Image: Sam Noonan

Public consultation on a draft strategic plan was planned to commence in May, following the Museum Board and management considering proposed reforms.

Key stakeholders and members of the public who had contacted the Museum had been made aware of the planned consultation and there has since been significant public discussion, debate, and speculation about the Museum’s future.

I want to reassure you that the South Australian Museum has heard the strong response to plans to consult on proposed reforms.

We acknowledge the affection in which the Museum is held by South Australians and the passion that discussion about its future promotes.

We acknowledge that early discussion of the engagement process has prompted concerns both from within the scientific community and the broader community.

Museum leadership recently met with the Premier and Minister for Arts to discuss the planned public engagement and the concerns raised from some sections of the community.

Following our discussions, the Premier and Minister for Arts have announced a Premier’s Review Panel – to be conducted by Chief Executive of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Mr Damien Walker, Director of the Queensland Museum, Dr Jim Thompson PSM, Chief Scientist to South Australia, Professor Craig Simmons.

Professor Simmons, Dr Thompson and Mr Walker are eminent experts in their respective fields of science, research, cultural institutions, and policy.

Under the Terms of Reference, the panel will consider and provide principles, general guidance and advice on a range of areas including: research functions; curatorial capabilities; Repatriation and engagement with First Nations communities relating to their cultural heritage; collections management, public engagement, contemporary approaches to displays, exhibitions and public access to collections, including digitisation; and contemporary approaches to how the museum can provide opportunities for education and knowledge sharing aligned with the curriculum and early learning frameworks.

They have a remit to provide advice on any matters related to the appropriate balance of functions in a contemporary museum of the size and scale of the South Australian Museum.

The Museum has paused any restructure or public engagement on the proposed strategic plan.

It is expected that the panel will provide advice by the middle of the year and we look forward to the outcome.

I encourage you to read the Premier and Minister’s announcement, which can be found on the Premier’s website, and also the frequently asked questions that are available on the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s website.

If you would like any additional information, please email

I want to take this opportunity to thank members of our community for their interest in the future of the South Australian Museum.


Dr David Gaimster
Chief Executive
South Australian Museum

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