As the Museum and its collections have become more widely known, the number and complexity of public requests for access and donation offers has increased, requiring registration and curatorial staff to provide greater time assisting the public in this way.
In response to this public demand, in 2001-2002 the Museum introduced a duty curator scheme to respond to collection offers as well as to general inquiries about the Museum's collections and exhibitions. Through this scheme, a roster system provides the services of specialist collection staff as the first point of contact with the general public. In its second year of operation, the scheme responded to 302 collection offers, which resulted in 37 collections being accepted and 78 carried over for consideration next year. Duty curators also responded to more than 500 general inquiries about the Museum's collections and exhibitions during the year.
Following the success of the duty curator scheme, the Museum also introduced a duty registrar scheme to improve public access to the collections and to respond more efficiently and effectively to public demand. Accordingly, the number of visits by members of the public and specialist organisations to collections in storage increased by nearly 50 per cent during the year. Visitors included the Friends of the National Museum of Australia, students from the Canberra Institute of Technology Museum Studies and the University of Canberra Cultural Heritage Management courses and museum professionals from overseas.