Section 3: National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries: Principles and Standards

Guiding framework: National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries

The CMP requirements follow exactly the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries (2008), which were developed by the National Standards Taskforce between 2006 and 2008.

The vision of a viable and sustainable museum sector for Australia is encompassed in these standards.

The National Standards official online version

The full National Standards document is freely available online to all collecting organisations across Australia, through the Collections Australia Network.

The National Standards document is also available through History SA.

Structure of the CMP Handbook

The CMP Handbook follows the structure of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries.

The CMP requirements are therefore structured in three parts:

These three parts encompass:

  • Principles (National Standards)

  • Standards (National Standards)

  • Benchmarks (National Standards)

  • CMP Evidence (for CMP registration and accreditation)

  • Tips (relevant to CMP and South Australia)

  • Resources (relevant to CMP and South Australia)

  • Consolidated checklists (for CMP registration and accreditation)

The National Standards

There are nine Principles, which encompass core museum philosophy and practices.

There are thirty-nine Standards, which outline the criteria to be met as museums put the principles into action.

The Benchmarks are points of reference to assist museums wishing to demonstrate that they are working towards meeting specific standards.

Tips are practical pointers and suggestions relating to specific benchmarks.

Resources are books, online publications and websites relevant to the museum activities encompassed by individual benchmarks.


How does the CMP Handbook differ from the National Standards document?

The CMP Handbook uses the Principles, Standards and Benchmarks from the National Standards without alteration.

In addition, the Handbook lists the evidence required for registration and/or accreditation in the Community Museums Program.

Museums should take note of all of the benchmarks outlined in the National Standards. The Community Museums Program, however, does not necessarily require evidence for all of the benchmarks, especially from museums seeking entry into the Program at registration level. In some cases, accredited museums are required to meet some benchmarks that registered museums are not, in order to demonstrate a higher level of operation.

The National Standards Tips and Resources sections have been edited by History SA for the CMP Handbook, so that they relate directly to South Australia, the CMP requirements and to South Australian community-based history museums. 

National Standards Tips and Resources relevant to art galleries have been omitted from the CMP Handbook as art galleries are generally ineligible to join the Community Museums Program.

There are extensive Appendices in the National Standards online document, including a glossary of terms.

The CMP Handbook also contains consolidated checklists of evidence required for CMP registration and accreditation.