Our visitors and audiences
Visitation for 2009–10 was 4,171,904 (including 880,030 visitors to Acton and travelling exhibitions and 3,291,874 online visitors) and exceeded the set target of 3.27 million identified in the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). The year's visitation was marked by:
- a change in visitor counting methodology to thermal imaging counters, which allow for more accurate recording. The thermal image counters were installed in the permanent galleries and the temporary exhibition gallery in July 2009.
- a slight decline in visitors to permanent galleries, which reflects an overall decline in visitation to Canberra
- a substantial reduction in visitation to travelling exhibitions due to the smaller number of major exhibitions travelling in 2009–10
- a record number of school students visiting the Museum
- a better than expected result for functions and venue hire by external users in the context of the economic downturn.
Web visitation has grown from 2,533,138 last year to 3,291,874. This growth is due to the continued addition of content including features on Indigenous culture and more detailed information relating to the Museum's collection.
"Visitation was 4,171,904 and exceeded the set target of 3.27 million."
Visitation numbers (excluding the web), 2001–10
Monthly web visitation figures, 2009–10
Breakdown of national visitation numbers (excluding the web), 2005–10
|Public programs and events||69,061||53,097||33,297||29,649||28,166|
Program highlights for visiting schools
The Museum ran a number of new and innovative programs for visiting schools in the reporting period. Of particular note were two programs offered to schools in conjunction with two of the Museum's temporary exhibitions. The first, entitled 'Water wonders', was a program designed to exploit the education potential of the Water: H2O=Life exhibition. This hands-on program was well attended by schools with almost 3000 students taking part. A second program, based on the exhibition From Little Things Big Things Grow, encouraged students to consider the issue of Indigenous rights and was also well-attended.
In addition, the Museum modified a number of its pre-school to year 4 programs in an attempt to attract more local schools. This was successfully undertaken with school numbers for this age group significantly increasing in 2009–10 from 3506 in 2008–09 to 4114 in 2009–10. This increase was also in part due to the redevelopment of Indigenous programs for younger students.
Overall, 99 per cent of schools were satisfied with the programs provided by the Museum. When asked to evaluate the programs, teachers commented that they appreciated and enjoyed the programs' 'hands on' nature, describing them as 'engaging, child-centred and positive'.
Number of paid versus teacher-guided student visits*, 2009–10
*Paid visits are facilitated by a Museum staff member. Teacher-guided visits are supervised by the accompanying teacher.
Number of primary versus secondary students, 2009–10
Number of schools visiting per state, 2009–10
Percentage of school bookings per state, 2009–10
Comparison of student visitation numbers, 2002–10
Audience and visitor research
The Museum actively seeks comments from visitors by conducting exit interviews, commissioning audience research and inviting visitors to provide written feedback through feedback forms. Informal comments are also noted by visitor services hosts and public programs staff. The Museum enters visitor feedback data into a database that enables the analysis of visitor demographics, attitudes and behaviour over time. The Museum has been conducting exit interviews since opening in 2001 and this year conducted interviews with 400 visitors, increasing the total number of interviews to 19,000.
Visitors aged 51 years and over continued to be the most strongly represented and, in 2009–10, 33 per cent of visitors were from Canberra or its close neighbour, Queanbeyan; 58 per cent were from elsewhere in Australia, in particular Sydney and regional New South Wales; and 9 per cent were from overseas. The proportion of repeat visitors was 50 per cent overall. Thirty-seven per cent of visitors interviewed during the year had visited the Museum three or more times.
Small-scale evaluations with visitors were also undertaken for programs such as NAIDOC Week; the Barks, Birds & Billabongs symposium; and exhibitions such as Water: H2O=Life and Voyages of the Pacific Ancestors: Vaka Moana. These evaluations, in conjunction with those undertaken at a number of family festivals, provided valuable feedback that is used to shape future programs and exhibitions.