MAGNA 2020

2020 heralds the tenth year of the Museums and Galleries National Awards. The MAGNAs intend to encourage the continuous improvement and development of Australian museums and galleries, inspire and recognise best practice and innovation in the collecting sector and enhance the profile of museums and galleries in local and wider communities. Entries to the awards come from the smallest community museums to the largest national institutions in the areas of exhibition, learning and engagement, research and Indigenous projects.

Watch the awards ceremony now

SPONSORED BY PANASONIC

AMaGA is grateful to our generous sponsors Panasonic, who have been sponsoring the MAGNAs since 2017. Panasonic’s cutting-edge laser projection technology for museums and galleries creates stunning visual displays and immersive experiences for visitors.

THANKS TO OUR JUDGES

The MAGNA categories are judged by panels of experienced museum and gallery workers who volunteer their time and expertise.

Indigenous Project or Keeping Place

  • Dr Jilda Andrews
  • Nathan Sentance
  • Tasha James

Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fitout

  • Belinda Cotton
  • Dr Jilda Andrews
  • Mirna Heruc
  • Nina Earl

Research

  • Dr Andrew Simpson
  • Dr Jilda Andrews

Interpretation, Learning & Audience Engagement

  • Andrew Hiskens
  • Belinda Cotton
  • Nathan Sentence
  • Wendy Garden

Temporary or Travelling Exhibition

  • Christen Bell
  • Emma Williams
  • Helen Privett
  • Vicki Northey

CATEGORY LEVELS

  • Level 1: Project budget less than $20,000
  • Level 2: Project budget $20,000 - $150,000
  • Level 3: Project budget $150,000 - $500,000
  • Level 4: Project budget more than $500,000

INDIGENOUS PROJECT OR KEEPING PLACE - LEVEL 1

WINNER

Mosman Art Gallery
Three Views

Mosman Art Gallery continue to forge new ground and take opportunities to explore histories and perspectives in compelling and inclusive ways – creating big impacts on a small budget.

INDIGENOUS PROJECT OR KEEPING PLACE - LEVEL 2

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Art Gallery of South Australia
Bunha-bunhanga: Aboriginal agriculture in the south-east

State Library of NSW
Gather - Connecting Aboriginal communities with collections and stories from the State Library of NSW 

WINNER

Bay Discovery Centre
Tiati Wangkanthi Kumangka (Truth-Telling Together)

This is an incredibly sophisticated approach to decolonising the museum by recognising the presence and interaction of multiple voices.

INDIGENOUS PROJECT OR KEEPING PLACE - LEVEL 3

HIGHLY COMMENDED

National Gallery of Australia
Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial 

WINNER

Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA)
Belonging, Contemporary Indigenous Art from Far North QLD 

This project reveals untold stories and perspectives of North Queensland Indigenous culture through art. It exceeds current museum practices of ICIP, embraces multimedia, celebrates the connections with diverse Country, and successfully secured partnerships with major cultural institutions leading to potential new projects.

PERMANENT EXHIBITION OR GALLERY FITOUT - LEVEL 1

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Friends Of Donnelly Village
Friends Of Donnelly Village Inc Museum

 

PERMANENT EXHIBITION OR GALLERY FITOUT - LEVEL 2

HIGHLY COMMENDED

City of Mandurah
Mandurah Community Museum Courtroom Gallery

WINNER

Shire of West Arthur
Betty Brown Historical Centre 

The approach of this museum has been considered and aligned to best museum practice. It is a place that is aware of learning styles, display methodology and aesthetics of a high standard. It is also obvious that it strives to build on their experience and knowledge to develop their Centre within their budgetary constraints.

PERMANENT EXHIBITION OR GALLERY FITOUT - LEVEL 3

WINNER

Tweed Regional Museum
Land | Life | Culture

It is fantastic to see that this project has facilitated stronger relationships with the Indigenous communities of the area - it is also clear to see the opportunity to collaboratively develop rich content and interpretation of Indigenous histories of the area has been fully explored and realised.

PERMANENT EXHIBITION OR GALLERY FITOUT - LEVEL 4

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Shire of Manjimup
Power Up Electricity Museum 

WINNERS

Australian Sports Museum
Australian Sports Museum Refresh 

A great and timely project to create a quantum shift for this iconic museum for its future operations.

Sydney Living Museums
Hyde Park Barracks Renewal 

This project takes important steps in addressing generational trauma and impacts on First Peoples and convict descendants on very contested ground.

RESEARCH - LEVEL 1

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Hayball
Pocket Possibilities: ‘Freespace’ in Community A tool for applying principles of ‘Freespace 2018’ to designing with Australian minority communities

WINNER

QUT and QUT Art Museum
Vis-ability: Artworks from the QUT Art Collection

This project explores the boundaries of accessibility, pushing definitions and perceptions into new realms.

RESEARCH - LEVEL 1

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Australian National University
Museum of the Riverina
National Museum of Australia 
Talking About Stones: The Relational Museum and its Objects 

WINNER

Museum and Art Gallery of the NT
New species of rainbowfishes from northern Australia: discovery through collections-based research and citizen science

The outputs of this project have an extended reach - not only through traditional scientific journals, but into museum programming, citizen science, and the Atlas of Living Australia. It is unfortunate that in Australia fundamental science has been cut back so much that little would happen without the involvement of citizen scientists. The project team assembled an impressive lineup of partners for this work.

INTERPRETATION, LEARNING & AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT - LEVEL 1

HIGHLY COMMENDED

State Library of NSW
DX Lab Digital Drop-In: Scout the Chatbot   

Sydney Jewish Museum
Sydney Jewish Museum Online Learning Project 

WINNER

Maitland Regional Art Gallery
Stories from Wonnarua Country

A powerful project with Aboriginal students leading their school’s artistic response, building on their levels of awareness of cultural knowledge and identity, and exploring their experience of what it means to them to be living on Wonnarua Country today.

With:

  • Francis Greenway High School
  • Hunter Valley Grammar School
  • Maitland High School
  • Metford Public School
  • Tarro Public School
  • Telarah Public School
  • Woodberry Public School

INTERPRETATION, LEARNING & AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT - LEVEL 2

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Art Gallery of Western Australia
Conversations with Rain 

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Yōkai Interactive Touch Wall 

WINNER

Art Gallery of South Australia
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the classroom programs and resources 

This program addresses a genuine issue for teachers, giving them the confidence to use indigenous art in their classrooms. It is sensitively designed and, like many programs this year, was able to be successfully adapted to the COVID world.

INTERPRETATION, LEARNING & AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT - LEVEL 4

WINNER

Museums Victoria
Road to Zero Education Complex @ Melbourne Museum

Leading the way with sustainable development goals

TEMPORARY OR TRAVELLING EXHIBITION - LEVEL 1

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Logan Art Gallery
Our stories and designs

WINNER

Hurstville Museum & Gallery
School Days

This project brought many community people together with a compelling narrative - school days. A multi-disciplinary approach, and simple multisensory and interactive elements, obviously engaged people to share their memories and current experiences of school across the generations.

 

TEMPORARY OR TRAVELLING EXHIBITION - LEVEL 2

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Museum of Brisbane
New Woman

WINNER

State Library of NSW
Eight Days in Kamay

A beautifully conceived reinterpretation and contemporary repositioning of the Cook landing in Kamay and the subsequent impact.

TEMPORARY OR TRAVELLING EXHIBITION - LEVEL 3

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Julie Gough: Tense Past

WINNER

Sydney Living Museums & State Archives of NSW
Songs of Home

The soundtracks and compositions for the exhibition were very exciting and engaging on many levels. The partnerships and collaborations as well as deep research into the content has created a rich exhibition experience.

TEMPORARY OR TRAVELLING EXHIBITION - LEVEL 4

HIGHLY COMMENDED

MOD.
SEVEN SIBLINGS FROM THE FUTURE

WINNER

Art Gallery of South Australia
Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art 2019

An extraordinary celebration of the breadth and depth of First Peoples contemporary culture. The festival and associated exhibitions and events showed exceptional cultural engagement, leadership and professional development opportunities for established an emerging artists, while at the same time delivering community benefitting revenue opportunities.

NATIONAL WINNER

Tiati Wangkanthi Kumangka (Truth-Telling Together)
Bay Discovery Centre

Tiati is a meaningful, thought provoking and at times confrontational exhibition. Though it seeks to tell the story of South Australia's colonisation, it also seeks to question our modern attitudes and ideas toward Aboriginal people. This project manages to do something incredibly important, to decolonise the museum by recognising the presence and interaction of multiple voices. While this seems obvious, the approach often taken with decolonising practice is to replace one narrative with another – this project rightfully acknowledges the limitations of this. This is an incredibly sophisticated approach, taken confidently.

The budget was modest in size but big in ambition and execution. There are many much larger organisations and institutions that are yet to accomplish the outcomes of this project.

Taita successfully incorporates amazing objects into the exhibition and pairs them with contemporary, highly considered, and important interpretation for visitors. The project additionally embeds learning opportunities for people involved in developing this exhibition such as cultural awareness training and Kaurna language lessons.

Taita Wangkanthi Kumangka is a lesson for all of us in collaboration and truth-telling and is an incredible model we can all use in our implementation of the Indigenous Roadmap.