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The Museum’s performance is guided by a set of legislative, public sector and organisational requirements. The Museum Act charges the Museum with the function of developing, preserving and exhibiting the historical material of the Australian nation.

It also specifies that the Museum should conduct and disseminate research and information about Australian history (see Appendix 2: Functions and powers of the National Museum of Australia).

These functions determine all aspects of the Museum’s performance. The government’s performance targets, specified in the annual Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), are achieved through work defined in one program, which leads to the outcome:

Increased awareness and understanding of Australia’s history and culture by managing the National Museum’s collections and providing access through public programs and exhibitions.

At the operational level, the Museum’s strategic priorities and annual business priorities guide the activities of all business units to achieve the results specified in the Museum’s outcome.

Strategic priorities 2014–18

The strategic priorities for 2014–18, which were approved by the Museum’s Council in May 2014, were to:

  • take the lead: so that ‘the Museum effectively researches, documents and expresses the nation’s history’
  • cherish our stories: so that ‘the Museum affirms the value and diversity of the nation’s history and experience through its role as storytellers and custodians’
  • listen and act: so that ‘the Museum places audiences and visitors at the centre of all its work’
  • see us first: so that ‘the Museum is seen as a must-see destination in Canberra’
  • work smarter: so that ‘the Museum utilises its people, assets and financial resources to deliver the best possible outcomes’.
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