Manual of Policies and Procedures

I/3.1 Museums, collections and public cultural precincts

Policy Owner

Executive Director, Advancement/Director, Alumni, Venues and Events

Approval Date


Approval Authority


Date of Next Review


3.1.1 Purpose
3.1.2 Application
3.1.3 Roles and responsibilities
3.1.4 University museums and collections
3.1.5 QUT Art Collection
3.1.6 Acquisitions to museums and collections
3.1.7 Deaccession and disposal from museums and collections
3.1.8 QUT Precincts
3.1.9 Definitions
3.1.10 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History

3.1.1 Purpose

QUT's museums, collections and public precincts support the University's strategic goals of connecting and engaging with QUT’s stakeholders through the provision of world class facilities, public spaces and physical collections which are intrinsically important to QUT and to the wider Queensland and Australian communities.

This policy outlines how QUT’s public precincts, including museums, art collections, theatres and exhibitions, are developed and managed strategically to support teaching, learning, research and to conduct outreach activities which engage with partners, industry and the broader community.


3.1.2 Application

This policy applies to:

  • museums and collections owned by QUT or of which QUT is the long term custodian
  • art work identified as part of the QUT Art Collection
  • specific performance, exhibitions, displays, events and other activities arranged by QUT Precincts.

The requirements set out in this policy do not apply to museums and collections established by executive deans of faculty and heads of division without formal University status.


3.1.3 Roles and responsibilities

  • designates University museums and collections
  • approves the disestablishment of a museum or collection, including the deaccession and disposal of all holdings
Vice-Chancellor and President
  • approves acquisition of art works, on recommendation of Executive Director, Advancement
  • approves the establishment of a locally managed museum or collection
Museum/collection advisory group
  • provides oversight to the management of a specific museum or collection where required
Executive Director, Advancement
  • identifies opportunities for collaboration/partnership with Australian and international universities, companies and museums, and other agencies
  • determines the exhibition program in line with strategic and operational planning processes within the Business Development Portfolio
  • develops and maintains the QUT Art Collection as a collection of a national significance
  • recommends acquisition of art works to the Vice-Chancellor and President
  • approves de-accessioning of art works
  • annually reports to the Chief Financial Officer, in writing of artworks acquired for or de-accessioned from the collection during that year
Director, Alumni, Venues and Events
  • coordinates management and development of QUT’s partnership precincts
  • undertakes engagement with sponsors, alumni, corporate partners and donors via promotion of the use of QUT Precincts
Curator (for a collection)
  • develops and manages annual program of exhibitions and other activities relating to the collection, including public engagement and outreach
  • recommends acquisition and de-accessioning of works to the Executive Director, Advancement


3.1.4 University museums and collections

Council approves the designation of a University museum or collection. This designation is based on QUT’s long term commitment to the museum or collection, which should enhance QUT’s strategic objectives and opportunities for community engagement. A University museum or collection receives an allocation of central funds for its management.

Each University museum or collection operates in accordance with a written mission statement, strategic plan, and policies and procedures, which will specify the purpose of the collection, and the proposed manner of acquisition, display and disposal of objects. These documents will be developed in accordance with and guided by relevant industry standards for the museum profession.

Oversight of a museum or collection may be undertaken by an advisory group which includes appropriate management and specialist expertise. Where a museum or collection includes a significant number of donated or loaned works, the owner or donor may be a member of the advisory group. The advisory group provides guidance on relevant policies and procedures for the museum or collection, including procedures for acquisition and disposal of individual works within the collection.

Council has designated two museums: the QUT Art Museum and the William Robinson Gallery (in Old Government House).

Other museums and collections

Executive deans or heads of division may manage other museums or collections without University status and which are not therefore eligible for central funds, for purposes such as teaching. The responsible area must ensure that appropriate practices and procedures (including any relevant financial, asset or insurance requirements) are in place. The Vice-Chancellor and President approves the establishment of a locally managed museum or collection and must be satisfied that appropriate financial, physical and other resources are available to maintain the museum or collection over time.


3.1.5 QUT Art Collection

The QUT Art Collection is a University collection which contributes to a national network of collections held in museums Australia-wide and is intrinsically important to QUT and Queensland. It is developed according to the following objectives:

  • to procure major works that assist in contextualising existing holdings
  • to build upon existing strengths by filling prominent gaps and extending current holdings
  • to promote creative experimentation and innovation in contemporary art through the acquisition and commissioning of new work, thus ensuring the relevance of the Collection for contemporary audiences
  • to acknowledge the importance of new technology in contemporary art
  • to advance QUT's commitment to sustainable reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian people by the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
  • to develop the collection of works by William Robinson as a unique cultural resource of national significance
  • to represent the best of contemporary Australian and Queensland art, including the acquisition of works by identified key QUT-trained artists.

The QUT Art Collection is managed and conserved in accordance with National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries.

The QUT Art Collection is comprised of the William Robinson Collection and other works.


The QUT Art Collection is exhibited in QUT Precincts facilities, particularly in two designated museums, the QUT Art Museum and the William Robinson Gallery, and from time to time in exhibitions touring to other venues regionally, nationally and internationally. 

In addition, the QUT Art Collection will be exhibited across QUT campuses for the benefit of the QUT community and visitors. With the exception of the offices of senior staff of the University, artworks are only displayed in areas that are publicly accessible, and the display space must meet minimum aesthetic, security and environmental standards as assessed by the Curator.


3.1.6 Acquisitions to museums and collections

QUT will acquire and maintain only those objects of collectable or intrinsic significance which meet and enhance the goals and objectives of the particular museum or collection. Acquisitions for the QUT Art Collection must add further depth, strength and distinction to the collection. An acquisitions fund has been established to purchase key works for the William Robinson Collection.

All permanent acquisitions require a clear legal title to be established for the acquisition to proceed. The title will pass to the University upon acquisition and not to any individual or organisational unit. University museums and collections will formally accession, catalogue and maintain objects acquired.


All loans to or from QUT museums or collections (including for the purpose of exhibitions) are subject to loan conditions specified in writing, and will include the proposed term and responsibility for transportation, conservation, security and insurance. Loans will be made to the University and not to any individual or organisational unit.

Gifts and Bequests

The University will accept gifts and bequests of works where such items meet the QUT Art Collection objectives (I/7.1.5). Gifts are accepted only where the donor has clear legal title to the work and complete and unconditional transfer from the donor is made to QUT.


3.1.7 Deaccession and disposal from museums and collections

The disestablishment of a museum or collection, including the deaccessioning and disposal of the entire collection’s works, may not proceed without Council approval.

The deaccession and disposal of an object in a University museum or collection occurs only in accordance with the policies and procedures established for the relevant collection.

Within the QUT Art Collection, the University periodically deaccessions works to which it has clear legal title, including gifts and bequests, in order to refine and enhance the collection. The Curator makes a recommendation for the deaccessioning and disposal method, based on the following criteria:

  • duplication
  • inferior quality
  • insufficient documentation to support authenticity
  • irrelevance to the Collection
  • irreparable damage
  • repatriation of cultural material to an Indigenous community with proof of a valid claim
  • any special conditions which pertained to the work’s acquisition
  • theft or loss.

Once an artwork has been approved for deaccessioning it is disposed of by gift, sale or exchange to another public museum or collection. If this is not possible, then one of the following processes is pursued:

  • private sale, sale through a reputable, established dealer or sale by public auction
  • upgrading by exchange for a comparable artwork by the same artist; or
  • destruction (where unsafe or deteriorated beyond repair).

Appropriate documentation including photographs and catalogue details of the artwork are maintained as an official record of the deaccessioning and disposal of an artwork from the Collection.

Where possible, funds obtained from the sale of de-accessioned artworks will be applied to the purchase of other works for the QUT Art Collection, with the purchase to appropriately acknowledge the original gift or bequest where applicable.


3.1.8 QUT Precincts

QUT provides public cultural precincts to promote public engagement and community outreach with the University and with its activities and facilities. QUT Precincts provides coordinated management and development of QUT’s public precincts. At present, these are the Gardens Point Precinct and the Kelvin Grove Creative Industries Precinct, though further public precincts may be designated as part of major capital development projects on University campuses over time.  The precincts include exhibition programs, performance programs and community engagement programs encompassing museum spaces (the QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery), The Cube, The Block, The Loft, The Glasshouse, Gardens Theatre, Old Government House and all other public art spaces within QUT.

Programs may include:                   

  • exhibitions from the QUT Art Collection
  • projects initiated by QUT curatorial staff that support research, audience engagement, and strategic partnerships that increase the profile of QUT's exhibition program within the visual arts industry
  • touring exhibitions that are selected for their relevance to the museum spaces in terms of:
    • quality and appeal of the exhibition
    • linkage to the QUT Art Collection or to the University's art and design programs
    • connection to other cultural outreach priorities of the University
  • suitable work of graduating students, postgraduate students, staff and alumni
  • other suitable work drawn from the University or partners in the areas of visual arts and design.


3.1.9 Definitions

Acquisition is the process of securing works of art through purchase, commission, gift, donation, bequest or exchange with other public collections.

Collection is a body of acquired objects held by the University. The objects are acquired, conserved, researched, communicated and exhibited, for the purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence of people and their environment. A collection may have regular, limited, sporadic or no displays.

Deaccession is the permanent removal of an item from a collection inventory or database following a detailed process.

Disposal is the physical removal of an item from a collection, after it has been formally de-accessioned.

Museum is a collection (as defined above) which is displayed in a purpose-specific space and is open to the public at regular times.


3.1.10 Delegations

Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (C161, C162, C163, C164, C169) (QUT staff access only).


Related Documents

Cultural Gifts Program

The Art Museum

National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries


Modification History





21.05.21 All Director, Governance, Legal and Performance/Executive Officer to the Vice-President (Business Development) Revised to include position title changes for Executive Director, Advancement and Director, Alumni, Venues and Events arising from Repositioning QUT for a post-COVID world reorganisation - effective 31.01.21
25.11.19 I/3.1.3 Council Policy revised to update approval of acquisition of artworks - effective 01.01.20
20.12.18 All Director, Governance and Legal Services Policy renumbered and relocated to I/3.1 (formerly I/7.1) - Chapter I restructure
10.07.18 All Vice-Chancellor and President Revised policy to include department name change from Corporate Finance to Finance Resource Management
09.08.17 All Council New policy – I/7.1 Museums and collections, I/7.2  Precincts, exhibitions and public art space and I/7.3 QUT Art Collection consolidated