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Our visitors and audiences

Total visitation to the Museum’s programs, travelling exhibitions and main Acton site was on target this year. Visitation to the Museum’s travelling exhibitions exceeded targets by nearly 21 per cent, with the national tours of Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route and A Different Time: The Expedition Photographs of Herbert Basedow 1903–1928 coming to an end and the continuation of Inside: Children’s Homes and Institutions, and the banner display Places that Matter.

The Museum’s events and function hire numbers performed well above target, reflecting the reopening of rooms and spaces following extensive redevelopment during 2011 and 2012. It is anticipated that these numbers will continue to grow.

Visitation to public programs was on target overall, with some school holiday programs in the Discovery Space recording the Museum’s highest ever daily visitation rates since opening in 2001. The popularity of programs such as Museum maestros and Rock stories indicate that the music and performance themes of the programs resonated with visitors.

The number of school students visiting the Museum totalled 83,642.

Visitation to the two major temporary exhibitions at the Museum was strong. Glorious Days: Australia 1913 (open from 7 March to 13 October 2013) attracted 23,481 visitors in the reporting period (52,501 visitors in total); and Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists (open from 6 December 2013 to 20 July 2014) attracted 38,823 visitors (41,003 in total). The exhibitions appealed strongly to overseas visitors, particularly with a number of high-level delegations visiting the Museum during 2013–14.

Monthly web visitation figures, 2013–14

Month Visitation
July 119,172
August 149,769
September 122,782
October 117,693
November 100,570
December 79,104
January 100,596
February 116,914
March 137,442
April 115,889
May 152,265
June 125,276
Total 1,437,472

Breakdown of visitation numbers (excluding web visitation) 2009–14

Year 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Permanent exhibitions 489,888 447,598 407,786 452,947 423,691
Temporary exhibitions* 91,464 255,380 197,092 73,413 57,304
Travelling exhibitions 163,388 736,811 753,387 85,186 127,326
Public programs and events 28,166 36,653 37,891 27,541 32,028
Schools 88,981 83,293 84,282 87,263 83,642
Functions/venue hire 18,143 20,839 6404 1324 5154
Total 880,030 1,580,574 1,486,842 727,674 729,145

*Visitation figures for temporary exhibitions do not include visits to the First Australians Focus Gallery, which, because of its location, are included in the permanent gallery figures.

Number of students visiting per state and from overseas, 2013–14

Column graph indicating the number of students visiting per state and from overseas, 2013-14. ACT 12,248. NSW 36,077. VIC 12,261. QLD 12,682. SA 3985. WA 4474. NT 961. TAS 800. INT 154.

Number of paid program visits versus unpaid teacher-guided visits, 2013–14

Column graph indicating the number of paid program visits versus teacher-guided student visits, 2013-14. Paid programs: Jul 1319, Aug 4049, Sep 4470, Oct 4150, Nov 2797, Dec 1160, Jan 82, Feb 544, Mar 2044, Apr 1687, May 3298, Jun 2943. Teacher-guided: Jul 5815, Aug 6398, Sep 7037, Oct 7411, Nov 7148, Dec 1388, Jan 130, Feb 2272, Mar 3735, Apr 2554, May 4780, Jun 6431.  Totals: Jul 7134, Aug 10,447, Sep 11,507, Oct 11,561, Nov 9945, Dec 2548, Jan 212, Feb 2816, Mar 5779, Apr 4241, May 8078, Jun 9374.

Audience and visitor research

The Museum conducts interviews to obtain audience feedback and invites visitors to provide written feedback through a variety of channels, including forms, online feedback, and through visitor services hosts.

During 2013–14, the Museum conducted 912 surveys for a variety of Museum programs. Of these:

  • 96 per cent of visitors were satisfied or very satisfied with their visit
  • first-time visitors made up 27 per cent of those surveyed, while 48 per cent were frequent visitors to the Museum and had visited the Museum up to four times in the last twelve months.

The majority (77 per cent) of participants in the Museum’s public programs live in the Australian Capital Territory, while 21 per cent are from interstate and two per cent are international visitors.

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 328 written comments from visitors using the Visitor Feedback form, about the same as the previous year. The majority of comments were positive, and half of the positive responses referred to the Museum’s hosts and guided tours. Negative feedback accounted for about 20 per cent of total references with car parking, the Museum Cafe and wayfinding accounting for the majority.

The Museum received 1404 emails through the information@nma.gov.au and yourcomments@nma.gov.au email addresses, an increase of 12 per cent on the number received in 2012–13. These emails covered many subjects, including conservation questions, offers to donate objects, requests to assist with image reproduction or research, recruitment and venue hire.


“Thank you. I’m really impressed in particular by how you manage to make participation so non-threatening and fun for those of us who are a little shy.”

Museum visitor, Night at the Museum:Superstition