MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS AND SCIENCES PUBLICATION GUIDE
The Structure and functions of the agency
The Museum is a statutory authority, established under the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Act (1945). The Museum is governed by a Board of Trustees under the Act. This provides for nine Trustees, appointed by the Governor, on the recommendation of the Minister. At least one person should have knowledge of, or experience in, the arts or sciences, and at least one person should have knowledge of, or experience in education.
The Act provides that the Trustees:
the control and management of the Museum;
the maintenance and administration of the Museum in such manner as will effectively minister to the needs and demands of the community in any or all branches of applied science and art and the development of industry by:
i. the display of selected objects arranged to illustrate the industrial advance of civilisation and the development of inventions and manufactures;
ii. the promotion of craftsmanship and artistic taste by illustrating the history and development of the applied arts;
iii. lectures, broadcasts, films, publications and other educational means;
iv. scientific research; or
v. any other means necessary or desirable for the development of the natural resources and manufacturing industries of New South Wales.
The Museum is part of the Department of Trade, Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, and is principally funded by an annual grant from this department. Additional funds are generated from admission charges and commercial activities which include retail and café operations and venue hire.
The Museum is responsible for the operation of three sites:
The Museum also provides an extensive outreach service to museums and community groups involved in the preservation of material heritage across New South Wales.
Further information about the Act, the role of the Board of Trustees and the structure and functions of the Museum is available at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/about/aboutGov.php
The Museum’s current organisational structure is available at
The way decision making functions affect members of the public
Decision making at the Museum is focussed on maximising public access to the collection, developing and delivering exhibitions and programs that provide entertainment and learning to diverse audiences and providing a level of customer service that maximises visitor engagement. The Values statement included in the Introduction to the 2009-12 Strategic Plan informs our approach to decision making that affects members of the public.
Performance against these objectives (and those expressed in further detail in the 2009-12 Strategic Plan) is measured in a number of ways.
Performance against the Key Performance Indicators of the Strategic Plan. (Strategy 3 is particularly relevant)
An ongoing program of audience research - This evaluates the visitor experience for all temporary exhibitions and enhancements to permanent exhibitions, and through a sequence of year long visitor studies which enable comparison over time of trends in visitor behaviour. The Museum’s Executive, Leadership team and the monthly All Staff meetings are provided with briefings on the key findings of all visitor research activities. Customer feedback - Visitors are invited to use forms provided at the Museum, or links available on line, to provide feedback on their experience. Responses are co-ordinated by the Customer relations department within an agreed 10 working day timeframe. The Executive is provided with a monthly summary of customer feedback, which enables trends in visitor response to be monitored and responded to.
The full Strategic Plan 2009-12 is available at
Arrangements to enable members of the public to engage in the formulation of policy and the exercise of the Museum’s functions
Consistent with the Values statement included in the Introduction to the 2009-12 Strategic Plan, the Museum is committed to providing opportunities for the engagement of the community in key strategic and policy developments.
Examples of recent engagement include;
Invited public participation in a series of Future Directions forums (May 2008) to invite community feedback on perceptions of the Museum and to seek views on priorities and directions for the development of exhibitions and programs for the future.
Public participation in the development of the 2009-12 Strategic Plan was encouraged. A draft Plan was placed on large panels in the Museum café, and post it notes provided for visitors and staff to comment and make suggestions. The panels remained in place for three weeks, and generated a range of useful suggestions which were incorporated in the final document. A draft Plan was also placed on the Museum website, and commented invited. This also generated a series of useful conversations which informed the final document.
The Museum is committed to maintaining this ‘open’ approach to development of strategy and policy in future years.
The Board of Trustees represent the public in the management and policy formulation of the Museum.
Further information about opportunities to contribute to the development of the Museum’s policies and strategic directions can be obtained by contacting Peter Morton, the Manager, Strategic Policy and Planning, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum invites public engagement to support the delivery of programs and services through its volunteer and internship programs.
Volunteer programs operate at the three sites – the Powerhouse, Powerhouse Discovery Centre at Castle Hill and the Sydney Observatory. Internship opportunities are offered the Powerhouse, Sydney Observatory, and through the Regional Services co-ordinator.
Further information about these programs, and how to register interest in becoming a volunteer or to seek an internship, can be obtained from http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/volunteers
Telephone (02)9217 0676.
The kinds of government information held by the agency
The most significant information held by the agency relates to the Museum’s collection.
All objects acquired for the collection are recorded in the Museum’s collection database, know as EMu. As at 30 June 2010, the Powerhouse collection consists of 150,338 registration numbers. The number of objects constituting a registration number varies from a single object to a large group of objects or may be identified as a single object which consists of a number of parts.
There are estimated to be well over 500,000 separate things in the Museum’s collection be they object or parts.
In recent years the Powerhouse has gained international recognition for its leadership in providing online access to the collection database.
In addition to these on line resources, the Museum Library and Archives contain valuable information of interest to people undertaking research into the collection, and to wider themes relating to the state’s industrial and cultural development. The library contains books, magazines, journals and other records dating from 1880, whilst the Archive holds numerous unique institutional and personal collection records, along with the Museum’s own records, dating from 1880.
Information n the Research Library is available at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/library/
Information on the Museum Archives is available at
Information regarding key Museum policies and functions is available both through our website and in our annual report.
The ways in which the Museum makes this information publicly available
More than 70 percent, over 80,000 object records, of the Museum’s collection database is publicly accessible at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/
This percentage will increase as further records are digitised. There are no copyright restrictions on the images, statements of significance or other content included as part of the data relating to each collection item.
The Museum’s unique photography collections are increasingly made accessible under an Open Access Licensing policy. The Powerhouse shares significant photographic collections through a Flickr initiative known as the Commons on Flickr. The Powerhouse Museum joined the world’s largest photo library, the US Library of Congress in April 2008 and was the first museum in the world to participate. The Commons project gives much wider exposure to our images and also encourages the public to add tags and comments.
The public can find images from three main historic collections and new images are uploaded each week. These images can be freely shared, downloaded and remixed as there is no known Copyright still operating on these images. Information about this and links to the collections are provided at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/flickr/
The website also provides information to assist the public to conserve items of personal significance. Approximately 20 downloadable guides which provide practical advice are available at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/preservation/
Information regarding the Museum’s governance and management is available at
Information regarding key Museum policies is available online at
Further information about the public’s right to information is available at
Details of the annual operations of the Museum, including financial reports and other statutory reporting, is contained in the Museum’s annual report. The reports are available online at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/about/Annual_Report.php
The annual report is also made available in hard copy on request, dependent on availability of printed stock.
More detailed information about access to information at the Museum can be obtained from Peter Morton, the Right to Information Officer at email@example.com
The kinds of information publicly available free of charge and those kinds for which a charge is imposed
Consistent with the Open Access Licensing policy adopted as part of the 2009-12 Strategic Plan, the Museum is committed to providing a range of content, including images, text and video material used in exhibition spaces free of charge, and to ensure that new acquisitions have fully documented copyright with maximum rights assigned.
Information regarding all online access is provided at
Access to the Library and Archives is provided free of charge, in consultation with the relevant staff to ensure the necessary access support is available.
Conservation advice, linked to the on line fact sheets, is provided free of charge. Collection advice is provided free of charge. A large volume of requests for advice on objects means that reply times can vary and a set time for a response cannot be made. This DOES NOT include valuation advice.
Whilst committed to providing free advice, professional development, conservation support, loan objects and travelling exhibitions to non profit and public institutions in NSW, there is a schedule of charges in the Outreach and Professional Services Fees Policy to cover the provision of these services to local government, other state government agencies and the private sector.
Further details on your right to information can be obtained from the Office of the Information Commissioner NSW. Telephone (02)8071 7024 or Freecall 1800 463 626 www.oic.nsw.gov.au