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27 March 2013

The Director of the National Museum of Australia, Andrew Sayers, AM, has announced his intention to retire from the Australian Public Service, effective from 1 July 2013.

Mr Sayers has been Director of the National Museum following his tenure leading the National Portrait Gallery. He will be leaving Canberra to be with his wife, who has lived and worked in Melbourne for the past two years.

'I have worked at cultural institutions in Canberra since 1985 and retain a great affection for the city and its special place in the cultural life of Australia. I leave the Museum confident that the reputation of the Museum as the home of our national treasures is one of which we can all be proud. Professionally, I have enjoyed making a contribution to the Museum, yet, as many couples have discovered a "commuter relationship" is not ideal,' said Mr Sayers.

The Chairman of the Council of the National Museum of Australia, Mr Daniel Gilbert, AM, paid tribute to the outgoing Director; 'Andrew has made a very significant difference to the National Museum of Australia during his time as Director – he has improved its operational productivity and efficiency. The Museum’s visitor numbers have grown and he has made changes to the look and amenity of the Museum, making the visitor experience more engaging. Importantly, he has developed exhibitions from the Museum’s own collection,' said Mr Gilbert.

During his time as Director of the National Museum, Mr Sayers has been responsible for a major building expansion program that has included displaying more of the Museum's large objects in the entrance hall, a new and exciting cafe precinct and an eye-catching new wing to allow for more exhibition space for the Museum's growing collection.

In the past three years, the National Museum has attracted record visitor numbers to Yiwarrra Kuju - The Canning Stock Route – a groundbreaking exhibition chosen to be the cultural centrepiece at the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government in Perth. Acquisitions have included rare drawings and photographic albums documenting the lives of Aboriginal people in Victoria in the 19th Century, two of the earliest extant Melbourne Cups and the Daimler that carried a young Queen Elizabeth around Australian in 1954.

The Museum’s current exhibition, Glorious Days, examining the life of Australians in 1913, is proving to be an enormously popular part of the celebrations for the centenary of Canberra. Like many of the exhibitions in the forward program, it draws heavily on the Museum’s own collection. Later this year the Museum will mount Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists, an exhibition highlighting the Museum’s collection of Aboriginal bark paintings, the largest in the world.

For more information contact Dennis Grant, NMA media liaison: or 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481

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