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24 February 2007

The National Museum of Australia in Canberra was named Best Major Tourist Attraction at the 2006-07 Australian Tourism Awards in Sydney last night.

This is the second time the Museum has won the top national award and it comes in a year when the institution attracted more than three quarters of a million visitors.

'This confirms the attraction of the Museum as a top cultural tourism destination. The award emphasises the importance of museums at a time when Australian and international visitors are increasingly interested in our history,' said the Museum's Acting Director Suzy Nethercott-Watson.

'Since the National Museum opened in March 2001 the Museum has consistently impressed visitors across Australia and overseas with their ability to tell the Australian story through exhibitions, engaging public programs and a unique collection supported by world-class research.'

The Museum celebrates its sixth anniversary next month. It has hosted more than five million visitors in that time, with visitor numbers up 16 per cent last financial year. The Museum also staged its most successful exhibition, Captivating and Curious, last year.

'More than 80,000 people visited Captivating and Curious and shared the passion of collecting while learning more about the gems of the Museum's collection from Robert O'Hara Burke's water bottle to the No.1 Holden Prototype,' Ms Nethercott-Watson said.

'This award underscores Canberra as the home of Australia's national treasures.'

The Museum also has a vibrant touring exhibition program, reaching out to communities well beyond Canberra with exhibitions on subjects including Ned Kelly, the history of rail, Play School and Aboriginal artist Pooaraar.

Ms Nethercott-Watson said the Australian Tourism Award demonstrated industry recognition of the Museum's success in helping Australian and international visitors to learn about Australian history.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Leanda Kitchen on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

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