in actual and virtual environments. Museums are established in the public interest as permanent, not-for-profit organisations that contribute long-term value to communities.”
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Section 3 - Policy Scope/Coverage

(2) This Policy applies to any object, group of objects or entire holdings of a museum or collection (either recognised or not) at The University of Queensland.

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

(3) The University of Queensland recognises the responsibility to manage museums and collections according to national and international standards for Australian museums and galleries.

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Section 5 - Recognition Criteria

(4) Senate grants the recognition of either a museum or collection and devolves management responsibilities to the Faculty, Institute or Division.

(5) The criteria for recognition of a museum or collection are outlined below. For a museum or collection to be eligible for recognition, it must satisfy at least one of the primary criteria or both of the secondary criteria.

(6) Primary Criteria:

  1. EITHER the museum or collection has a significant teaching, learning and/or research function recognised by the University, Faculty or Institute;
  2. OR there are historical, philanthropic, legal or other circumstances that led to the collection being in existence and which require it to continue.

(7) Secondary Criteria:

  1. The museum/collection has a wider scientific, cultural etc. significance at local, national or international levels; 
  2. AND it has an important community service function, including teaching, learning and research links with outside bodies.
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Section 6 - Management Principles

(8) The University endorses the principles as outlined in the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries (Version 1.2 November 2011) as a guideline for the management of museums and collections.

National Standards Principle A1: Legal and Management Framework

(9) The collection and museum has a sound legal and management framework that follows recognised museum ethics and protocols.

(10) Supporting Standards:

  1. The museum is properly constituted;
  2. the museum has a governing or managing body that takes overall responsibility for the museum;
  3. the museum maintains contact with relevant peak bodies and networks;
  4. the museum operates in accordance with a recognised code of museum ethics;
  5. the museum abides by international, national and state/territory protocols relating to museum practice, moveable heritage, and heritage places and fabric;
  6. the museum complies with Australian federal, state/territory and local laws, by-laws and regulations.

National Standards Principle A2: Management Systems

(11) The museum is effectively managed, sustainable and publicly accountable.

(12) Supporting Standards:

  1. The museum has a written Statement of Purpose;
  2. the museum works to formal, written policies and procedures that cover its management, responsibilities, programs and services, and reflect its Statement of Purpose;
  3. the museum has a viable, current forward plan that covers all aspects of museum operations;
  4. the museum uses an effective information and records management system;
  5. the museum uses sound financial management and reporting practices and procedures, and is financially viable;
  6. the museum identifies and assesses risks and has strategies in place to manage them.

National Standards Principle A3: Museum Staff

(13) The museum manages its workers to make the best use of their skills and knowledge, and to achieve the museum’s purpose.

(14) Supporting Standards:

  1. The museum defines its key roles and tasks, and recruits and appoints suitable people for specific roles;
  2. the museum defines and communicates the duties, rights and responsibilities of the museum and its workers;
  3. the museum acknowledges that museum work involves special skills, and gives workers opportunities to acquire or enhance these skills.

National Standards Principle A4: Facility

(15) The museum is a secure, well-managed facility that presents a positive public image.

(16) Supporting Standards:

  1. The museum has security of tenure for its premises;
  2. the museum dedicates appropriate spaces to all activities;
  3. the museum conserves, maintains, protects, exhibits and documents its assets.
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Section 7 - Financial Management

Budget Allocations

(17) The recurrent budget allocation and responsibility of a museum or collection rests with the University, Faculty, Institute or Division.

(18) Museums and collections are entitled to apply to the University’s capital funds via the Faculty/Institute or Division.

(19) Museums and collections are entitled to apply to the Research Infrastructure Fund to support their research support functions.

(20) Special funding allocations may be considered and authorised by the Vice-Chancellor on a case-by-case basis.

External Funding

(21) Faculties/Institutes and Divisions are encouraged to generate income for museums and collections through external funding, commercial activities, fundraising, and sponsorship (consistent with University policies and procedures on fundraising and in collaboration with the Advancement and Community Engagement Office).

Entrance Fees

(22) Museums and collections are permitted to charge for group visits (e.g. school visits) where services are provided (such as guidance, explanation etc.) which involve a cost. This should be recognised in the annual budget development for the museum/collection. Otherwise entry fees are not deemed appropriate.

Proceeds from Disposal

(23) If disposal of items takes place (according to the accompanying procedures on de-accessioning and disposal), proceeds from such disposal should be returned to the museum/collection to assist with collection development.

(24) Disposition of funds arising from disposal of an entire (non-recognised) collection would need to be discussed between the Executive Dean/Institute Director/Division Director and the Vice-Chancellor.

(25) Collections should not be sold off or culled as a means of providing funds to support recurrent Faculty/Institute, Division activities or museum operations.