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12 February 2005

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra was last night judged the nation's best Major Tourist Attraction, three years after it burst on to the tourism scene.

The Museum clinched the top award at the 2004-2005 Australian Tourism Awards announced at the Alice Springs Convention Centre.

'The National Museum is a young institution but with 820,000 visitors last year alone, we have established a strong reputation for celebrating Australia's social history in new and exciting ways,' said the Museum's director, Craddock Morton.

'This important industry recognition confirms what our visitors are telling us - that they enjoy sharing our diverse stories about Australia's land, nation and people.'

Mr Morton said it was an honour to win the award alongside other Canberra tourist attractions, confirming the national capital as a premier tourist destination.

The Australian Tourism Award acknowledges the Museum's role in bringing Australian stories together from a national perspective and making history accessible through exhibitions and events held in Canberra and beyond.

The Museum's five permanent galleries - with no admission charge - explore stories of Australia and Australians. These are complemented by a range of temporary exhibitions, including the current exhibition, Extremes: Survival in the Great Deserts of the Southern Hemisphere.

Travelling exhibitions include Hickory Dickory Dock, exploring the changing face of Play School; and Behind the Lines, the Museum's annual survey of political cartoons, opening in Sydney next month.

Since the National Museum opened in March 2001, its exhibitions, events and architecture have attracted interest across Australia and the globe. The Museum was the first national institution to gain accreditation from the ACT and Region Tourism Industry Council.

Surveys show that 93 per cent of visitors to the National Museum are satisfied or very satisfied with their experience.

This broad visitor base includes travellers from interstate (about 60 per cent) and overseas (about 10 per cent).

For interviews, images and more information please contact Leanda Coleman on
02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

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