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2 July 2004

The National Museum of Australia is to change two of its five permanent exhibitions and refurbish all the galleries to improve the way stories are told and themes explored.

Craddock Morton, who was permanently appointed Museum director last Friday, said the changes are part of a comprehensive four-year Collections and Development Plan. It responds to the recommendations made last year by the review committee headed by sociologist Professor John Carroll.

Mr Morton, who has been acting director since December, said the Museum will also focus more on building research and scholarship and on acquiring more 19th Century material for the National Historical Collection.

'More than 2.5 million people have visited the museum since we opened in March 2001,' said Mr Morton. 'In its short life it has established itself as a popular and exciting place for visitors to discover what it is to be Australian. Museums should never stand still and this redevelopment will deepen the experience for those seeking a comprehensive Australian history.'

The National Museum will continue to explore the story of Australia and Australians through the themes of land, nation and people.

In 2004-05 the following work will commence:

  • Redevelop the multi-media theatre Circa, to better serve as an introduction to the themes and content of the exhibitions
  • Redevelop the Horizons gallery into Australian Journeys, covering European exploration of and immigration to Australia, and journeys to significant Australian sites around the world
  • Redevelop the Nation gallery into Creating a Country, covering the challenges and achievements of Australians living and working across the continent
  • Establish an annual acquisitions fund of $1 million to enhance the Collection
  • Improve signage, lighting and acoustics to enhance the visitor experience
  • Refurbish all galleries to improve storytelling and narrative coherence
  • Produce published and online guides to highlight works across all galleries related to popular themes, and to interpret the Garden of Australian Dreams
  • Review Museum's research strategy and programs for staff and visiting scholars.

For interviews or information please contact the National Museum's Public Affairs Director, Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or

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