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Future outlook - The years ahead

The Museum's first three years have been devoted to the development and delivery of exhibitions, visitor services and programs to audiences both at Acton and beyond Canberra. It has demonstrated a fresh innovative approach to its programs and exhibitions. In order to continue to address this question and to maintain its strong performance into the future there are six areas which need to be addressed:

Recognition and consolidation of existing strengths - In the pre and post-opening periods the Museum has developed a range of strengths which have been recognised nationally and internationally. These are a strong audience focus, use of external expertise, project management skills, community consultation, contemporary relevance, educational and general public programming and its professionally trained hosting staff. Building on these strengths is an important aim for the Museum's future.

Development of a new five-year strategic plan - The Museum has prepared a preliminary strategic plan for the period up to 2007 which it is reviewing in light of experience gained in the Museum's new operational context, further consultations with internal and external stakeholders, and the outcomes of the Review of Exhibitions and Public Programs.

Development of the National Historical Collection - The new collection development framework identifies the collecting domains around which the Museum's collections will be focused for the next five years. It provides a definition of each collecting domain as well as identifying collecting areas, which will balance both long-term collecting interests with targeted collecting projects and acquisitions for specific exhibitions and other public programs. However, implementation of this new framework cannot be effected unless the Museum can draw on funds set aside for acquisitions. Without this it will have no alternative than to continue acquiring objects on a small scale or to transfer resources from other Museum projects to fund acquisitions.

Enhancement of the research program - In 2002, the Council approved a new research policy. The Museum is currently engaging in a number of research activities which underpin and support the national role of the Museum, are relevant to the Museum's three core themes, are relevant to the Museum's collections, exhibitions, and other public programs, provide opportunities for external funding through grants, and provide opportunities for using the outcomes for promoting the Museum. It is important that the Museum now develops a range of strategies designed to implement these key objectives.

Enhancement of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) - The Museum's ICT infrastructure positions the Museum as a leader among Australian cultural institutions in the use of ICT. The Museum must capitalise on its assets to become a world leader among museums in the innovative use of ICT by providing electronic outreach to off-site audiences, developing key areas of technological expertise, and building an organisational culture that is informed and enabled by best practice in ICT.

Gallery extension - The Museum has achieved an impressive record in attracting visitors, including school students, to its Acton facility. However, only 4304 square metres is available for permanent exhibition space with another 1000 square metres available for temporary exhibitions. This space is modest in comparison with other major museums and has meant that some significant subject matter and events are not covered in the exhibitions. The most appropriate means of ensuring that these events and issues are reflected in exhibitions of the same design, quality and integrity as the existing exhibitions, is to construct additional exhibition galleries. As well as expanding exhibition spaces, an extension should also enable increased facilities for school students, performances, conferences and associated visitor services.