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Outreach (page one)

The Museum continued to enhance its national and international profile by delivering and participating in a diverse range of outreach programs and activities.

Travelling exhibitions

Number of exhibitions at venues, 2001–10


Number of exhibitions

2001–02 1 at 4 venues
2002–03 5 at 6 venues
2003–04 6 at 9 venues
2004–05 5 at 9 venues
2005–06 8 at 28 venues
2006–07 9 at 28 venues
2007–08 9 at 26 venues
2008–09 11 at 32 venues
2009–10 9 at 17 venues (two venues hosting more than one exhibition)
A colour photograph of three museum staff installing a large painting in an exhibition. The painting features traditional patterns in ochres, browns, yellows and white. Two people wearing gloves hold the painting up off the floor. Three support blocks can be seen on the floor underneath the painting. The wall in the background where the painting will be hung is olive green.
Conservation and Registration staff installing the Papunya Painting exhibition at the National Museum of China, Beijing, in June 2010. Photo: Poppy Wenham

International travelling exhibitions

This year saw the Museum reach out to an international audience with the display of Papunya Painting: Out of the Australian Desert at Beijing's National Art Museum of China (10 June – 26 August 2010). The exhibition signified the Museum's status as a producer of world-class exhibitions.

The exhibition, which was originally shown at the Museum in 2007, was selected by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) to form part of the program for the Year of Australian Culture in China, Imagine Australia. Museum staff worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NAMOC to translate both the exhibition text and the catalogue into Chinese. The exhibition, which was opened by the Governor-General on 10 June and remained on display until the end of August 2010, tells the story of the artists and supporters of the Papunya Tula art movement between 1974 and 1981. The exhibition has generated a high level of interest within China with 50,000 visitors in the first three weeks.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with NAMOC, putting in place arrangements for reciprocal travelling exhibitions between Australia and the People's Republic of China. The Museum will host a return exhibition from NAMOC in late 2011, as part of the Year of Chinese Culture in Australia.

The tour of Papunya Painting to China was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts under its National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program.

For the first time, the Museum toured a display to the South Pacific with League of Legends, a photographic history of rugby league. It travelled to Australia's High Commission in Port Moresby and the Museum of Samoa in Apia and was visited by 1453 people.

"Papunya Painting has generated a high level of interest within China with 50,000 visitors in the first three weeks."

National travelling exhibitions

Engaging national audiences, as outlined in the Strategic Plan 2007–10, has been an important priority for the Museum. Travelling exhibitions are one way of achieving this goal. The Museum aims to tour exhibitions to all Australian states and territories within a two-year period. In 2009–10, eight exhibitions travelled to a total of 14 different venues (with two venues hosting more than one exhibition) across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Of these venues, eight were in metropolitan venues and six in regional areas, and the Museum's exhibitions attracted more than 111,935 visitors.

The following travelling exhibitions were supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach (NCITO) Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians: Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route, From Little Things Big Things Grow: Fighting for Indigenous Rights 1920–1970, Symbols of Australia and Papunya Painting: Out of the Australian Desert.

The following exhibitions toured in 2009–10:

A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903–1928

Herbert Basedow was an anthropologist, geologist and medical doctor who used photography to document his expeditions into central and northern Australia in the early decades of the twentieth century. This exhibition drew on the Museum's rich collection of over 2250 negatives and lantern slides taken by Basedow. These revealing, sometimes confronting, images provide a fascinating historical record of the people and places he encountered, and life in remote Australia in the early 1900s. Having been on display in the Gallery of First Australians Focus Gallery, the exhibition embarked on a three-year tour travelling to Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Venues in South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales will host the exhibition in 2010–11.

Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons 2008
Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons 2009

Behind the Lines is a popular annual exhibition featuring works by Australia's leading political cartoonists. The 2008 exhibition finished its tour at the State Library of Queensland in August 2009, while Behind the Lines 2009 visited Sydney and Perth after it was displayed at the Museum in Canberra. The exhibition will travel to the Northern Territory in late 2010. A catalogue featuring all the cartoons was published by National Museum of Australia Press to accompany the 2009 exhibition.

From Little Things Big Things Grow: Fighting for Indigenous Rights 1920–1970

From Little Things Big Things Grow highlights the struggle for Indigenous civil rights in the period from 1920 to 1970. This exhibition commenced its tour in Melbourne in June 2010 and will travel to venues across Australia throughout 2010–11.

League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia

This exhibition was developed in conjunction with the Centenary of Rugby League Committee to celebrate the centenary of rugby league in Australia. The exhibition completed its major tour closing at the National Sports Museum in Melbourne in August 2009.

Ned Kelly banner display

This banner display is based on the Ned Kelly: Fact and Fiction touring exhibition and commenced touring to community museums and schools in April 2009.

Symbols of Australia

Drawn from the National Museum's collection, this exhibition explores the kangaroo, flag, wattle and other symbols, which represent Australians and their nation. Symbols of Australia was developed as a travelling exhibition and toured to Western Australia and New South Wales in 2010. Symbols of Australia will tour extensively across Australia until 2012.

Still Steaming: Commemorating 130 Years of the Paddle Steamer Enterprise banner display

Launched in 1878, the PS Enterprise worked on the great rivers of south-eastern Australia for more than 100 years before becoming part of the collection at the National Museum of Australia. This exhibition examined the history of paddle steamers on the River Murray, highlighted through the story of PS Enterprise, and finished its tour in Echuca in July 2009.

Travelling exhibitions program

Exhibition and Visitation



A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow: 1903-1928


Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, WA 25 Sept - 29 Nov 2009
Northern Territory Library, NT 29 Mar – 2 May 2010

Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons 2008


The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, WA 29 Jun – 21 Aug 2009
Northern Territory Library, NT 14 Sep – 9 Oct 2009
State Library of Queensland, Qld 21 Nov 2009 – 14 Mar 2010

Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons 2009


Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, NSW 15 Feb – 15 Mar 2010
The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, WA 24 Jun – 20 Aug 2010

From Little Things Big Things Grow


Melbourne Museum, Vic 7 Jun – 7 Nov 2010

League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia

26,869 (not including Samoa)

National Sports Museum, Vic 4 Apr – 2 Aug 2009
Australian High Commission, PNG 8 Mar – 9 Apr 2010
Museum of Samoa 14 Jun – 30 Jul 2010

Ned Kelly banner display


Kyneton Museum, Vic
12 Jun – 17 Aug 2009
Geelong Grammar, Vic 20 Aug – 4 Nov 2009
National Alpine Museum, Vic 28 Dec 2009 – 9 Mar 2010
Public Records Office, Vic 19 Mar – 28 May 2010

Symbols of Australia


Wanneroo Cultural Centre, WA 26 Mar – 20 May 2010
Albury Library and Museum, NSW 10 Jun – 8 Aug 2010

Still Steaming: Commemorating 130 Years of the Paddle Steamer Enterprise


Port of Echuca, Vic 23 Apr – 9 Jun 2009

Papunya Painting: Out of the Australian Desert


National Art Museum of China, Beijing 10 Jun – 26 Aug 2010

Reaching a national schools audience

In 2009–10 more school students visited the Museum than in any other financial year since opening in 2001 and several new facilitated programs were offered to visiting schools in the reporting period.

In addition, the Museum continued to deliver a range of outreach programs to primary and secondary schools around Australia. It also continued to make a significant contribution to the development of the Australian Government's national curriculum initiative, especially in the subject area of history, and provided further digital resources for schools as part of the Australian Government's education revolution.

Contribution to the development of a national history curriculum and the digital education revolution

During 2009–10, the Australian Government furthered the development of the Australian Curriculum, beginning with mathematics, English, the sciences and history, and more recently, the arts, geography and Languages other than English (LOTE). The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), which is tasked with organising and delivering the new curriculum, sought feedback from interested parties on various drafts of each subject.

The Museum continued to play an important role among cultural institutions in relation to the draft history curriculum, providing significant feedback to ACARA under the auspices of the Museums Australia Education National Network.

The Museum also continued to contribute significantly to the provision of digital teaching and learning content for schools as part of the Australian Government's education revolution. Working in partnership with Education Services Australia (ESA), the Museum supplied 200 new digital resources to ESA's digital resources repository for Australian schools. These resources included 10 units of work on a variety of events, issues and people in Australian history, which will act as exemplars for teachers as they begin to implement the national history curriculum.

Major curriculum resource developments

The Museum completed significant curriculum resources for schools in the reporting period and began to produce several others, continuing one of its major goals of being a provider of quality outreach materials for Australian classrooms.

First Australians: Plenty Stories Indigenous primary school series

Work was completed on the Museum's major primary school curriculum resource, First Australians: Plenty Stories, a series of 18 year 3–6 books that explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories through the Museum's collections, facilitated by new and existing relationships with Indigenous communities. The student books are supported by two teacher resource books and two poster sets. Produced in conjunction with leading Australian educational school publisher, Pearson Education, the series was launched at the Museum in April 2010. The year 5–6 series has been short-listed for best primary school resource in the 2010 Australian newspaper's Excellence in Education awards.

National History Curriculum textbook series

The Museum entered into an agreement with Pearson Australia to write four chapters of its forthcoming National History Curriculum textbook series for secondary schools. Each chapter will feature Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history from different time periods in Australian history and will draw on the Museum collection where possible. This resource will ensure that the Museum's content, and teaching and learning strategies, will make a significant contribution to the implementation of the new national history curriculum in schools.

Australian History Mysteries website

The Museum's major Australian history curriculum resource for secondary schools, Australian History Mysteries, has recently been transformed into a website — — with more than three hours of video clips. Originally published as three resource kits, the new website contains all 15 Australian History Mysteries case studies from the three resource kits as well as a number of multimedia interactive modules.

The Australian History Mysteries website is designed to stimulate students' interest in, and engagement with, aspects of their history and heritage, and to develop the skills needed in pursuing historical studies. Each case study contains a wide range of primary and secondary source evidence, including museum objects, national archival collections and historic sites, and is relevant to the new national history curriculum with its emphasis on inquiry learning and historical skills development.

Studies of Society and Environment magazine

The Museum produced a further three units of work for the nationally distributed classroom curriculum magazine Studies of Society and Environment (distributed free of charge to all Australian secondary schools three times a year by Ryebuck Media Pty Ltd). This year units covered themes relevant to the curriculum from the Museum's exhibitions Voyages of the Pacific Ancestors: Vaka Moana, From Little Things Big Things Grow and Water: H2O=Life. Each unit of work is also available on the Museum's website.

Web-based school projects and partnerships

In 2009–10 the delivery of teaching and learning programs and projects over the internet remained a strong focus for the Museum.

Working with regional and remote schools

The long-standing and much respected Snapshots of Remote Communities web-based outreach program continued in the reporting period. Snapshots is an outreach program for regional and remote primary schools that encourages students to photograph and write about their communities. The photographs are subsequently exhibited in the local community, at a state institution and on the Museum's website. With the completion of the current partnership with two Western Australian regional museums in Albany and Kalgoorlie, and 12 primary schools from these regions, the Museum's Snapshots website will showcase these photographic exhibitions.

"Snapshots is an outreach program for regional and remote primary schools that encourages students to photograph and write about their communities."

Partnerships: Centre for Learning Innovation

For a second year the Museum worked closely with the New South Wales Department of Education and Training's Centre for Learning Innovation, which produces learning resources and is a leader in the use of technology in schools. In the reporting period the partnership expanded to include the Museum's involvement with one of the centre's Australia-wide digital storytelling competitions.

The theme of the competition was 'migration' and students who entered were encouraged to use a specifically designed and produced digital education resource that utilised content from the Museum's Australian Journeys permanent gallery as preparation for their entry. The competition produced several commendable winning entries and the Museum benefited through increased exposure for this gallery.

National outreach competitions

National schools political cartooning competition

In association with its annual Behind the Lines political cartooning exhibition, the Museum continued to run its popular and anticipated national cartooning competition for Australian schools. 'Drawing the lines' attracted over 500 entries from primary and secondary students from more than 60 schools, covering a range of issues including asylum seekers, climate change and the environment, terrorism and international relations.

Prizes were awarded to the winning student cartoonists by the Canberra Times cartoonist David Pope at a ceremony held at the Museum in December 2009. First prize in the primary school category was won by Yvette Moulton, Holy Family Primary School, Indooroopilly, Queensland. Two first prizes were awarded to secondary students: one to Dahna Knight, Toormina High School, New South Wales, in the year 7–9 category, and the other to Jonathan Mo, Cherrybrook Technology High School, New South Wales, in the year 10–12 category.

The Museum will hold another political cartooning competition in 2010 and intends to integrate the contest with social media services Flickr, Facebook and Twitter to expand its reach.

Supporting student history competition: National History Challenge

The Museum again contributed to the sponsorship of the History Teachers' Association of Australia annual history competition for primary and secondary students through its special category on museum displays. The theme of the 2009 competition was 'Triumph over adversity' and the winning entry by year 5–6 primary school student, Emily Doi, from Princes Street Primary School in Tasmania, was a sophisticated and empathetic display about the experience of a Japanese war bride. The display was exhibited in the Museum's Hall throughout January 2010.

Professional development for teachers

Evaluation continues to indicate that efforts to provide teaching strategies and curriculum resources through a comprehensive teacher professional development program have a positive impact on teaching in Australian classrooms. Professional development workshops for teachers, held at the Museum and at conferences around Australia, attracted over 500 participants in 2009–10.

Education staff delivered workshops and made presentations at a variety of conferences, including the Victorian and Australian history teacher conferences. In addition, through the National Capital Educational Tourism Project's outreach program, the Museum presented at several regional and capital city professional development sessions for teachers.

Several teacher previews focusing on the Museum's temporary exhibitions program were also conducted, mainly with teachers from schools in Canberra, helping to continue to build a strong network of committed teachers across the Australian Capital Territory.