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Programs and events

In 2012–13, 27,541 people attended organised programs and events at the Museum. Programs and events were developed to focus on the Museum’s collections and exhibitions, as well as highlighting aspects of core Museum operations. During the year new ground was broken with an increased focus on using broadband to develop off-site audiences. While this development is in its early stages, it reflects a clear strategy and desire to increase a national audience for programs. Overall, programs and events were developed for families and children, and adults and people with disabilities, reflecting the Museum’s PBS outcome of increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of Australian history and culture.

Families and children

Programs and events for families and children have continued to provide a valued and well-attended range of creative and relevant activities that connect to temporary exhibitions and the collection. During 2012–13 the following programs were undertaken:

  • three family festivals
  • four Discovery Space school holiday programs
  • six artist-facilitated workshop programs
  • four ‘Little creative’ toddler programs.

Highlights included the NAIDOC on the Peninsula festival that attracted 2656 people to the Museum, strengthening our connection with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and highlighting our Indigenous collection and galleries. Other programs that focused on our Indigenous collections included: in winter, tjanpi (grass weaving) art workshops facilitated by an Indigenous artist; a workshop with the theme ‘The animal within’, inspired by the Menagerie: Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture exhibition; and the summer program ‘Raft craft’ that drew inspiration from the newly installed paperbark canoe in the Museum’s Main Hall.

Programs and events for families and children, which centred on the Museum’s major temporary exhibition, Glorious Days: Australia 1913, included a program in the Discovery Space called ‘Bunting, badges and bowties’ and the highly successful 1913 Country Fair, held in the Garden of Australian Dreams, which attracted 2470 people.

The installation of ‘transport-themed’ objects in the Main Hall provided the inspiration for the Australia Day festival program, which attracted 2748 visitors.

Access programs

The Museum is committed to providing access to the collections and exhibitions for audiences with a disability. Its programming in this area in 2012–13 continued to provide programs for adults with a variety of disabilities and pre-schoolers (with or without a disability). Music at the Museum and Art at the Museum were presented along with the ‘Eternity reminiscent’ workshop for people with disabilities, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These popular programs are developed in collaboration with community associations and workers. They will continue in 2013–14 with a strong focus on ‘non-traditional audiences’.

Adult learners

The Museum developed programs and events designed to explore significant aspects of Australian social history, often linked to temporary and permanent exhibitions. This year programs and events focused on behind-the-scenes museum activities. These activities included a new series entitled ‘Door to Store: Caring for your Collection’, a program presented by Museum conservators, registrars and curators. ‘Door to Store’ is designed to show the public how the Museum cares for its collections and give practical demonstrations of how people can store their collections at home, using readily available equipment and materials. To increase its outreach potential the program is regularly broadcast via videoconference to audiences unable to attend the on-site presentation.

High-profile programs and events included the popular Kungkarangkalpa: The Seven Sisters Songline performance in the Museum’s outdoor amphitheatre, which featured senior desert dancers from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. This Centenary of Canberra program combined traditional elements of Indigenous song and storytelling with contemporary staging under the guidance of creative director Wesley Enoch. A second program, Selling Yarns 3, a collaboration between the Australian National University, Craft Australia and the National Museum of Australia, featured a three-day conference highlighting Indigenous weaving techniques and a vibrant market day, at which artists were able to sell their products to the general public.

A number of program series were developed in 2012–13. These included the major temporary exhibition Glorious Days: Australia 1913 lecture series, which featured talks by the authors who contributed to the exhibition’s companion publication. The first of the Research Fellowship Lecture Series was held, highlighting research being undertaken at the Museum.

Collaborations with significant partners continue to be a feature of the Museum’s work. In 2012–13, the Museum successfully partnered with the Canberra International Music Festival to present The Last Romantic Symphony, Mahler’s 9th symphony, to an audience of almost 300 people.

School students

In 2012–13 the Museum offered a range of programs for students and teachers visiting the Museum. An increasing number of requests for professional development and pre-service teacher training were received this year. Professional development for over 400 teachers and post-secondary learners was conducted, focusing on Indigenous culture and history, pedagogy relating to history teaching, and sessions based on the Australian Curriculum.

Continuing to build on the Museum’s reputation for providing high-quality curriculum-relevant programs, the Museum introduced new programs that focused on history and cross-curriculum priorities.

The highly successful Come Alive Festival of Museum Theatre was run for the fourth year. More than 1000 people visited the Museum as part of the festival, which brought teenagers into the public space of the Museum to stage their interpretations of Australian history.

When surveyed, 93 per cent of teachers believed the programs provided by the Museum met core curriculum requirements. Teachers commented that they valued the interactive and child-centred programming and the interpretation provided by educators.