Friends of the Museum

One way of generating ongoing support for the museum is to establish a Friends Program.  Associations of Friends are voluntary charitable organisations which are formed specifically to support their adopted institution.  There is usually a membership fee for joining these associations.

Friends groups can do almost anything, provided that they bear in mind their main purpose of providing support and assistance to their museum or gallery.  Their activities usually fall into four categories:

Generating income

  • for special projects such as restoration/conservation work
  • for the ongoing work such as the exhibition development
  • for publications

Public relations

  • developing publicity campaigns
  • organising and running special events
  • liaising with local newspaper and radio
  • lobbying for government support

Recruiting members

  • word of mouth recruitment
  • organising visits to other museums, galleries
  • publish news letter
  • hold previews
  • hold social events for members of the Friends group

Provide volunteer workers for

  • catering
  • researching
  • collecting admission fees
  • specialist tasks, such as accounting or developing education kits
  • helping plan the market garden
  • gathering props for exhibitions

The Australian Federation of Friends of Museums (AFFM), is a national, not for profit organisation connecting museum, gallery and library supporters throughout Australia. Their website provides information and resources about forming and running a Friends of the Museum group.

We recommend that you refer to the Museum Methods sheet No. 1.11 on Friends which was updated in 2009. It is available to purchase from the Museums Australia website.

You may also like

The Australian Federation of Friends of Museums

World Federation of Friends of Museums, How to Start a Friends’ Group