Museum Funding

There is a perception, in certain circles, that our museum has paid staff members and, despite our best efforts to try and dispel this rumour, it has proven to be quite persistent. Unfortunately, this has been impacting on our ability to raise funds through either donations or increased patronage to the museum and, at this critical point in time where we are striving to purchase the museum property, this is a significant issue and we feel the need to clarify the situation.

The short version, for anyone who does not want to read this entire article is that the Museum is operated by the Military Vehicle Preservation Society of SA and both the Society and the Museum does not and has never had any paid staff positions, and this is explicitly forbidden by our constitution as stated below.

3.1 The income and property of the Society shall be applied solely to the promotion of the objects of the Society as set out in the Constitution and in accordance with the By-Laws.
3.2 No part of the income or property of the Society shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus or otherwise howsoever by way of profit to any Member.
3.3 Nothing herein contained shall prevent the payment in good faith of remuneration for services rendered or reimbursement of expenses incurred to any officer or servant or Member of the Society.
3.4 No office of the Society shall carry benefit of salary.
3.5 The Society can register a vehicle in its own name.

Where we think that the confusion is coming from is that in past years the museum was involved in the Federal Governments Work for the Dole (WFD) scheme, during which a single administrative position, to oversee the WFD participants was required by the program and was filled by two different members of our committee, during which, they were paid an allowance. This was paid directly to them by the government as part of the WFD program. At the same time a large number of participants were involved in WFD, in areas such as vehicle restoration, grounds keeping, administration and the museum library. They continued to receive their usual dole income, from the government. WFD also contributed some funds towards museum projects, intended to keep the WFD participants gainfully employed. None of these positions were paid for with museum funding, which was kept separate at all times.

So how is the museum funded?
It may surprise you to know that the museum is run on an exceptionally small budget, which for the last 3 years has been less than $40,000 a year; certainly not enough to cover any wages. Given that we are trying to raise nearly 10 times this amount for our building fund, you can see that we are facing quite a challenge to keep the doors open!

Our major income streams are roughly equal and are split into membership dues for the Military Vehicle Preservation Society of South Australia (MVPSSA), museum door takings and donations. The membership dues, however, largely cover the administrative costs of running the MVPSSA and publishing of our monthly magazine, Olive Drab, and do not go towards the museum. Smaller sources of income are from things such as school visits, selling parts of our collection, museum shop sales and contributions for assisting at events, such as memorial services. Members’ fundraising including community BBQ’s and raffles. We also occasionally have access to grant money, however, this is generally earmarked for a particular restoration project.

With such a small budget, how do we manage to keep the doors open? The honest answer is through the generous support of our volunteers, without whom we would simply cease to exist. Many of our volunteers donate their time, equipment, vehicles, consumables and fuel to the museum.

  • When we restore a vehicle, many of the parts, tools and consumables are donated by members, not to mention the expert work.
  • When we repair our buildings, the work is carried out at no cost by our members, using donated materials.
  • When we attend a public event, our members generally supply their own fuel and consumables; the money donated to cover this going to the museum’s general funds.
  • When we hold an event with a BBQ, the food is generally donated by members.

We thank you for your support of our museum and hope that this helps to clarify our situation. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.