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Generating external revenue and support

Sponsorship and development

In 2008–09 the Museum raised $716,705 in cash or in-kind support, exceeding the target of $600,000. This included sponsorship for three major exhibitions, as follows:

  • League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (travelling exhibition), $210,340
  • Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Canberra), $54,000
  • Darwin (Canberra), $48,000.

'Whole of Museum' sponsorship has continued to grow with major media sponsors again renewing their commitment and delivering support valued at over $392,000 to build the Museum's brand.

The Museum regularly reviews and revitalises its sponsorship program, particularly in the context of the evolution of the Museum's credibility and reputation as it matures as an organisation. A major review, undertaken in 2006–07 and implemented in 2008–09, resulted in the Museum consolidating its sponsorship programs to create a single sponsorship program. The outcome of this was to:

  • create a robust and effective sponsorship program
  • provide a framework that caters for both major categories of sponsorship, whole-of-Museum sponsors and exhibition sponsors
  • deliver a return on sponsorship investment
  • build the Museum's brand through marketing and communication opportunities created by partnerships with sponsors
  • reinforce the Museum's vision to be a worldclass museum through supporting exhibitions, programs and services.

The Museum works closely with the Friends of the National Museum of Australia Foundation, which aims to enhance support for the Museum's acquisitions program.

Merchandising and retail

Merchandising and retail operations raise commercial revenues while enhancing visitor experiences by providing merchandise that is largely inspired by the Museum's exhibitions, programs and its unique building. Key achievements during 2008–09 included:

  • 11 per cent growth in gross revenue
  • a conversion rate (that is, the percentage of Museum visitors who purchase from the Museum Shop during their visit) of 17.78 per cent compared with 16.16 per cent in 2007–08.

Retail staff are active members of the ACT branch of the Museum Shops Association of Australia. This forum includes retail managers from the National Gallery of Australia, Questacon, Parliament House Shop, the National Library of Australia, Old Parliament House and the National Film and Sound Archive. Two staff members attended the annual conference held in September 2008 at the National Gallery of Australia.

Venue hire

The Museum is a popular venue and in 2008–09 a range of corporate events was held at Acton, including conferences, meetings, product launches, gala dinners, awards presentations and cocktail receptions. Overall, however, there was a decline in functions and venue hire by external users, which evidence suggests is linked to the economic downturn.

Key relationships were developed within the industry to help promote the Museum as a venue to local, national and international markets, particularly the conventions industry. See Appendix 6 for further details.

National Museum of Australia Press

National Museum of Australia Press titles are sold in the Museum Shop and distributed nationally by NewSouth Books. During the reporting year over 11,000 books were sold in the Museum Shop and revenue from national sales totalled $160,000 — a record for the press. Negotiations are underway to secure a contract for international distribution, which will provide the Museum with the opportunity to increase this revenue stream.