8560.0 - Museums, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2009   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


Sources of income

Employment and volunteers


At the end of June 2008 there were 1,184 museum/gallery organisations, operating from 1,456 locations across Australia. These organisations:

  • employed 7,856 people
  • generated income of $998.4m during the 2007-08 financial year
  • incurred expenses of $860.1m for the same period
  • had admissions of 30.7m people for the same period
  • held 52.5m objects in their collections.

The reader should bear in mind that this survey was not designed to support accurate estimates of change over time, and should exercise caution when comparing 2007-08 and 2003-04 results. For further information, refer to the Technical Note on historical comparisons.


During 2007-08 museums generated $998.4m in income.

The graph below shows that government funding was the main source of income for museums, accounting for almost two-thirds (65.9% or $657.8m) of total income. Of this government funding, most came from state/territory government, (62.2% of government funding or $409.2m) followed by federal government (31.2% of government funding or $205.4m). In 2007-08 local government funding accounted for 6.6% ($43.3m) of overall government funding.

Sources of income(a)
Graph: Sources of income(a)

Funding for one-off projects comprised 12.5% ($82.2m) of all government funding.

Fundraising income represented 10.6% ($106m) of total income. Donations to museums was the primary source of fundraising income for museums (62.5% or $66.3m), followed by financial sponsorships (12.5% or $13.2m). Bequests accounted for 2.1% (or $2.2m) of fundraising income.


At the end of June 2008, there were 7,856 people working in museums.

As shown in the graph below, the largest category of occupation was managers, administrators and clerical support workers, accounting for 35.1% (2,756 people) of total employment in museums at the end of June 2008. Museum or gallery attendants accounted for 21.2% (1,668 people) and curators 13.5% (1,062 people). Security officers accounted for 3% (238 people) of total employment.

Main activity of employed persons(a)
Graph: Main activity of employed persons(a)

Permanent full-time employees accounted for 45.2% (3,551 people) of total employment in museums. Casual and temporary employees comprised 35.5% (2,789 people), while 0.7% (or 57 people) were working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses.

Museums had 23,426 volunteers assisting with their operations during June 2008, working a total of 444,749 hours. This represented an average of 19 hours per volunteer for the month. Volunteers were more prevalent in museums with nil or low employment. Museums employing less than 20 people accounted for 77.4% of all volunteers and 83.8% of volunteer hours.