MUSEUMS RELY ON VOLUNTEERS
Volunteers continue to be the mainstay of Australian museums and art galleries, according to the recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics publication, Museums, Australia, 2003-04, which revealed that volunteers outnumbered paid employees by a ratio of almost 3:1.
The publication shows that during June 2004, an army of 20,443 volunteers worked a total of 343,139 hours in museums and art galleries throughout Australia - an average of almost 17 hours per person over the course of the month. These volunteers worked alongside 7,624 paid employees, of whom 4,291 (56% ) worked full-time, 3,252 (43%) part-time, and 81 (1%) were working proprietors and partners.
The Australian public were clearly appreciative of the fruits of these labours, with the 1,329 museums and art galleries recording more than 31 million admissions for 2003-04. Although the majority of admissions were free (66%), paid admissions still generated $56m or 6% of the total income of $919m.
Museums and art galleries derived the bulk of their income from government funding (68% or $628m), while fundraising (10% or $89m) and the sale of goods (5% or $50m) also made substantial contributions to their viability.
On the other side of the ledger, expenses for 2003-04 totalled $810m, with the main items being labour costs at $320m (40%), depreciation and amortisation at $99m (12%), exhibition or display development costs at $32m (4%) and purchases at $27m (3%).
Further information is available in Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0), which is freely available on the ABS Web site.