Exhibition Policy


State Librarian and Chief Executive Officer

Policy Statement

The State Library of Queensland is committed to presenting vibrant, challenging and responsive exhibitions. Exhibitions are one of SLQ’s primary community conduits, promoting and facilitating the use of our content, sharing of ideas, co-creating new knowledge, and delivering unique experiences. State Library develops audiences through the delivery of exhibitions that showcase and interpret our collections and encourage curiosity, debate and discussion.


This policy defines the principles programming of our indemnified exhibition spaces and programming exhibitions to display spaces within State Library of Queensland’s South Bank campus. The exhibition program focuses on developing exhibitions which draw on the State Library collections, enhance the strategic focus of the State Library and align with the annual programming theme.
State Library exhibitions and displays aim to:

  1. enhance access and connect audiences with Queensland’s history and collections;
  2. engage the community in public conversation on critical and contemporary issues;
  3. promote the library as a place of innovative thinking and risk discussion;
  4. trial emerging models of audience and community engagement


The policy applies to onsite exhibition and displays, online and regional engagement relating to exhibitions and displays.


Exhibition A public display, for a limited period, of a collection of works. SLQ exhibitions are displayed in indemnified gallery spaces.
Display SLQ displays are spaces where a public display is placed for a limited time, which includes a collection of works and is not in an indemnified gallery space.

Exhibition Development

Exhibitions and displays are developed based on the annual signature program theme and the strategic focus of State Library. Exhibitions and displays may be developed in house, in collaboration with other entities, be commissioned or be part of a travelling exhibitions program or exchange. Exhibitions draw on, enhance and contribute to State Library content. The overall Exhibitions program will be a combination of collection based interpretation and participatory in nature, utilising co-creative and collaborative processes to achieve a strong level of community relevance and organisational strategic intent.

State Library exhibitions aim to

  • Showcase, grow and make accessible the collections held by State Library on behalf of the people of Queensland.
  • Engage community in an inclusive platform for deliberation and debate on historical and contemporary issues.
  • Explore emerging modes of communication and display to encourage creativity and curiosity and engagement with content.
  • Trial emerging models of audience and community engagement.
  • Activate State Library’s physical and online spaces.
  • Promote positive partnerships between government, industry and community.
  • Grow visitation, both online and onsite.

A forward plan is developed for the SLQ Gallery, Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, Talbot Family Treasures Wall and kuril dhagun which is approved by the Executive Management Team annually, and at least twelve months in advance to allow exhibition development and delivery.

Budget, resourcing and sponsorship of exhibitions is allocated on a case by case basis.

Exhibition Spaces

SLQ Gallery, Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery and Talbot Family Treasures Wall are indemnified spaces suitable for the display of State Library content including original materials.  Exhibitions are sourced externally or developed internally for these spaces. Additionally regional engagement is achieved through online exhibition content and travelling exhibitions.

Display Spaces

Infozone, kuril dhagun, Asia Pacific Design Library, Conservation window space, The Corner display and The Edge are not climate controlled spaces. Exhibitions are sourced for our display spaces internally and externally. The display spaces may incorporate original materials if the item/s will not be compromised.

Online Exhibitions

State Library of Queensland is committed to the use of digital technologies for delivery of services and products, including exhibitions, to extend our long-reach across Queensland.  Temporary exhibitions will also be represented on the web – either as a web presence or virtual exhibition, depending on the nature of exhibition (major or minor).  The online version aims to generate audience interest, provide access by regional and remote Queensland audiences and participation through online public programming opportunities.

Audience Research

The selection of the annual programming theme is made utilising qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methods. Research and evaluation processes ensure that the annual theme is connected with and informed by broadly established community interests.  Additionally, programming is influenced by observable and anticipated trends and Government priorities. Evidence gathering draws largely from secondary research involving the summary, collation and/or synthesis of existing research.  This is supplemented by some contained primary research involving collection of interview and raw data where and/as necessary.

The annual theme will align programming, exhibitions and displays across State Library. State Library undertakes audience and formative research to inform an exhibition response to the theme or strategic focus.


The exhibitions program of the State Library of Queensland upholds Australian museum standards and best practice in the delivery of exhibition services – National standards for Australian Museums and Galleries.  In maintaining industry standards in exhibitions practice, the State Library of Queensland’s exhibition program will:

  • Comply with the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) Code of Ethics in regard to conservation standards for the display and presentation of collections -
  • Protect the collection through appropriate and expert care, adopting alternative display methods through replication, reproduction or digitisation when the conditions of the original may be comprised.
    • Support the International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) Code of Ethics, Guidelines and Standards for museums in regard to exhibitions practice
    • Comply with the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety Act by maintaining safe gallery and exhibition spaces


The Policy is supported by the following policies and frameworks:

  • State Library of Queensland Content Strategy
  • Lending Policy - Loans for Exhibitions
  • Loans for Exhibitions Procedures - Internal
  • Loans for Exhibition Procedures - External
  • Programming Framework (2015-2017)
  • Engagement Policy (in development)
  • Digital Strategy (in development)
  • Signature Program Theme Project

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