Photo: Vincent Tantardini, courtesy of Unsplash.

Operations, management & governance

Running an organisation can be a big undertaking. Use these resources to get a handle on operational procedures, management and governance.

Management & planning

Museum Methods: a practical manual for managing small museums and galleries 

A comprehensive workbook and manual for small museums and galleries. Used in conjunction with several state-based Standards review programs. Last revised 2002. 

Museum management

These resources by the Western Australian Museum cover topics such as: museum planning, access, policy frameworks for museums, ethics, insurance, public relations, and performance indicators.

The Burra Charter 

The Burra Charter provides a best practice standard for managing cultural heritage places in Australia. Published by the International Council of Monuments and Sites, 2013.

Risk management fact sheet 

This fact sheet will help you to develop a risk management policy and systems to implement it. Developed by Museums & Galleries Queensland, 2012.  

Just because it’s old: museums and galleries in heritage buildings 

This publication will help you understand the issues involved in setting up a museum, and the problems and advantages of using an old or heritage building. Written by Museums and Galleries Foundation of NSW, 2004.   

Conservation management plans guideline 

This guide is designed to help owners and managers of heritage places create and use a conservation management plan. It is applicable to both private and publicly-owned heritage places. Written by the Queensland Government, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, 2015. 

Starting or improving a museum

Before you decide to start a museum, it is recommended you investigate all options and alternatives available to your collection, knowledge and resources. Document written by AMaGA Victoria, 2021.

Planning a new museum: how good is your idea? 

You have a great idea for a museum and you’re keen to start one. But how do you put that idea to the test? This guide aims to help you decide whether you can turn your dream into a sustainable and financially secure reality. Published by National Services Te Paerangi, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2007.  

New museum toolkit 

This advice by Museums Galleries Scotland, UK includes: starting a museum, first steps, governing museums, running a museum, connecting with visitors, and developing and caring for collections.  

Planning a regional gallery 

This resource includes a checklist of things that should be considered when planning a new gallery, including creating a development strategy; site and design considerations; gallery functions; security; fire preventions; environmental control and lighting; power, data supply and wifi; storage of artwork; artwork care and conservation; administration, curatorial and research; education and membership; theatrette; gallery friends/society and volunteers; entry, cloakroom and amenities; loading dock and general store; public address and audio systems; operational expenditure items and income opportunities; income; private support; and government support. Written by Museums & Galleries of NSW.  

How to form a local historical society 

How do you go about establishing a local historical society? This guide covers key points to get you ready to form your own society. By Manitoba Historical Society.  

Strategic planning for museums and galleries 

Strategic planning involves defining where you are today, and where you want to go in the future. It helps you to communicate your aims and objectives, identify priorities and define your short and long-term goals. Resource by Museums & Galleries of NSW.  

Forward planning template 

You can use this template to make forward plans and take into account what is likely to happen or will be needed for your organisation in the future. Template by Australian Museums and Galleries Association (Victoria) as part of the Museum Accreditation Program, 2007.  

Succession planning guide and workbook 

This guide and workbook are designed to assist historical societies and heritage groups to survive and thrive into the future. Guide and workbook by The Federation of Australian Historical Societies. 

The Book of the Board: Effective governance for non-profit organisations

This book provides clear guidance on the role of the NFP board, formal and legal responsibilities, and the ways in which the board can maximise its effectiveness for the organisation. By David Fishel, 3rd edition, 2014.


ICOM code of ethics for museums 

The International Council of Museums’ code reflects principles generally accepted by the international museum community. Revised 2017.  

Creative equity toolkit 

The Creative Equity Toolkit provides an action-oriented approach to increasing cultural diversity in the arts.

Children in art protocols

The Australia Council for the Arts has developed these protocols to address the depiction of children in artworks, exhibitions and publications. Revised May 2010.  

Code of ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research 

Published in 2020 by Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), this document outlines four principles that underpin ethical Australian Indigenous research; these are: Indigenous self-determination, Indigenous leadership, impact and value, and sustainability and accountability. Each principle frames a set of responsibilities for researchers, institutions and review bodies when conducting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. 

Guideline for managing ethical issues relating to serious misconduct by an artist 

This document sets out the principles that Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art will apply to ensure ethical decision making when an artist connected in some way with the Gallery is either suspected of engaging or show to have engaged in serious misconduct, including criminal activity. Approved by the Queensland Art Gallery Board of Trustees, 2019.  

Collections Law

This online publication, authored by Shane Simpson, focuses on the subject of the business and law of public collecting organisations in Australia. It is intended that it be a suitable reference guide for public museums, libraries, archives and galleries in Australia.

Subjects covered include: institutional structures, collection management, exhibitions, copyright, merchandising, duty of care, and conflicts of interest.

Updated 2012.

Museum insurance explained simply

Museum insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Arthur J Gallagher has created this simple cheat sheet that explains the types of insurance policies you can have, who they cover, and how they help your organisation or business.

Legal requirements: insurance and compliance 

This resource is for museums, art galleries and Indigenous keeping places and includes: legal implications; copyright; health, workplace, or environmental regulations; zoning or building code requirements; access; heritage act; environmental planning and assessment; fire access and safety; insurance, working with children; and collection and object-related compliance. Resource by Museums & Galleries of NSW.  

Galleries & Museums: Introduction to copyright

This information sheet by The Australian Copyright Council is for staff and volunteers in collecting institutions such as galleries and museums. Resource updated 2017.

Online collections copyright

This resource, produced by Victorian Collections provides general advice about copyright duration and the appropriateness of online publication. Resource updated 2021.

A toolbox for handling copyright issues in museums and galleries

This article was published by Museums Galleries Australia Magazine, Volume. 26, 2017 and covers how the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (the Act) applies to material in collections.

Fundraising, sponsorship & philanthropy

Fundamentals of arts fundraising

Championed by eight Australian arts fundraising and development professionals, the videos share their expertise and hands-on experience to assist fundraisers of all levels to achieve their fundraising goals and help them to build a sustainable arts organisation. Videos by Creative Partnerships Australia.

Creative Partnerships Australia guides and fact sheets

Guides, fact sheets and other tools for success and sustainability; from terminology and definitions to instructional blueprints for financial and business matters.

Bequests template 

The Federation of Australian Historical Societies has prepared a flyer template to assist historical societies’ members and supporters to leave a legacy in their Will. 


Tax guide for arts organisations

Creative Partnerships Australia has worked with the Australian Tax Office to produce this handy guide to the formalities associated with receiving philanthropic income. Updated 2019.

Tax basics for non-profit organisations

Written by The Australian Taxation Office, this document is a guide to tax issues affecting non-profit organisations including charities, clubs, societies and associations.

How GST works

A simple video and guide by the Australian Taxation Office about Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Staff & volunteers

Position information and career pathways

This resource explores some of the key positions in the museum and gallery sector and includes information such as: duties, qualifications and personal attributes, salary summaries and case studies. Resource by Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA).

Assessing skills and training needs 

Understand how the skills of the people who work with your collections can best be used to help the organisation meet its objectives; be able to assess the skills of your people in a simple and supportive way; and be able to match the skills of your people with the requirements of your organisation and identify any training needs. Written by reCollections (page 21).

Queensland Government fair work ombudsman

This government website gives you information and advice about workplace rights and obligations.

Committee Members’ responsibilities 

This guide outlines the roles and responsibilities of Committee Board Members. By the Federation of Australian Historical Societies.  

Designing volunteer roles and position descriptions  

Designing roles and position descriptions for volunteers can be a simple process and this toolkit has exercises and templates to help you. By Volunteering Australia.  

The national standards for volunteer involvement 

The National Standards has been developed in consultation with the volunteering sector to support the involvement of volunteers and act as a resource for organisations in which volunteers are involved. Published by Volunteering Australia, 2015.  

101 ways to recognise your volunteers 

There are many ways you can recognise your volunteers for their remarkable spirit of giving. By Volunteering Australia.

Engaging volunteers for your arts organisation

This guide by Creative Partnerships Australia aims to assist arts organisations to understand the basics of arts volunteering: from identifying the best type of volunteer for their organisation, to establishing a volunteer management program and avenues for recruiting volunteers that align with your organisation’s values.

Engaging millennial volunteers 

Millennials account for over 50% of the global workforce. Millennials seek a sense of purpose, and this desire informs their decision when seeking employment. Published by Volunteering Queensland 2015.  

Willing & Able: recruiting, managing and retaining volunteers in museums and galleries 

This handbook has been designed to provide both volunteers and volunteer leaders in museums with a broader understanding of why a new approach to volunteer management is vital to the viability of their museum. Published by Museums Australia (Queensland) and Regional Galleries Association of Queensland, 2002.  

Volunteer succession planning 

There are four key areas of activity within which volunteer succession planning can be put into action: strategic planning, valuing volunteers, developing a cultural ethos, the public face of the museum. Written by Museums & Galleries of NSW.  

Volunteer succession planning: Skills audit template

To understand the issues associated with volunteer succession planning, this skills audit helps you document which skills your organisation has and to define what skills it needs to acquire. By Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Managing volunteers 

Understand why people volunteer; the importance of effective volunteer management; the importance of a team approach; the need for clear, common goals; the potential advantages of having volunteers in your organisation. Written by reCollections (page 39). 

Further assistance

M&G QLD Consultant & Supplier Register 

M&G QLD’s Consultant and Supplier Register is a comprehensive list of museum and gallery sector specialists, both Queensland-based and nationally. 


Find related funding in our Grants & Philanthropic funding resource.

Resources are correct at time of publishing. Is there a resource that should be on this page? Let us know.


Ben O’Dwyer

Information Officer, Museums & Galleries Queensland

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