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Communications and information management (page 1 of 2)

Public Affairs

Public affairs strategies this year resulted in significant coverage for the Museum's exhibitions, collection and programs, reaching out to audiences across Australia.

The most notable increase in publicity came from news of acquisitions including the Holden Prototype No.1 and the Miss Australia crown. Additions to the NHC were unveiled at media launches where curators joined guests with strong connections to the objects: Holden engineer Jack Rawnsley worked on the prototype and Michelle Downes wore the crown as Miss Australia 1973. Publicity for both was achieved in broadcast and print media well beyond Canberra, raising awareness among many Australians. The breadth and historical significance of the Springfield collection also generated much interest.

Media interview with the Hon. Kim Beazley, MP, at the launch of A World without Polio.
Media interview with the Hon. Kim Beazley, MP, at the launch of A World without Polio. Photo: George Serras.

The Public Affairs team continued to promote the highly visual nature, topicality and scholarship of the Museum's exhibitions, resulting in widespread coverage for Extremes: Survival in the Great Deserts of the Southern Hemisphere and the annual survey of political cartooning, Behind the Lines. Public Affairs worked closely with the Foreign Correspondents' Association and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to build on the international links in Extremes. Another successful strategy resulted in publicity for several publications linked to Extremes, emphasising the Museum's research and scholarly activities.

The team also worked with Rotary to promote A World without Polio, which opened in Canberra before starting a national tour. The Museum's travelling exhibitions continued to attract attention across Australia, with particular success at reaching audiences in Perth for the duration of Hickory Dickory Dock and Rare Trades in Geelong.

Other outreach activities, including the launch of the Pass the Salt online community exhibition in Wagga Wagga, achieved good coverage in regional areas. Metropolitan and regional media were successfully targeted for several Museum programs with a national focus, including the Great Anzac Biscuit Bash, where chef Margaret Fulton, Country Women's Association members and Museum curators spoke to radio presenters across Australia about the role of women during the war and the history of the Anzac biscuit.

This year the Museum consolidated media collaborations using the broadcast Studio to provide audio for events including Talkback Classroom and Science Week forums for broadcast on ABC Radio National. Work continued with the History Channel and on collaborative projects with organisations such as the Australian National University, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission and Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand.

Marketing the Museum

ACT Minister for Tourism Ted Quinlan joins Museum staff members Trish Kirkland, Louise Douglas and Clint Wright at the national tourism awards in Alice Springs.
ACT Minister for Tourism Ted Quinlan joins Museum staff members Trish Kirkland, Louise Douglas and Clint Wright at the national tourism awards in Alice Springs. Photo: Nick Slater, Australian Capital Tourism.

National tourism award

The Museum won the Best Major Tourist Attraction category at the Australian Tourism Awards in 2004. This award is regarded as the highest accolade in the Australian tourism industry.

Brand awareness

In April 2003, the Museum launched a campaign to enhance recognition of the Museum's brand across a wider audience, create visitation from new markets and encourage repeat visitation from existing markets. For the last 12 months, the campaign concentrated on Sydney, the Australian Capital Territory and southern New South Wales.

A national survey conducted by Newspoll in May 2005 indicated that the community's level of awareness of the Museum has risen steadily and that the number of people identifying the Museum as 'a place worth making a special visit to' has risen. The results also show that the brand awareness campaign has been successful in positioning the Museum as a stimulating and engaging place to visit.

Marketing campaigns

Successful campaigns were developed for temporary exhibitions - Extremes: Survival in the Great Deserts of the Southern Hemisphere and Behind the Lines 2004: The Year's Best Cartoons . Targeted marketing campaigns supported the Museum's other temporary exhibitions (In Search of the Birdsville Track: An Artist in the Outback, Pooaraar: The Great Forgetting and Our Community: A Great Place to Be) and travelling exhibitions (Rare Trades , Behind the Lines and Hickory Dickory Dock).

Other highlights included:

  • the success of the Shop marketing strategy which contributed to a substantial increase in sales
  • separate marketing campaigns for schools programs, Museum tours and school holiday programs
  • development of tour packages for inbound tour operators and international markets.

The Museum continued to strengthen its collaborative relationships with tourism industry associations such as the Tourism Task Force, Canberra Convention Bureau, Australian Tourist Commission and Australian Capital Tourism Corporation.

Publishing

The Museum publishes books and catalogues as part of its research, exhibitions and outreach activities. In 2004-2005, the Museum reviewed and approved its Publishing policy.

During the year, the Museum also published the first books under its new imprint, National Museum of Australia Press. The imprint was established to give the publishing program a sustainable identity within the general and academic publishing industries. It is envisaged that as the Museum's research output continues to grow, the Press will become a significant vehicle for its dissemination, both through print and electronic media.

The Museum aims to document and celebrate the distinctive characteristics and history of the nation. Through its publications the Museum provides access to and information about its collections, shares its research and scholarship and serves its general and specialist audiences nationally and internationally.

Publishing policy, February 2005.

Six new publications were added to the Museum's list in 2004-2005. They included exhibition catalogues for In Search of the Birdsville Track and Behind the Lines (see Travelling exhibitions). Along with information and images from the exhibitions, Museum catalogues provide additional research and commentary on the subjects. They aim to help visitors engage with the exhibition beyond their visit, and give non-visitors the opportunity to explore the content.

National Museum of Australia Press released two major research publications in 2004-2005: 23°S: Archaeology and Environmental History of the Southern Deserts, released in conjunction with the Extremes exhibition, and A Change in the Weather: Climate and Culture in Australia. Both books offer a cross-disciplinary approach to scientific and historical research and draw together international and Australian scholars. A Change in the Weather was launched in Melbourne on World Meteorological Day by Professor Geoffrey Blainey. The Museum also published the conference proceedings Metal 04, using a 'print on demand' facility, which has proved to be a cost-effective means of publishing for a limited print run with small ongoing demand.

In June, National Museum of Australia Press was successful in its application to be listed on the Register of Commercial Publishers maintained by the Department of Education, Science and Training. This will enable academics writing for Museum publications to claim full points for the purposes of the Register of Commercial Publishers scheme.

During the year, another title was added to the ongoing National Museum of Australia Collection Series. These books, which focus on single objects or collections from the National Historical Collection, aim to make Museum research attainable for non-specialised readers. They are accessibly written, attractively packaged and affordably priced. Ernabella Batiks, released in July 2004, has proved to be a very popular title. Wrapped in a Possum Skin Cloak, based on the Museum's Tooloyn Koortakay ('Squaring skins for rugs') collection of Victorian Aboriginal possum skin cloaks, is on the point of publication.

Children and families are key audiences for the Museum. This year National Museum of Australia Press embarked on a project to publish a series of readers aimed at children from seven to ten years old. The first series of Making Tracks features eight books by well-known Australian children's authors. Each has contributed a fictional story based upon an actual Museum object. The Museum's website will feature educational support material and activities based upon the chosen objects. The books are due for publication in early 2006-2007.

Three books published by National Museum of Australia Press.