Art Museum Management System Study Group

The Designated Manager System Study Group was established in September 2004. Changes in the Local Autonomy Law made in June 2003 meant that public institutions, such as art museums, community centers, libraries, nurseries, children’s centers and sports centers, had to introduce a designated manager system within three years. The sudden introduction of this new system requirement also applied to public art museums, and so various research studies were conducted from diverse standpoints regarding whether or not such a system was suited to art museum management, and if so, what format should it take. Early adopters of this designated management system were analyzed, and the search was on for a suitable means by which art museums, government and society could work together. Then four years later the introduction of this system slowed to a degree, and this study group saw that it served a certain function in clarifying the stances of the public museums and their respective local governments regarding this system.
Conversely, in June 2004, the National Indemnity for the Arts System Study Group was established in order for the art museum industry to propose to the national government a national artwork indemnification system for use when objects were lent to exhibitions held in advanced countries. JCAM had felt that such a system had been greatly desirable since the 1990s, and this interest was then furthered through the formation of this study group. Thanks to the combined efforts of many people, in 2009 the Diet and government began to examine implementation of such a system in detail. In April 2011, a law governing indemnification of artworks during exhibitions was established. This system is applied today to many of the large-scale exhibitions held in Japan.
Based on the function and accomplishments of these two study groups, there was a movement to establish a place for survey studies of the many operational and management system issues that arise for art museums. In February 2008 the two study groups were disbanded, and replaced by the Art Museum Management System Study Group. Rather than conducting regular meetings on specific issues, this group was established to hold ad hoc meetings to discuss such topics, as they should arise.
At present this group is considering the production of an “Operational Standards for Art Museums.” With the regularly revised and supplemented the Code of Ethics of ICOM (International Council of Museums) and the Operational Standards of the Japanese Association of Museums formulated in 2011 as their basis, the group is investigating whether there is a need to establish a set of standards specific to Japan’s art museum industry. From 2012 onwards, work has continued on the basis for a debate by JCAM as a whole, and we hope to make this proposal public in the near future.

Kaizuka Tsuyoshi
December 2, 2015
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