Managing the new museology : the changing role, purpose and management of Australian museums since 1980

  • Claire Baddeley

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Significant shifts have occurred in the management of Australian state museums since the 1980s. This is due to the confluence of new public sector management trends within the organisations and the impact of new museology. Museums in Australia in the 21st century are at a cross-roads, subject to a number of external and internal pressures that are impacting upon their provision and type of services, changing purpose, new social and economic roles and management style and focus. Within the evolving social, cultural and economic context in which Australian museums have operated during the last few decades, state museums provide key insights into the nature and impact of these organisational and management changes. This thesis investigates and analyses shifts in the management of Australian state museums since the 1980s. How have museums, as public sector organisations, adapted and changed their management practices since the 1980s? How and why are museums responding to these challenges through the introduction of new strategies and a redefinition of their roles and purposes? At management level, how are museums responding to organisational issues such as greater access and information provision, attracting diverse audiences, increased emphasis on education and learning, evolving business models, the transition to professional bureaucracies and a greater social and economic role within communities? These issues are investigated within the thesis. Similarly, how museums operate as hybrids within the public sector, combining commercial and public roles, and the ramifications of this, is explored. The thesis uses a number of lenses from the disciplines of public sector management, organisational studies and museum studies to cast a fresh eye over the management of Australian state museums from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The research presented in the thesis has implications for museums, organisational studies and public sector management theory and practice. There are similarly few studies of museums which focus on institutions from the perspective of them as qualitative case studies, particularly in Australia. Overall the study provides insights into the factors influencing the changing management, institutional role and purpose of Australian museums today.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMonica Kennedy (Supervisor) & John Halligan (Supervisor)

    Cite this