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Our ambassadors: The Friends of the National Museum of Australia

In June 2010, there were 1131 Friends memberships, comprising 3621 individuals. The membership shifted slightly with more families and fewer individuals joining or renewing their membership. Friends continued its role of maintaining and enhancing community support for the Museum throughout 2009–10. The Friends provided a range of benefits to members in the Australian Capital Territory and beyond, including 74 Friends events, which were attended by more than 2958 people.

Highlights included:

  • the popular series Playlunch with Friends and Get messy with Grandma (or Grandpa)
  • two programs, exclusively for Friends members and aimed at under-5s: Making Music with Friends, which expanded to include two sessions, and Dramatic Play with Friends
  • the Women's Voices series, now in its seventh year, continues to be strongly supported by Friends members and visitors
  • curator-led previews of all Museum exhibitions
  • a very successful series of talks featuring Museum curators presenting their research into key collection objects linked to gallery redevelopment
  • Cultural Treasures, a well-attended series of talks, featuring embassy representatives speaking about museums in their countries
  • the introduction of a new set of talks, History at Home, in April 2010, looking at domestic social history
  • in conjunction with the Centre for Historical Research, an annual Friends' History Workshop for amateur historians, and new in 2009, a quarterly BookTalk, focusing on Australian authors and their books on Australian history
  • exclusive cruises on the lake aboard the PS Enterprise during the steaming season.

Events were presented in partnership with other organisations, including the Australian Federation of Friends of Museums, the National Trust and the Museum's own Centre for Historical Research. Friends also appreciated the benefit of special 'Friends reserve' seating at popular Museum events including the Behind the Lines 'In Conversation' with Mike Bowers and Karen Middleton, and 'Bowled Over' with Gideon Haigh.

The Friends quarterly magazine, published in July, September, March and June, continues to showcase the activities of the Museum and the Friends. The magazine is also distributed widely to parliamentarians, libraries and museums in Australia and to Australia's diplomatic missions overseas. The Friends received support from the Hyatt Hotel, and Pauline Hore (auditor). In addition, the Museum continued to provide invaluable in-kind support.