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Selected Museums Survey
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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DOCITA) (formerly the Department of Communications and the Arts), requested and funded the ABS to conduct a survey of small museums to measure the access to, and preservation and conservation of, Australia's heritage collections. DOCITA gave priority to this collection within the allocation of funds provided to the NCCRS.


    DOCITA had been concerned for some time about the lack of knowledge about heritage objects. Little was known about their physical condition and no national monitoring system was in place. Against this background, the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories held a workshop on Key Environmental Indicators for Natural and Cultural Heritage in May 1997. This workshop recommended 7 indicators on the condition of heritage collections. DOCITA were seeking to use these indicators as a guide to obtain a baseline on the condition of heritage collections for current initiatives and development of programs. The condition indicators are:

    • representativeness of collections: percentage of collections covering major themes;
    • access to collections: number of real and virtual visitors to museum collections or exhibitions;
    • adequacy of documentation: percentage of objects documented to industry standards;
    • electronic documentation: percentage of collections on an electronic database;
    • preservation of objects: percentage of collections stored in appropriate environmental conditions;
    • conservation of objects: proportion surveyed by trained conservators and requiring conservation, and number of trained conservators employed; and
    • representativeness of living collections: percentage of native flora and fauna in collections.

    The survey aimed to collect statistical information on most of these indicators.


    All museum locations excluding those within employing management units of Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) class Museums, 9220.


    Conceptual framework

    Not applicable

    Main outputs

    Geographic location, employment, volunteers, income, expenses, activity data (conservation and preservation measures, admissions, data on exhibitions, internet access, documentation of collections).

    Data breakdowns : by type of museum, by State,


    ANZSIC Class 9220, Museums. ANZSIC gives some examples of different types of museums but does not give a definition of 'museums'. Museums were categorised according to the categories on Australian Museum on Line (AMOL). AMOL includes zoos and botanical gardens but they were excluded from this survey.

    Types of museums:

    • historic site;
    • house museum;
    • social history museum and history display;
    • natural history and science museum;
    • transport (including maritime) museum;
    • Indigenous keeping place;
    • art museum, public gallery, art and craft display; and
    • other.

    Other concepts (summary)

    Data were collected on whether museums catalogue their museum objects according to Australian Museum on Line (AMOL) standards. These standards are the minimum documentation standards recommended by AMOL and are:

    • type of object;
    • creator (artist, maker, discoverer);
    • brief description or object title or specific name; and
    • item identification number.

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Once Only

    Frequency comments

    Once off user-funded survey.


    Not applicable for a one-off survey


    Data availability comments

    The only issue of Selected Museums, Australia (4145.0) was released on 8 June 1999.

    08/09/2004 06:00 PM

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