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The diverse temporary and travelling exhibitions program is a core component of the organisation's strategy for reaching national audiences (outreach). During 2003-2004, eight Museum exhibitions were shown in Canberra and at venues throughout Australia.

Outlawed! Discover the Stories behind the World's Rebels, Revolutionaries and Bushrangers

Outlawed! explored the enduring appeal of the folklore of the rebel, through the stories of 26 outlaws from nine countries. It contrasted the 'facts' about outlaw characters with evolving popular mythologies. Legends from the United Kingdom, Mexico, India, Sicily, Japan, China, the United States and New Zealand were examined alongside stories of Australian bushrangers.

The Museum's largest temporary exhibition to date, Outlawed! featured more than 500 objects from national and international collections, and a wide range of historic images, documents and film excerpts. Although visitor numbers were below expectations, the exhibition was well received, with 96 per cent of visitors either 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' (National Museum of Australia Visitor Reports, January and March 2004).

Outlawed! opened at the National Museum of Australia in late November 2003 and is scheduled to tour to Melbourne Museum until September 2004.

Outlawed exhibition
National legends from the Outlawed! exhibition distinguished by its use of multimedia. Photo: George Serras.

Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons

Behind the Lines brought together the best works entered in the National Museum of Australia's 2003 Political Humour Competition. This is the seventh year of the competition and the Museum received 316 entries from cartoonists all over Australia - the most entries ever received. Of these, 158 entries were donated to the Museum, contributing towards the development of an important social history collection. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue featured 105 cartoons from the competition, by 60 artists.

This year the exhibition made its debut outside Canberra, opening in Brisbane at the Queensland Museum on 6 January 2004. It was also presented at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Gallery from 15 March to 24 April to coincide with the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and returned to the Museum in Canberra on 20 May, where it ran until 27 June. In 2004-2005 the exhibition will travel to the Constitutional Centre in Perth and the Library and Office of the Legislative Assembly in Darwin.

Hickory Dickory Dock: The Changing Face of Play School

Hickory Dickory Dock was a highly successful exhibition in the Nation focus gallery, from July 2002 to April 2003, featuring iconic objects and footage from the classic Australian children's program Play School. This year it was redesigned for a two-year tour across the country. It opened in Shepparton in June 2004 and will be shown in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Snapshots of Glory

Senator Hon. Rod Kemp with Colin Whelan
Senator the Hon. Rod Kemp, Minister for the Arts and Sport, with sports photographer Colin Whelan in Snapshots of Glory. Photo: George Serras.

To celebrate Australia's sporting culture, and to mark the fifth Rugby World Cup being held in Australia in October 2003, the Museum presented a series of displays, film screenings and events, including a photographic exhibition of Rugby World Cup games. Snapshots of Glory featured the work of sports photographer, Colin Whelan, who has been photographing international Rugby since the mid 1980s. Photographs were sourced from Action Photographics and Colorsport archives, with advice and World Cup history provided by Canberra Times sports journalist Andrew Dawson. The exhibition was held from 15 October to 9 February.

Other events connected to this exhibition included displays in the Hall and the Museum's Friends Lounge.

Royal Romance: Queen Elizabeth II's 1954 Tour of Australia

This exhibition, on display at the Museum from 26 February to 31 October 2004, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1954 royal tour of Australia by the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II. Through souvenirs, photographs and film from the various collections, the exhibition explored Australia's link with the Crown, 50 years ago and today. It was estimated that 75 per cent of the population saw the Queen at least once during her 1954 visit and many Museum visitors relived that moment through the exhibition.

Rare Trades

The Rare Trades exhibition continued its successful tour during this year. More than 37,000 people visited the exhibition at the Museum in Canberra from 6 June to 12 October 2003. More than 13,800 visited this exhibition at the South Australian Maritime Museum in Adelaide from 11 December to 29 February 2004. The exhibition opened at the new Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich on 27 March 2004. In 2004-2005 it is scheduled to return to Victoria, for display at the Geelong Wool Museum.

The Museum co-curated Rare Trades with best-selling author of Blokes and Sheds, Mark Thomson. The exhibition features 24 tradespeople from various trades throughout Australia. It examines some of the common threads that join these diverse trades and people together and raises key issues surrounding skilled manual trades at the beginning of the 21st century.

Stories from Australia

Ian Robinson looking at Tiwi sculptures
Ian Robinson examines Tiwi sculptures in Stories from Australia at Tandanya, Adelaide. Photo: George Serras.

The Museum also presented Stories from Australia at Tandanya National Cultural Centre from 27 February to 15 June 2003, for the Adelaide Festival. The Museum originally developed and presented this exhibition at the Guangzhou Museum of Art in China, in late 2002.

I am Woman, Hear Me Draw: Cartoons from the Pen of Judy Horacek

This exhibition, first staged at the Museum in 2002, travelled to Townsville, Queensland where it was on display from 13 February to 28 March, and to Portland, Victoria for display from 27 April to 4 June.