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Communications and information management

Public Affairs

The Museum's Public Affairs section pursued an active strategy for generating media coverage of exhibitions, acquisitions and activities in order to reach, and engage, both national and international audiences to the Museum.
Lea Dickson, with her hands in white gloves, holding the Miss Australia crown above her head, watched by three other former titleholders.
Miss Australia 1989, Lea Dickson, at the media preview of Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest.

Some highlights of the work of the Public Affairs section include:

  • Leichhardt nameplate: A press conference was held to announce the purchase of the Leichhardt nameplate, at which detailed analysis by conservation and curatorial staff and an extensive media kit with video were provided. The event generated extensive network television news, and national and regional print coverage. The story was also promoted on the Museum's website.
  • Between the Flags: 100 Years of Surf Lifesaving: Print and magazine outlets were provided with an extensive range of photographs of historic and geographic interest, which were widely published.
  • Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest: A media preview event — featuring 11 former Miss Australia titleholders — generated extensive coverage on network and local television, national and local radio, and national, metropolitan and regional media.
  • ABC Collectors: A display in the Hall of the collection of the winner of the 'Collector Cam' competition on the ABC's Collectors television program generated considerable coverage on ABC television and radio, and regional media. The Collectors program promoted the display and the Museum.
  • Sir Robert Menzies' Bentley: Completion of extensive conservation work on the Bentley used by former prime minister Sir Robert Menzies presented an opportunity to publicise important conservation work undertaken by Museum staff. With the assistance of staff from the Prime Minister's Office, Museum staff drove the Bentley and the Holden prototype no. 1 into the Prime Minister's courtyard at Parliament House. The Hon John Howard, MP, Prime Minister of Australia, was filmed, photographed and interviewed as he undertook a detailed examination of both cars.
  • Ashes letter opener at the Lodge: The 'other Ashes bail', an object loaned to the National Museum for display in the Nation gallery, was temporarily transferred to the Prime Minister's Lodge for a reception for the touring English cricket team. The display generated widespread coverage in Australian media and in the United Kingdom.
  • Centre for Historical Research: A half-day seminar for journalists from major print-media organisations was organised to explain in detail the work and vision of the Centre for Historical Research. The event generated a range of feature and in-depth articles and increased the profile of the centre.
  • Hailstorm: The damaging hailstorm that struck the Museum on 29 December 2006 created widespread media interest for many days following the storm. The Public Affairs section worked with other Museum staff to prepare timely and accurate reports for broadcast and print media that underscored the fact that the Museum and its collection and staff were unaffected. Having dealt with the immediate cause and effect of the storm, the media focus shifted to the quality conservation care extended to some non-collection artworks damaged by the storm.

Staff who regularly represent the Museum in the media were provided with media training. Work continued on the development of a visiting journalists program with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Capital Tourism Corporation.

Marketing

For the second time in three years, the Museum won the Best Major Tourist Attraction category at the Australian Tourism Awards. This award is regarded as the highest accolade in the Australian tourism industry, and was featured in a new brand campaign to enhance the Museum's reputation and encourage tourists to visit.

From left to right: Individual images of the award for the Best Major Tourist Attraction and the posters showing the marketing concepts for the Cook's Pacific Encounters and Miss Australia exhibitions.
(left) The Museum won Best Major Tourist Attraction category at the Australian Tourism Awards; (middle and right) Posters showing the marketing concepts for Cook's Pacific Encounters and Miss Australia.

Brand awareness campaigns included television commercials and print advertisements that highlight the visitor experience and a selection of the Museum's significant and popular objects. Newspoll research undertaken in May 2007 showed that public awareness of the Museum remains high.

Successful marketing campaigns were developed for the temporary exhibitions Cook's Pacific Encounters: The Cook–Forster Collection of the Georg-August University of Göttingen, Between the Flags: 100 Years of Surf Lifesaving, Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest, 70% Urban and '67 Referendum: Spin, Myths and Meanings.

The Museum achieved very high levels of awareness for the Cook's Pacific Encounters exhibition, with 98 per cent of surveyed visitors knowing about the exhibition before their visit, reflecting the effectiveness of the marketing and advertising campaign. Seventy-two per cent of visitors to Between the Flags knew about the exhibition prior to their visit, with the television commercial performing strongly to create awareness. To encourage more people visiting the Museum to also visit temporary gallery exhibitions, Marketing adopted a successful onsite campaign for Between the Flags.

Effective marketing campaigns also contributed to high levels of visitation to the Between the Flags Family Festival on Australia Day 2007, and to the school holiday program featuring a life-sized Thomas the Tank engine and storytelling by the 'Fat Controller'.