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Communicating and connecting with the community

Promoting and marketing the Museum

While the Museum's marketing continued to highlight exhibitions, programs and activities, considerable effort was focused on ensuring visitors were aware of the closing of the Nation gallery in February 2010. The gallery development communications strategy provided factual information about the need for, and benefits of, developing galleries, to keep visitors informed about changes pre-, during and post-visit, and to ensure their expectations were met.

The Museum again worked with key organisations responsible for bringing visitors to Canberra. This was facilitated by Trish Kirkland, the Museum's Marketing, Sponsorship, and Tourism Manager, in her roles as President of the National Capital Attractions Association and Director, Tourism Industry Council (ACT). Membership of the Australian Capital Territory Tourism Minister's Advisory Board, and Chief Minister's round tables also enabled the Museum to keep abreast of key issues and trends in the tourism industry and business community. Work continued on the development of a tourism strategy to ensure the Museum is positioned as a key part of the overall program to celebrate the centenary of the Australian Capital Territory in 2013.

A colour photograph of an exhibition launch in a museum. The photograph has been taken looking down upon the launch, in a 'bird's eye' view. In the foreground of the photograph is a lectern on a small stage. A man stands at the lectern, with his back to the camera. In front of him are two groups of what appear to be official guests for the launch. They all sit on seats. Behind them stand many more people. In the background can be seen what appears to be an exhibition.
A rapt audience at the launch of From Little Things Big Things Grow in the Gallery of First Australians.

In collaboration with Australian Capital Tourism and other locally based organisations, the Museum contributed, for the second time, to the Culture Shock campaign, held over the 2009–10 summer and targeting potential audiences in Sydney and regional New South Wales. Other participants were the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the Museum of Australian Democracy.

The review of the Museum's brand, initiated in late 2009, was delayed until the arrival of the new Director in June 2010. The use of social media to connect with audiences was substantially enhanced, with a Twitter account and an e-letter established to provide updates on exhibition launches, upcoming public programs, media releases and new website content.

Advertising and market research

In accordance with reporting requirements contained in Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Museum annually reports expenditure on advertising and market research. Expenditure by the Museum on advertising and market research in 2009–10 is summarised in the following chart:

Firm

Type

Value

Environmetrics market research $18,182
Multi Channel network media advertising $58,048
Prime Television media advertising $443,538

Note: In accordance with s311A(2) only payments over $10,000 are reported.

The Museum and the media

The national media focus in 2009–10 was on exhibitions, major acquisitions and events and included the unfurling in the Museum's Hall of two recently acquired paintings, Ngurrara Canvas I and Martumili Ngurra, from the south Kimberley in Western Australia. These huge canvases attracted widespread coverage and built awareness and interest in the exhibition Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route, which will open at the end of July 2010.

Barks, Birds & Billabongs: Exploring the Legacy of the 1948 American–Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, an international symposium that investigated the expedition's significant and controversial legacy, drew an impressive group of commentators, including former politician and Australian Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley; Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson; and actor, Jack Thompson.

Television director Rachel Perkins generated considerable media coverage when she reflected on her father Charles Perkins' role in the struggle for Indigenous rights, which featured in the exhibition From Little Things Big Things Grow: Fighting for Indigenous Rights 1920–1970.

The exhibition Water: H2O=Life gave the opportunity to provide managed media events: the arrival of a large Murray cod to be displayed in the exhibition, the visit of a descendant of the inventor of the Dethridge water wheel and a visit by Jeffrey L Bleich, the United States Ambassador, all helped to promote the exhibition.

Objects and acquisitions continue to build national media curiosity and interest in the Museum. The arrival of a huge backhoe rock shovel from Rio Tinto Limited's Mount Tom Price iron ore mine in the Pilbara provided a media 'scoop' and attracted public attention to the Landmarks: People and Places across Australia gallery development project.

Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons 2009 is an annual favourite of the national media and draws widespread coverage. Media commentator Michael Bowers, who opened the exhibition in December this year, praised the exhibition for recognising the important role cartoonists play in our understanding of politics.

The announcement by Prime Minister the Hon Kevin Rudd MP that an exhibition on the experience of Irish people in Australia will open at the National Museum on St Patrick's Day 2011 was widely reported in the national media and has created a great deal of interest in the exhibition.

The Museum also attracted international media interest with the opening of the exhibition Papunya Painting: Out of the Australian Desert at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing in June 2010. The Chinese media showed a great deal of interest in Aboriginal art from the Western Desert of Australia. Closer to home, New Zealand and Pacific media closely followed the Museum's decision to accept the unanimous advice of international conservation and anatomy experts to decline requests to remove and transport Phar Lap's heart to New Zealand.

National Museum of Australia Press

National Museum of Australia Press was established in 2004 and supports the strategic priorities of sustaining research and scholarship, engaging national audiences and enhancing exhibitions, programs and services. It does this through publishing scholarly and special-interest titles, as well as books for general adult readers and exhibition catalogues.

In 2009–10 the press published eight books, which included two exhibition-related books, three scholarly publications, as well as two books for general adult readers and a number of corporate publications. It also published two issues of the Museum's scholarly journal, reCollections: A Journal of Museums and Collections.

The year's highlights included the following publications:

  • Symbols of Australia: Uncovering the Stories behind the Myths (edited by Melissa Harper and Richard White; co-publication with University of New South Wales Press) offers an entertaining, provocative and often surprising look at 26 of Australia's best-loved symbols. This book examines how symbols make the abstract concept of the nation tangible and give us an identity by representing Australia to itself and the world.
  • Sinners, Saints & Settlers: A Journey through Irish Australia (by Richard Reid and photographer Brendon Kelson) takes readers on a journey through the Irish experience in Australia, visiting locations right across the nation where the Irish story unfolds. The book concentrates on the period 1788 to 1921, when the Irish presence in Australia was proportionately at its most influential and visible.
  • Discovering Cook's Collections (edited by Michelle Hetherington and Howard Morphy) focuses on the collections of art and material culture brought back from the Pacific on Captain Cook's voyages. It includes essays from some of the world's leading and most innovative historians and anthropologists that celebrate the richness of Pacific Island cultures in the initial years of European contact, as well as the collections' contemporary relevance to historians and the Indigenous communities who produced them.

Copyright

In 2009–10, the Copyright and Production Services unit undertook significant work to source and clear images owned by individuals, commercial organisations and cultural institutions throughout Australia and internationally. The Museum's website, exhibitions, marketing and publications require copyright clearances for a large number of images. Approximately 7300 images were delivered to support the Museum's documentation, exhibitions, publishing and communication activities.