Museum Methods







This resource publication was first produced by the NSW Branch of AMaGA in 1994, with the assistance of the Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts. The second edition was published in 2002 as a national resource by the National Office of AMaGA.

The Museum Methods publication has been a particularly successful formula for meeting the needs of small museums. Its printed format was a 400 page, loose-leaf technical manual.  Between 1994 and 2001, approximately 730 copies of the manual were distributed. Since 2002 more than 500 copies of the second edition were sold. While the manual remains in demand, Museum Methods has not been updated since the second edition was produced and the printed format is now considered to be static and inflexible.

In 2019 AMaGA National Office began to review and revitalise Museum Methods to ensure the publication remains relevant and accessible to small museums and galleries across Australia. One of the major changes to this edition is the re-arrangement of the information sheets to reflect the three sections of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries.  The 2020 edition of Museum Methods will be made available online in a staged release over the next few months. The flexibility of the digital delivery of this third edition of Museum Methods will guarantee that the publication can be regularly updated with new and additional information and associated resources.

The 2020 edition of Museum Methods will be free to members both in Australia and internationally. At this time, it will not be available to non-members. Once the staged releases are completed, the publication will also be available to all for purchase.

How to use Museum Methods

You must be a member of AMaGA to access Museum Methods

This page lists the contents of Museum Methods under the three main sections of Manage, People and Collections. As information become available the links to those pages and resources will appear in orange.

Each topic’s page will include a range of related information and resources that can be navigated around using the links on the page. The pages for most topics will include:

  • Introductory information on the topic
  • Fact sheets that relate to the topic
  • Case studies that will help you understand the topic
  • Relevant sections of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries
  • Guide to the development of policies or plans relating to the topic
  • Useful links
  • Resources and further reading
  • Related Resources
  • A downloadable version of the whole topic or the individual segments from the page

The links to the individual fact sheets noted in the contents list directly link to the fact sheet rather than the associated topic page enabling quick access to specific information.

Print distribution of Museum Methods

To maintain the flexibility of the online edition of Museum Methods the publication will not be available as a pre-printed book. However, once the publication has been fully released, we will make available a paid print on demand version of the publication for those organisations that have difficulty with online access.

Review and feedback

Our thanks to expert colleagues for their advice and support as the manual is updated. AMaGA also welcomes feedback so that the manual remains accurate and useful.




Museum Management
Starting your museum or gallery
Building and site requirements
Ethical issues for museum and galleries
Risk Management
Developing a Disaster Preparedness Plan
Financial Management
Working with your funders
Applying for grants
Legal concerns for museum and galleries
Copyright for museums and galleries
Valuations for collections
Managing your people
Management committee members
Managing volunteer programs
Employing consultants and contractors
Working with local Government
Heritage implementation at a local level
Cultural planning
Cultural Precincts: an opportunity for museums, heritage sites and regional galleries
Heritage Trails






Marketing and Public Relations
Customer service and public relations
Communicating with your public
Marketing your museum or gallery
Social Media for your museum or gallery
Media liaison for small museums and galleries
The press release
Community radio broadcasting
External Relationship Management
Inclusive Practice
An introduction to inclusive practices
Working in culturally appropriate ways with diverse communities
Indigenous issues for museums
Indigenous protocols
Australian Indigenous keeping places and cultural centres
Meeting the needs of people with disabilities
Queer histories and inclusion
Migrant and refugee histories and inclusion
Culturally and linguistically diverse inclusion
Public Programming
The role of public programs
Involving community groups in public programs
Guided tours
Developing education programs
Developing education kits
Primary School visits to your museum or gallery
Secondary School visits to your museum or gallery 
Audience research and evaluation
An introduction to audience research
Exhibition evaluation for museum and galleries
Evaluating museum education programs
Engagement and consultation
Designing questionnaires





Collection Policy
Developing a collection policy
Significance and objects
Collecting the now
Developing a preventative conservation policy
Managing museum or gallery archives
Developing a research policy
Cataloging museum and gallery collections
Managing donations
Numbering objects in your museum or gallery collections
Collection management stocktakes
Deaccessioning and disposal
Digitisation: Start Here
  Starting to digitise your collection
  What resources do you need to digitise your collection?
  Equipment to digitise your collection
  Software to digitise your collection
  Storage and backup for your digitised material
  Formatting standards and file types for your digitised collection
  Formats and standards: Photographs and documents
  Formats and standards: Maps and plans
  Formats and standards: Books
  Formats and standards: Objects and artefacts (3-Dimensional)
  Formats and standards: Audio and audio-visual
  Metadata for your digitised collection
  File naming for your digitised collection
  Providing digital access to your collection
  Approaches to digital access for your collection
  Measuring the impact and value of sharing access to your collection
Choosing the best display and storage materials
Storing small objects
Box and folder making
Steel shelving systems for small to medium sized objects
Objects storage
Environment and Conservation
Environmental deterioration
Recommended environmental conditions for museum and gallery objects
Environmental monitoring
Integrated pest management
Light and lighting
Disaster Preparedness - Response and recovery
Disaster Preparedness - Fires and Smoke
Disaster Preparedness - Flood and water damage
Object Management
Managing photographs
Hints on handling museum objects
Care of musical instruments
Farm Machinery 
House Museums 
Preserving the closed collection house museum
Displaying archaeological collections
Storing archaeological collections
Exhibiting your collection
Developing an exhibition
Exhibition planning
Display basics
Exhibition texts
Writing exhibition labels
Writing labels for children and their companions
Producing exhibition labels
Producing exhibition publications
Touring exhibitions
Making a 'museum-in-a-box'
An inexpensive picture hanging system
Research and Interpretation
Domestic technology: approaches to research and interpretation
Presenting controversy 
Interpretation and presentation of period and recreated rooms
Oral history
Researching, writing and publishing local history