Museums Australia to Museums Galleries Australia

Information regarding the resolution to formally change the name of the association from Museums Australia to Museums Galleries Australia

National Council has proposed the following resolution to the Annual General meeting that will be held in Brisbane on Tuesday 16 May 2017:

That this General Meeting, in accordance with Sections 38(1) and 70 of the Associations Incorporation Act 1991, approves of the application to the Registrar-General to change the association’s name from Museums Australia Incorporated to Museums Galleries Australia Incorporated.



Museums Australia (MA) was incorporated in 1994. The association was a result of the amalgamation of several arts and heritage membership bodies including:

  • Council of Australian Museum Associations Inc
  • Museums Association of Australia Inc
  • Art Museums Association of Australia
  • Museums Education Association of Australia


Who we are

We are Australia’s only national museum and gallery membership organisation for institutions and individuals, with branches in each state and territory and national networks of expertise and interest. We have over 1400 members and, drawing on the strength of these numbers and the diverse and informed views of our membership, are continually consulted for advice as Australia’s peak advocacy body for museums and galleries.


Mission Statement

Museums Galleries Australia aims to support the development of thriving museums, galleries and other cultural organisations, and a strong arts and heritage sector. We do this through a range of membership services, raising standards, collaborating, and communicating the value of the sector.



The name Museums Australia was deliberately chosen on amalgamation in 1994 to represent all organisations using the international (ICOM) definition of ‘museums’ which is a non-profit making permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their environment. This definition is inclusive of all types of museums: art, history, science and technology etc. but in Australia this has not been understood or accepted across the whole sector.

The name change is in response to this perceived disenfranchisement of some art galleries who felt the association was not representative of their area’s specific needs.

The proposed formal name change in the constitution follows consultation with the sector since 2015. In 2016 National Council directed Museums Australia to begin trading as Museums Galleries Australia and endorsed transitional logo and branding changes. Discussion continued in forums such as the Galleries Taskforce, the Magazine, state branches and a national Roundtable.


Our Gallery members

  • 37% of Organisational members (270) self-determine as having an art collection as a core component of their organisation.
  • While the vast majority of our smallest (volunteer-run Organisational Members) are museums rather than galleries, one third of our Organisational Members that have paid staff and a budget over $50k, are actually called galleries, art museums, art spaces and the like.
  • Local councils take out membership that includes both their galleries and museums
  • UAMA - University Art Museums Australia - which represents 42 art museums, is one of our significant organisational members


Renaming/rebranding Aims

The aim of the Museums Galleries Australia rebrand is to create a more inclusive, unified and representative association for members, and to promote this to the sector, government and the public.

Along with the name change, updating our visual identity is a vital step towards promoting our mission of excellence and inclusiveness. A new logo, tag line and suite of collateral which reflect the diverse and dynamic sector we represent is being designed.

Through initiatives such as our national awards, projects including GLAM Peak’s Digital Access to Collections and our Indigenous Roadmap, we aim to promote a more inclusive association and sector. We will continue to seek out beneficial partnerships and collaborations which reinforce our values.

Message from the national president, Frank Howarth

“The proposed change of name from Museums Australia to Museums Galleries Australia is intended to better reflect the original intent of the organisation when it was established and what we do now, and to be more inclusive of the range of members that we have.

The proposed formal name change in the constitution follows consultation with the sector, and open discussion and explanation since late 2015. Most reaction has been positive but there are some concerns about possible confusion in the sector. It is not the intention to compete or confuse. It will be very important that implementation is guided by the particular circumstances in each state.”


The future

We will continue to fulfil our responsibility to represent all types of museums as well as we can. We will also continue to advocate for the sector as a whole - culture, heritage and the arts.

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