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Museums and Galleries National Awards 2023


The Museums & Galleries National Awards, or MAGNAs, began in 2011. They recognise excellent work nationally in the categories of exhibition, public programs and sustainability projects.

The MAGNAs are open to all Australian cultural collecting institutions. Entry fees apply and discounts are given to AMaGA members. Become an organisational member of AMaGA.

The MAGNAs will be awarded at the AMaGA National Conference in May. 

The Awards are intended to:

  • Encourage the continuous improvement and development of Australian museums and galleries
  • Inspire and recognise best practice and innovation in the collecting sector
  • Enhance the profile of museums and galleries in local and wider communities.


Call for entries:       06 March 2023
Entries close:          11 April 2023



MAGNA entry-level fees are based on your organisations operating budget. 

  • Level A - Annual operating budget up to $ 8 million. 
  • Level B - Annual operating budget over $ 8 million. 

Note: MAPDA charges a fee for entry. The fee applies for each entry submitted. Members of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association or Museums Aotearoa receive a discount.  However, low-staff FTE organisations can submit 2 awards entries per year are free.

Inclusive of GST the fees are:

  • Level A - Member: $49.50
  • Level A - Non-member: $71.50
  • Level B - Member: $71.50
  • Level B - Non-member: $99

Enter more than 5 items and receive a discount of 10%
Enter more than 10 items and receive a discount of 20%
(this will automatically be calculated in the checkout)

  • Categories that receive a large number of submissions (>10) from a variety of different organisational sizes can have levels added. By default, all submissions in a single category are not separated by level. As such, which categories have levels could change each year according to what the sector is producing 

  • Levels are based on the number of paid staff within the applying organisation, not the value of the specific project



You can preview the questions here

  • Indigenous project - a project or program developed specifically for Indigenous communities or by Indigenous people. May include gallery or exhibition development or interpretive programming and learning projects
  • Interpretation, learning & audience engagement - education projects developed by the institution to interpret and communicate the collection and stories 
  • Community engagement and outreach - community development and outreach projects developed by the institution to interpret and communicate the collection and stories 
  • Permanent exhibition or gallery fit out - a physical or virtual interpreted presentation of materials owned or borrowed by the institution 
  • Temporary/Traveling exhibition – a temporary physical or virtual interpreted presentation of materials owned or borrowed by the institution 
  • Sustainability project - can include back-of-house sustainability projects as well as audience content and engagement 



  • Best in show 


  1. Preview the 2023 questions 
  2. Go to the awards entry form from 06 March
  3. Fill in the entry form - you can save and go back as many times as you like
  4. Submit the entry
  5. Your entry will be approved by AMaGA
  6. Wait for judging

Consider the following when completing the entry form:

  • Project achievements
  • What was the rationale behind the project? What issues are being considered?
  • How is the project innovative or original?
  • How is the significance of the objects conveyed?
  • How does the project utilise sustainable best practices to ensure the conservation of objects and the broader environment?
  • How was the project received by the public?
  • How does the design of the project emphasise its meaning?
  • How does the project contribute to local or national cultural tourism, education or development?
  • Supporting documentary materials, including reports, visitor comments, media, exhibition books, education materials, etc (not counted in page limit)
  • Supporting graphic materials, including photos, plans, web pages, etc (not counted in page limit)
  • Any other information to support your entry

* We understand that not all project entries will address all example criteria equally.




The panel of judges will be selected from staff from a variety of organisations, including museums, galleries, libraries and educational institutions. The judging system includes an easy recusal system to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Judges are asked to consider the following, where relevant when evaluating each entry:

Judging criteria

  • Original and creative idea, innovative concept
  • Innovative approaches to collaboration including co-design, community outreach, crowd-sourcing
  • Innovative use of the organisation’s collection and other resources such as research
  • Adherence or consideration of National Standards, national or state curricula, Indigenous Roadmap, etc
  • Production quality and technical values
  • Successful incorporation of social engagement and networking/sharing opportunities
  • Evaluation methods used and results
  • Ethical presentation and communication of sensitive content such as Indigenous, military, ethnicity, etc.

The judging criteria were revised in 2021. The working group first established a set of working principles for the revision of the awards, working initially from the AMaGA National Standards

The awards, the judging criteria, their presentation and the overall process should be:

  • Innovative - Beyond ‘best practice’ - how does this project/initiative/experience/content move our sector forward and progress our industry?
  • Accessible and equitable - How does this submission communicate and deliver to audiences with a diversity of needs?
  • Empowering - How does this submission empower the community, staff, creators and/or the public over the specific needs of the institution?
  • Sustainable / Legacy building - How well does this submission deliver against the long-term goals of the organisation and the communities it is serving?
  • For our time - Why is this submission relevant right now, and how is serving community/societal, environmental and institutional needs?


  1. The MAGNA Awards are open to all non-commercial museums, galleries, zoos, botanical gardens, historical societies, libraries, keeping places, science centres and other cultural and collecting institutions. 
  2. Commercial galleries, auction houses and publishing interests are not eligible.
  3. There is a fee to enter the MAGNA Awards, however, small organisations are given two entries free of charge.
  4. Organisations can enter as many submissions as they want but each project/program can only be entered into one category.
  5. The Awards are not open to International entrants.
  6. Entries must come from organisations, associations or not-for-profit companies.
  7. Entries by individuals are not eligible.
  8. Entrants may submit multiple entries in any category, but these can only be entered in one category.
  9. An impartial judging panel drawn from relevant sectors will judge the entries.
  10. Judges reserve the right not to make an award in a category if it is considered no award is merited, or to make a joint award in a category.
  11. Entries will not be returned.
  12. The winner of each entry will receive an award and certificate, and acknowledgement on the AMaGA website.  Entries of high distinction will be recognised as Highly Commended.
  13. All entries will be credited as indicated on the entry form.  Ensure the details on the entry form are correct and legible.
  14. By submitting an entry, the entrant grants permission to AMaGA for the reproduction of winning entries for purposes of publicity and promotion at no charge; entrants must warrant they have the right to allow such use by AMaGA
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