Keywords: Museums Management; Nonprofit Accountability; Standard Costs; Virtual Budget.
The independence of management of the most visited Italian State museums is recently increased but many critics have seen in this change a risk for their inner nature: their potential transformation from a cultural institution to a «commercial» one. The paper, first, shows that this risk does not exist because the museum direction cannot change museum aims and their not-for-profit character. Secondly, it points out that the innovations are important because they will increase the transparency of management process of a public organization and the ties between the cultural institute and its stakeholders. Thirdly, the paper illustrates the limits of management innovation since the direction of a State museum benefits of a very partial independence: it does not have the whole management of human resources and, for this reason, it does not even know the actual annual budget. Lastly, it provides a methodology to overcome this lack of knowledge with the formulation of a «virtual» annual budget.