Museums are naturally dynamic places that evolve over time. All museums regularly undertake review and evaluation of their galleries and related programs as part of normal business. This crucial work helps museums refine strategic priorities and develop new projects to meet their target outcomes.
In January 2003, the Council of the National Museum of Australia established a panel to review the Museum's exhibitions and public programs. The panel - Professor John Carroll (chair), Mr Richard Longes, Dr Philip Jones and Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich - reported to Council on 15 July 2003.
The Review of Exhibitions and Public Programs (2003) presented a vision and suggestions for the Museum's further development. While endorsing the Museum's achievements since opening in 2001, the review also identified key issues to be addressed in the future. Many of its suggestions were in line with the Museum's own planning and work processes. Others provided the opportunity for further refinement of the organisation's strategic aims and objectives.
Over the course of the past financial year, the National Museum has developed a Collections and Gallery Development Plan to address these issues. The plan, endorsed by the Museum's Council in November 2003, outlines an integrated approach to gallery enhancement, collections development and research over the next four years. Museum staff were involved in contributing ideas to the final document. They have also participated in planning forums with internal and external stakeholders and developed schedules for major projects to:
- improve navigation and wayfinding throughout exhibition galleries
- refurbish and enhance permanent exhibitions with new panels and displays
- begin redevelopment of a new presentation for the Circa theatre
- detail new exhibition concepts for the Nation and Horizons galleries
- develop a new acquisitions program to enhance the National Historical Collection
- develop a research plan to heighten the Museum's standing as a centre for scholarship and ideas.
Implementation of the Collections and Gallery Development Plan will improve the delivery of key outputs and, through this, enhance the Museum as a pre-eminent cultural institution serving the nation.