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Our visitors and audiences

Visitation for 2010–11 was 4,960,348 (including 1,580,574 visitors to Acton and travelling exhibitions and 3,379,774 online visitors). The year’s visitation was up 19 per cent from 2009–10 and was marked by:

  • a significant increase in visitors to temporary exhibitions due to the popularity of Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route and Not Just Ned: A True History of the Irish in Australia
  • a major increase in visitation to travelling exhibitions due to the large number of exhibitions travelling to major cities, including Beijing, in 2010–11
  • a notable increase in visitors to public programs and events, which reflects the continued popularity of both regular and new programs, and record attendance for the summer and autumn festival days.

Web visitation has grown slightly from 3,291,874 in 2009–10 to 3,379,774 in 2010–11. The most interesting trend was the increasing share of online engagement through social media, which accounted for approximately 160,000 visits in 2010–11 compared with about 60,000 in 2009–10.

Visitation numbers (excluding the web), 2001–11

Financial yearVisitation
2001–02 903,400
2002–03 825,000
2003–04 820,200
2004–05 666,200
2005–06 770,601
2006–07 945,210
2007–08 1,007,856
2008–09 941,361
2009–10 880,030
2010–11 1,580,574

Monthly web visitation figures, 2010–11

July 246,860
August 327,576
September 282,586
October 305,637
November 284,843
December 202,325
January 221,663
February 233,989
March 320,052
April 272,337
May 353,593
June 328,313

Breakdown of visitation numbers (excluding the web), 2005–11

Permanent exhibitions428,123418,790393,141366,541489,888447,598
Temporary exhibitions91,101105,71089,34895,41791,464255,380
Travelling exhibitions63,762248,641372,407344,512163,388736,811
Public programs and events69,06153,09733,29729,64928,16636,653
Functions/venue hire34,23432,52832,39718,78518,14320,839

Number of paid versus teacher-guided student visits,* 2010–11

Column graph indicating the number of paid versus teacher-guided student visits, 2010-1. Paid programs: Jul 2035, Aug 3750, Sep 4970, Oct 2535, Nov 2584, Dec 575, Jan 0, Feb 250, Mar 2590, Apr 1201, May 1590, Jun 3250. Teacher-guided: Jul 4284, Aug 8031, Sep 8136, Oct 7218, Nov 6519, Dec 1260, Jan 317, Feb 1133, Mar 5481, Apr 2380, May 6041, Jun 7115. Totals: Jul 6319, Aug 11,781, Sep 13,106, Oct 9753, Nov 9103, Dec 1835, Jan 317, Feb 1383, Mar 8071, Apr 3581, May 7631, Jun 10,365.

Number of primary versus secondary students, 2010–11

    Column graph indicating the visitation numbers of primary versus secondary students, 2010–11.
    Primary: Jul 3931, Aug 9792, Sep 11,061, Oct 8180, Nov 7559, Dec 1043, Jan 194, Feb 1080, Mar 6536, Apr 2521, May 6286, Jun 8684.
    Secondary: Jul 1627, Aug 1989, Sep 2045, Oct 1573, Nov 1544, Dec 792, Jan 123, Feb 303, Mar 1535, Apr 1060, May 1345, Jun 1681.
    Totals: Jul 6319, Aug 11,781, Sep 13,106, Oct 9753, Nov 9103, Dec 1835, Jan 317, Feb 1383, Mar 8071, Apr 3581, May 7631, Jun 10,365.

Number of students visiting per state and internationally, 2010–11

Column graph indicating the number of students visiting per state and internationally, 2010–11. ACT 9177, NSW 40,497, VIC 13,814, QLD 11,505, SA 3411, WA 3060, NT 672, TAS 853, INT 256

Percentage of school bookings per state and internationally, 2010–11

Doughnut chart indicating the percentage of school bookings per state and internationally, 2010–11. NSW 48.6 per cent, VIC 16.6 per cent, QLD 13.8 per cent, SA 4.2 per cent, WA 3.7 per cent, NT 0.8 per cent, TAS 1 per cent, INT 0.3 per cent, ACT 11 per cent.

Comparison of student visitation numbers, 2002–11

Financial yearTotal visitation

Audience and visitor research

The Museum actively seeks comments from visitors by conducting exit interviews, commissioning audience research and inviting visitors to provide written feedback through feedback forms. Informal comments are also noted by visitor services hosts and Public Programs staff. Since opening in 2001, the Museum has recorded all exit interviews into a database that enables the analysis of visitor demographics, attitudes and behaviour over time. This year, the Museum conducted 401 exit interviews, along with 250 interviews of visitors to temporary exhibitions.

In 2010–11, visitors aged 60 years and over were the most strongly represented, and the proportion of repeat visitors was 55 per cent overall. Forty-three per cent of visitors interviewed during the year had visited the Museum three or more times. Thirty-nine per cent of visitors were from Canberra, 26 per cent were from New South Wales and 19 per cent were from Victoria.

A focus on client service

The Museum’s Client Service Charter is available to the public as a brochure and on the Museum’s website. During the year the Museum received 278 written comments from visitors using the Client Service Charter feedback form. Feedback was received on services, programs, exhibitions, the building and facilities.

A total of 1250 emails were received through the email address, an increase of just over 17.5 per cent compared with 2009–10. These emails covered many subjects including conservation questions, and offers to donate objects or assist with image reproduction or research.

The majority of the feedback was positive, reporting successful visits to the permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions. Visitors also commented on the positive contribution the Museum was making to reconciliation in Australia through Indigenous exhibitions and programs. Wayfinding and lighting issues represented the largest proportion of negative feedback.

Changes to the Museum’s services, amenities and exhibitions were made as a direct result of visitor feedback, including:

  • improved accessibility for visitors with special needs
  • further improvements in lighting in the permanent exhibition areas.

Positive references to the service provided by the visitor services hosts represented the highest number of visitor comments recorded using the Client Service Charter, accounting for over 35 per cent of all feedback received in 2010–11. This is an increase of 16.1 per cent compared with 2009–10.

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