4145.0 - Selected Museums, Australia, 1997-98  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/06/1999   
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June 08, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australia's selected museums - ABS survey

Survey results released today show that most people visiting a selected range of museums during 1997-98 were admitted free. There were 9.8 million free admissions (74% of all admissions) to the 1,473 museums surveyed.

The survey was conducted for the first time by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with funding from the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. It complements an ABS survey of 'major' museums conducted for the period 1996-97. The 1997-98 survey focused on museums which did not employ staff or were only a part of a larger (non-museum) organisation.

In total, there were 13.3 million admissions or an average of 9,100 per selected museum. The average price for 3.5 million paid admissions was $2.29.

In addition to 779 social history museums/displays, the selected museums included 195 art and craft museums, displays and public galleries, 283 historic places housing heritage collections open to the public, 117 transport and maritime museums, 84 natural history and science museums/displays and 15 Indigenous keeping places.

In June 1998, 15,640 volunteers provided 131,000 hours of their time and 2,027 proprietors and government or corporate employees worked 161,000 hours.

Of the selected museums, 79% had less than 5,000 museum objects of which just over two-thirds were on display for public viewing. At 30 June 1998, 27% of these museums had had their collections assessed for their aesthetic, historic, scientific or social value. Just over 1% of the museum objects received some conservation or preservation treatment during 1997-98. While 19% of objects had been documented, only 2% were on a computer database.

During 1997-98, 3,783 exhibitions and displays were developed for either permanent or temporary display of at least two weeks.

At 30 June 1998, 12% of the selected museums had their own Internet web site and 30% were listed in the Directory of Australian Museums on the Australian Museums on Line (AMOL) Internet site http://amol.org.au.

Details can be found in Selected Museums, Australia (cat. no. 4145.0) available in all ABS bookshops. A summary of the main findings are also available on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the main findings. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.