Section 1: About the Community Museums Program

History SA established an accreditation and grants program for regional, local and specialist community-based museums in 1982, called the Museums Accreditation and Grants Program (MAGP).

In October 2008 this program became known as the Community Museums Program (CMP). 

What does the CMP do?

The Community Museums Program:

  • sets standards for community history museums, and
  • provides grant funds (currently set at $150,000 annually)

Standards programs

The Community Museums Program is based on the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries. The Program is similar to other Australian and international museums accreditation or standards programs. The programs may differ in detail, but all have the intention of improving and sustaining museums, large and small, and fostering public confidence in the role of museums in the community.  

Aims of CMP

Through the Community Museums Program, History SA:

  • supports regional, local and specialist community history museums to:
    • interpret and present aspects of South Australia’s history relevant to their purpose
    • collect, manage and preserve the cultural material that is the evidence of that history
  • sets standards across a range of museum activities
  • provides advice, assistance and skills development opportunities to help museums achieve, maintain and enhance these standards
  • provides access to grant funds for participating museums
  • supports the development of a strong network of high-quality community museums throughout South Australia

Who is the Community Museums Program for?

History SA invites South Australia’s community-based museums to register in the Program. It is open to regional, local and specialist community-based museums that focus on the presentation and preservation of aspects of South Australia’s history.

Community-based history museums in History SA’s Community Museums Program may be called historical societies or associations, preservation societies, historic houses or precincts, interpretive centres, heritage centres, galleries or archives, as well as museums. The word, museum, as it is used throughout the Handbook, encompasses all of the above variations.  

Benefits of the CMP

Museums participating in the Community Museums Program enjoy the following benefits:

  • Access to History SA’s annual grant funds set aside specifically for CMP museums
  • Gaining an understanding of principles and standards essential to museum development, management and sustainability
  • Access to ongoing advice, assistance and skills development opportunities on all aspects of museum and collections management
  • Enhanced public status, recognition and credibility with their local community, visitors and tourists
  • Enhanced status, recognition and credibility with funding providers and sponsors
  • Community confidence that the museum operates according to the essential requirements of good museum practice
  • Opportunity for self-assessment and continuous improvement
  • Basis for arguing for resources and training to meet standards
  • Source of pride for museum workers, knowing that their museum is following nationally accepted standards in museum practice
  • Promotion on History SA’s website
  • Opportunity to be involved in collaborative history projects, and other History SA programs such as SA History Week and the State History Conference
  • Regional and state-wide networking opportunities with other registered and accredited museums to share ideas, problems, knowledge and resources

Obligations and responsibilities of CMP museums

In joining the Community Museums Program, museums agree to:

  • become familiar with and refer to the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries, on which the Community Museums Program is based
  • monitor and review the museum’s ongoing compliance with the National Standards and requirements for participation in the Community Museums Program
  • be an active participant in the Community Museums Program
  • acknowledge that working in a museum requires special skills and knowledge; and thereby seeks appropriate training and refers to resources on good museum practice
  • consult with History SA staff before developing or beginning significant collection, archival, conservation and interpretive projects
  • apply regularly for CMP and other grants to assist in the continuous improvement of museum operations