In recent years museums have changed from being predominantly custodial institutions to becoming increasingly focussed on audience attraction. New emphasis is placed on museum-audience interactions and relationships. This change in the purpose and priorities of museums has impacted upon the nature of museum management. The recognition of new roles for museum directors and the need to appeal to differentiated audiences has created new challenges for previously traditional, custodial directors. This paper presents a conceptual framework for managing museums, taking account of the museum service context and the delivery of the museum service product. It then examines two museums, one in Ireland and one in Australia, both of which have a similar cultural history. The paper considers the different management styles for museum directors and how these different styles illustrate the changes in professional perspective from the traditional (a focus on custodial preservation) to the more current (a focus on educating and entertaining the public).
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