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Our visitors and audiences

Our visitors and audiences

Visitation for 2011–12 was a record 5,297,000 (including 1,487,000 visitors to Acton and travelling exhibitions and 3,810,000 online visitors). This was an increase of 7 per cent in total visitation with a 13 per cent increase in web visitation and a 6 per cent decline in the number of visitors and users of the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. These figures are attributed to:

  • strong temporary exhibition visitation
  • further development of the Museum’s rich and diverse website, which attracted record visitation
  • an increase of visitors to public programs and events with record attendance for the Autumn and Winter festivals, reflecting the continued popularity of both regular and new programs
  • an increase in visitation to travelling exhibitions due to the large number of exhibitions travelling to major cities
  • continued high visitation by schools
  • a substantial decline in functions and venue hire numbers as the Museum ceased to offer venues for hire while undergoing building works
  • a decline in permanent exhibitions visitation.

Visitation numbers (excluding the web), 2001–12

Financial year

Visitation

2001–02

903,400

2002–03

825,000

2003–04

820,200

2004–05

666,200

2005–06

770,601

2006–07

945,210

2007–08

1,007,856

2008–09

941,361

2009–10

880,030

2010–11

1,580,574

2011–12

1,486,842

Monthly web visitation figures, 2011–12

Month

Visitation

July

332,706

August

396,556

September

360,146

October

382,891

November

366,898

December

170,633

January

237,876

February

273,471

March

381,810

April

259,350

May

315,948

June

331,429

Total

3,810,714

Breakdown of visitation numbers (excluding the web), 2006–12

Year 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12
Permanent exhibitions 418,790 393,141 366,541 489,888 447,598 407,786
Temporary exhibitions 105,710 89,348 95,417 91,464 255,380 197,092
Travelling exhibitions 248,641 372,407 344,512 163,388 736,811 753,387
Public programs and events 53,097 33,297 29,649 28,166 36,653 37,891
Schools 86,444 87,266 86,457 88,981 83,293 84,282
Functions/venue hire 32,528 32,397 18,785 18,143 20,839 6,404
Total 945,210 1,007,856 941,361 880,030 1,580,574 1,486,842

Number of paid program visits versus unpaid teacher-guided visits, 2011–12

Column graph indicating the number of paid versus teacher-guided student visits, 2011-12. Paid programs: Jul 908, Aug 3742, Sep 4096, Oct 2379, Nov 2561, Dec 214, Jan 44, Feb 352, Mar 2683, Apr 1333, May 3205, Jun 3025. Teacher-guided: Jul 4655, Aug 8202, Sep 9332, Oct 7189, Nov 8985, Dec 891, Jan 82, Feb 1438, Mar 4947, Apr 1294, May 6663, Jun 6062. Totals: Jul 5563, Aug 11,944, Sep 13,428, Oct 9568, Nov 11,546, Dec 1105, Jan 126, Feb 1790, Mar 7630, Apr 2627, May 9868, Jun 9087.

Total student visitation, 2002–12

Column graph indicating the total student visitation, 2002-12. 2002-03: 81,737. 2003-04: 85,141. 2004-05: 82,765. 2005-06: 83,780. 2006-07: 86,444.2007-08: 87,266. 2008-09: 86,457. 2009-10: 88,891. 2010-11: 86,322. 2011-12: 84,282.

Student levels, 2011–12

Column graph indicating the student levels in 2011-12. Preschool: Jul 52, Aug 49, Sep 70, Oct 30, Nov 44, Dec 0, Jan 0, Feb 0, Mar 0, Apr 0, May 0, Jun 177.  Primary: Jul 3740, Aug 9492, Sep 11,984, Oct 7546, Nov 9899, Dec 721, Jan 104, Feb 1548, Mar 5950, Apr 1854, May 7718, Jun 7323. Secondary: Jul 1637, Aug 2193, Sep 1304, Oct 1818, Nov 1579, Dec 414, Jan 44, Feb 392, Mar 1621, Apr 748, May 1869, Jun 1739.  Tertiary: Jul 20, Aug 164, Sep 46, Oct 150, Nov 0, Dec 0, Jan 0, Feb 15, Mar 34, Apr 0, May 257, Jun 5.

Number of students visiting per state and from overseas, 2011–12

Column graph indicating the number of students visiting per state and internationally, 2011-12. ACT 10,652. NSW 40,242. VIC 13,129. QLD 12,698. SA 4118. WA 3520. NT 565. TAS 1117. INT 281.

Percentage of schools bookings per state, 2011–12

Doughnut chart indicating the percentage of school bookings per state, 2011-12. NSW 47 per cent, VIC 15 per cent, QLD 15 per cent, SA 5 per cent, WA 4 per cent, NT 1 per cent, TAS 1 per cent, ACT 11 per cent.

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. Since opening in 2001, the Museum has recorded all exit interviews in a database that enables the analysis of visitor demographics, attitudes and behaviour over time. This year, the Museum conducted 450 exit interviews with 95 per cent of visitors expressing satisfaction with their visit.

In 2011–12, visitors aged 60 years and over were the most strongly represented, and the proportion of repeat visitors was 65 per cent overall. Fifty-four per cent of visitors interviewed during the year had visited the Museum three or more times. Half of the Museum’s visitors were from Canberra, 25 per cent were from New South Wales and 6 per cent were from Victoria.

A focus on client service

The Museum’s Client Service Charter is available to the public on the Museum’s website. During the year, the Museum received 277 written comments from visitors using the Visitor Feedback form. Feedback was received on services, programs, exhibitions, the building and facilities.

A total of 1123 emails were received through the information@nma.gov.au and yourcomments@nma.gov.au email addresses, a decrease of 10 per cent compared with 2010–11. These emails covered many subjects, including conservation questions, offers to donate objects, requests to assist with image reproduction or research, and venue hire.

The majority of the feedback was positive, reporting successful visits to the permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions. In particular, visitors commented on the temporary exhibitions program and the redeveloped Landmarks gallery. Wayfinding and lighting issues represented the largest proportion of negative feedback.

Changes to the Museum’s services, amenities and exhibitions were made as a direct result of visitor feedback, including the development of:

  • signage and wayfinding strategies
  • a visitor introduction area
  • an education ‘Think Spot’
  • car park improvement initiatives.

Positive references to the service provided by the visitor services hosts represented the highest number of visitor comments recorded using the Visitor Feedback Form, accounting for over 22 per cent of all feedback received in 2011–12.