Business Management and Structural Changes in Museum Organization in Japan 1 The situation of museums in Japan

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Nov 20, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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1

Business Management and Structural Changes in Museum

Organization

in Japan


1 The situation of museums in Japan


In Japan, there are national, local public and private museums like in many other
countries.

There are about 5300 museums in 2002. Out of them
, 71

% are local public, 26%
private, and 3 % national. Though there have been some museums closed, on the
whole, museums have been increasing. They have increased by about 250 as
compared with in 1999


But the recent long economic recession of Japan has been affecting Japanese
museums heavily.

For instance, the number of visitors to museums has been decreasing since 1995.

It was about 269 million in 2001, which was 21.2 million less than in 1995. The
c
auses of the decrease are not so clear, but they might include the drop of
people
s’

personal income, less tourists, increased large scale entertaining facilities
like theme
parks,

less funds for renovating exhibits etc.

Social and economic reforms are goin
g on and administrative structural reforms
have been pursued to vitalize Japan as a whole. Decentralization, Deregulation
and Privatization are three mottoes of the reforms advocated by the central
government. Museums cannot be put out of the realm
of the

reform.


2 National museums and their restructuring

National museums were
originally

governed and financed directly by the
national government. Their expenses came from the national treasury. Their
budgets were compiled through
consultation

with the minis
try concerned.
The
minister in charge

appointed the directors and senior staff

of museums.

T
he
director
appointed
their director appointed the other staff
.

All of full
-
time staff was civil
servant.

In 2001, almost all of the national museums were incorpor
ated into independent
administration institutions like other
institutions that

were under direct control of
ministries. They have become semi
-
independent. Although
the minister in charge
appoints their directors and auditors
,
the director of each instituti
on

appoints all
other staff

including executive directors. The term of directors is stipulated. The
status of staff is kept as civil servant. The budget is appropriated as a block grant
from the ministry in charge. Thus the
discretionary

power of each inst
itution

2

increases about budget and
organization
.

Instead, the minister indicates to each institution a mid term goal to be
accomplished. According
to the

goal, each institution makes a plan for five years
and
subsequently

one for a year. Each year, the sp
ecial
committee

in the ministry
evaluates to what extent the plan has been accomplished. After five years, the
committee

will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the institution

in the

light
of
achievements

of the mid term goal.

On the basis of the evalu
ation, the minister examines the necessity of continuing
activities of the institution and future form of its organization and management and
decides necessary measures to be taken.


Since introduction of this system, national museums tend to have a keen
a
wareness of visitor

s reaction. as it affects the number of visitors and the revenue.
They also try to get fund from private sectors to improve exhibitions and other
activities. Restaurants and museum shops are refurbished to attract more customers.
Becaus
e this system is quite new to museums, both
sides

(museum and ministry)
have to do a lot work to make it convincible to people concerned as well as to the
public. Still efforts are being paid to set up suitable criteria for evaluating
museums.


3 Local pu
blic museums and measures for their rationalization


The recent economic recession also affects tax revenues of local governments.
The budgets of local public museums have been cut down. It caused the
decrease

of full
-
time staff and their salary as well as expenses for hiring part
-
time staff, holding
specia
l exhibits and renovating permanent exhibitions.


In Toyo Metropolis, its two museums, nature and literature, were closed as a result
of administrative evaluations from the
viewpoint

of necessity,
efficiency

and equity.
Administrative evaluations are intro
duced in other local governments to increase
effectiveness of their services.


Local public museums are governed and financed by either prefectural or
municipal governments. The administrative structure and management of these
museums are similar to th
ose of national museums before 2001.


In recent years, many local governments of prefectures and big cities have set up
special
foundations that

take charge of administering local public museums to
rationalize their management and to increase its flexibili
ty. In some cases, curators
are hired directly by the foundations and administrative officers are sent in rotation
from local governments. This gives rise to complexities in their management.


3

Last year, the law regulating the management of local governmen
t was revised.
It enables a local government to entrust the management of its institutions
including museums to private companies with the approval of its legislature. This
revision causes concerns among museum people that it might spoil the public
charact
er of museums.

Private Finance
Initiative (
P.F.I.) has also been introduced to make use of private
funds and managing technique in building and managing local public facilities
including museums. One prefecural modern art museum was established in
cooperat
ion with a private
company

and an aquarium was set up by getting
cooperating from the prefectural government.


4 Private museums and decrease of their income from funds


Most of private museums are established and maintained either by non
-
profit
foundation
s or by
religious

organizations. The others are by private companies or by
individual collectors. The main sources of income for non
-
profit foundations are
supposed to come from the interest of deposited money or the dividend of stocks
they hold as funds f
or operation. But the recent economic depression decreases
these sources of income.

They have to collect more fees or ask donations from private companies
concerned. Generally, national and local governments do not give subsidies to
them. Tax

exemption is given to the museums registered by prefectural
governments. But that measure is not effective enough to collect donations from
the public. Many private museums have to rely heavily on fees for admission and
events or sales at shops and restau
rants.


5 Challenges Japanese museums are facing

Museums have been asked to increase visitors by making exhibits more attractive
and by holding various cultural events such as
seminars, workshops
, concerts,
field
trips

etc. They have also been requested to

tackle juvenile problems by exploring
programs suited to
schoolchildren

with the cooperation of schools. Besides, they
have been required to increase collaboration with communities by encouraging
more community people to participate in museum programs as
volunteers.

Japanese museums are facing challenges to cope with economic and
social
changes

as stated above and they have to show to the public that they are
capable through achievements.



4

6 Japanese Association of Museums and guidelines for 21
st

century

I
n 1998, Japanese
Association

of Museums set up Special
Research

Committee to
consider the future structure and activities of the museum in 21
st

century. After two
years discussion, it issued a report

The Museum of Dialogues and Cooperation


emphasizing th
e
impo
r
t
a
nce

of
broadening

its activities to meet various needs of
society by having dialogues inside and outside the museum and securing
cooperation

among museum staff and that with the people of the community
where it situates.

To put the idea of the rep
ort in practice, the Committee issued guidelines

Desirable Image of the Museum


in 2003. The guideline stresses the following points
of view.

Museum
management;

Museums should clearly show their social missions and
make their management open to the public
.

Collection of
objects;

Museums

should pursue studies on objects entrusted by the
society and convey the objects with the result of their studies to the next
generation.

Communication activities of
museums;

Museum should share intellectual
stimulation and

pleasure with citizens, and should create new values.


7 Mission statement, long

m楤 te牭 灬p渠慮a se汦
-
ev慬a慴楯n

The guidelines recommend each museum to clarify its own mission and try to
write a mission
statement that

can be understood by everyone. By so doing, each
museum can make clear its identity and ra
ison d

etre to the public.
On the

mission
statement, each museum is recommended to draft a long

mid term plan to show
the itemized goals of its activities and make an each year plan accordingly.

In each year, each museum is advised to sum up the result of
its activities and
evaluate it according to each year plan. For long

mid term, same procedures are
recommended and it is also advised to make all these
evaluation

results known to
the public. All these contribute to increase understanding and support of th
e
people

of the community where each museum situates. In above process, each
museum is asked to embody the spirit of


Dialogues and Communication

.


8 Nine items to be evaluated

As the basic items for the self
-
evaluation, the report shows the following ni
ne
items and gives explanations on each tem.

(1) The mission and planning of museums


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The reason and purposes of the existence of museums are different among them.
Each museum should clearly express its own “mission”, and should act with plans for
achieving

the mission.



Each museum should clearly indicate its own mission in a written document.



Each museum should draw up plans for completing its own mission from
medium
-
term or long
-
term point of view.



W
ith regard to its own mission and plans, each museum sho
uld develop
common understanding with its establisher.



The staff of each museum should understand the relationship between their
own work and the mission and plans of each museum. They should try to
contribute to the completion of the mission through carry
ing out their own
work.



The staff of each museum should set forth concrete targets of their own work,
and should check and evaluate the progress of their work.


(2) The
collection
, custody and utilization of objects

The
objects

kept in a museum are public
properties of a society that has set up
the museum. Both natural environments and historical
monuments
whose
protection and inheritance are supported by museums are common heritages of
all human beings. Each museum bears the important role of maintaining a
nd
protecting its

objects

and their environments beyond the present age and transfer
them to the next generation.



E
ach museum should work out its policies for collecting

objects

and protecting
their environments in accordance with its own mission.



I
n colle
cting
objects,
each museum should observe relevant laws of the
country where

they are

located, relevant laws in other countries concerned,
and international treaties and agreements, etc. Each museum should also
consider the cultural and natural circumstanc
es of the region where they

are

located.
Social

customs in the region should also be respected.



Basic documentation records should be maintained and developed.



Each museum should prepare and develop proper facilities and equipment for
the safe custody of i
ts
object
s.



Each museum should determine a plan for keeping its
objects

in order.



Each museum should develop proper lists of
objects

kept in
it
, and should make
the lists available to outside researches and other people including the general
public for the
ir utilization.


6



Museums should promote practices of borrowing and lending museum
materials among them, in accordance with their nature and conditions, so that
they may be effectively utilized by all museums.


(3) Research work


Museums undertake research w
ork in order to clarify and increase the value of
objects
kept in museums and to contribute to the intellectual activities of human
beings. It is also important for museums to do research in the field of museology
concerning exhibition, educational and pub
lic information activities and
administration and management of museums.



Each museum should determine its policies for research work based on its
mission.



Each museum should endeavor to help the results of its research work
contribute to the activities (co
ncerning learning, research
,

protection of
cultural properties, etc.) of a wide range of people including community
people. The results of the research work of each museum should also
contribute to the development of academic research.

(4) Exhibition and e
ducational and public information activities


Through exhibition or other activities, museums

make

open to the public those
objects

and information which have been inherited from the past, so that these
materials and information may be utilized by contempo
rary people. The materials,
and information are also utilized in various educational and public information
activities of the museum. Activities for bringing up the next generation play very
important roles in museums.



Each museum will determine its polici
es for exhibition and educational and
public information activities on the basis of its mission.



Each museum will revise its permanent exhibition in accordance with definite
plans on the basis of its mission and the characteristics of the
objects

it keeps.



In holding its permanent and special exhibitions, each museum will consider
changing social circumstances and people’s needs.



Each museum will attempt to realize exhibitions that will be easily understood
and enjoyable to visitors.



Each museum will carry
out educational and public information activities
(including lectures and workshops) related to the
objects
exhibited and kept in
the museum, in order to help people carry out diverse learning activities.



Each museum will give children opportunities for ma
king themselves familiar

7

with its
objects
.


(5) The development and management of physical facilities

As one of public facilities, each museum will study how to develop and
administer its facilities and equipment so that the public may easily use them.



Eac
h museum will develop itself as comfortable and safe environment.



Each museum will determine its opening hours and days in accordance with its
mission and with actual needs of the public.



Each museum will endeavor to make itself barrier
-
free for the elderl
y and the
handicapped.



Each museum will take measures for ensuring safety for visitors.


(6) The dispatch and opening of information


Each museum will actively dispatch museum information by utilizing diverse
information techniques and media. It will also

provide such information as the
public demands.



Each museum will determine its policies for public information and for opening
museum information to the public.



Each museum will actively carry out its public information activities so as to
promote people’
s understanding and utilization of the museum.



Each museum will open to the public information on its management.


(7) The participation of citizens

E
ach museum will aim to make itself a museum, which will be able to get
cooperation for its activities thr
ough active support and participation by the public
and through the progress of dialogues for understanding about its activities.



Each museum will develop such mechanism as will help reflect opinions of the
public in its management.



Each museum will provid
e the public with opportunities to understand its
activities.



Each museum will provide the public with opportunities to support its activities.


(8) The staffing of the museum


The director and other staff of each museum will endeavor to achieve its missio
n
through various activities.



Each museum will be staffed with its director and other necessary staff to

8

achieve its mission.



The scope of the authority and responsibility of the director of a museum should
be clarified so that he may effectively utilize i
ts human and physical resources
to achieve his

or her

role adequately.



Each museum should have museological professional staff that bears crucial
roles as specialists of museology.



Each museum will devise its proper structure and operation, including
coope
rative relations between administrative staff and professional one, so
that its resources may be utilized to the maximum.



The director and other staff members of the museum will fully recognize its
social roles.



The museum will provide more training opport
unities to its director and other
staff.



Personnel who will be engaged in professional activities of museums need to
be trained.



Proper ethics should be established for the activities of people working at the
museum.


(9) Finance of museums and financial s
upport to them


The management of a museum requires securing its financial foundation. The way
for securing this financial foundation differs by types of control of museums:
whether a museum is controlled by the national government, by a local
government o
r by a private organization. Regardless of its type of control, every
museum is required to obtain people’s understanding as to its mission, as well as
social recognition and support for it, through its constant efforts.



Each museum should determine its f
inancial policy suited to its mission, and
should endeavor to secure a wide range of financial resources not only from its
establisher but also from many other sources including donation of
objects
.



Each museum should determine its plans for the management
, and carry it out
soundly.



Each museum should execute its responsibility for explaining the results of social
supports it gets.


9
Checklist

and manuals

To make the self
-
evaluation easy, the
Committee

prepared a
checklist

in the

form of questionnaire shee
ts. They cover the above nine items and
divide

them

9

into fifty sub
-
questions, each of which are graded into five levels. By
answering
the

whole questionnaires, each museum can check its strong and weak points.

Thus
it

helps each museum to draw a strategy
to
strengthen

its merits and make
up its defects.

The committee also prepared two
manuals
, one for w
riting mission statements
and drafting long

mid term plans and another for collection care.

For most of museums, mission statements and long

mid term are unfamiliar,
The

manual recommends them to organize a seminar to get common
understanding

not only amon
g curatorial and administrative staffs but also with
government

officials and representatives of volunteers.


10. Increasing accountability of museums

There are still difference of opinions between curators and administrative staff.
Curators are likely to

put emphasis on research work and administrative
staff
inclines

to value cost effectiveness.

But Introduction of independent administrative institution into national
museums,

abolition of two Tokyo Metropolitan museums as a result of
administrative evalu
ation and the recent law allowing to private companies to
manage public museums aroused the sense of crisis among museum
people,
especially

curators.

The
importance

of museum
management is

beginning to be
recognized.
In
some museums


reorganization

is done

to be sensitive to the needs of visitors.
Number of visitors is treated as the main
target.
Partial changes of permanent
exhibitions and holding special exhibits more frequently with
fewer expenses

are
being pursued. To get
cooperation

from volunteers, mo
re
efforts

are paid for
recruiting, training

and caring them. In preparing school programs, school
teachers are
invited

to participate and also curators visit
schools

as extension
services
.

By accumulating these efforts, museums try to make their activitie
s visible to the
public and increase understanding and support of them.

Now
cooperation

between curators and administrative staff, who tend to
criticize each other, becomes more important. It is urgent to find, train and
secure museum directors capable o
f keeping integrity of museums and
increasing their accountability to
society.




10



Transition of number of museums and visitors in Japan


Transition of Japanese museums by type of establisher

Establisher


Ye a r

To t a l

Na t i o n a l

L o c a l p u b l i c

Pr i v a t e

1 9 8 7

2 3 1 1

3 5

1 5 0 9

7 6 7

1 9 9 0

2 9 6 8

5 9

1 9 6 8

9 4 1

1 9 9 3

3 7 0 4

6 9

2 5 1 6

1 1 1 9

1 9 9 6

4 5 0 7

7 2

3 1 0 8

1 3 2 7

1 9 9 9

5 1 0 9

1 5 4

3 5 2 2

1 4 3 3

2 0 0 2

5 3 6 0

1 6 2

3 7 9 5

1 4 0 3



Vi s i t o r s t o J a p a n e s e mu s e u ms i n 2 0 0 1 b y t y p e o f e s t a b l i s h e r

( i n t h o u s a n d )


E s t a b l i s h e r

To t a l

Na t
i o n a l

L o c a l Pu b l i c

Pr i v a t e

Vi s i t o r s

2 6 9 5 0 3

9 6 7 4

1 6 9 3 8 3

9 1 4 4 6


Tr a n s i t i o n o f v i s i t o r s t o J a p a n e s e mu s e u ms

( i n t h o u s a n d )

y e a r

v i s i t o r s




1 9 9 2

2 8 3 0 8 7




1 9 9 5

2 8 6 0 0 1




1 9 9 8

2 8 0 6 4 9




2 0 0 1

2 6 9 5 0 3






Ko i c h i Iga r
a s h i


E xe c u t i v e Di r e c t o r


J a p a n e s e As s o c i a t i o n o f Mu s e u ms