You are in site section: About us

Museum terms

Referring to the Museum

When using the title National Museum of Australia, write the name in full at the first mention. After that, ‘the National Museum’ or ‘the Museum’ can be used as appropriate:

  • the National Museum of Australia
  • the National Museum
  • the Museum

In all but internal communications, avoid the abbreviation NMA.

Areas in the Museum


Maximal capitalisation is used for the formal titles of permanent galleries:

  • First Australians: Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Journeys: Australia’s Connections with the World
  • Landmarks: People and Places across Australia
  • Old New Land: Australia’s People and Environment

Shortened forms of the permanent gallery titles vary:

  • First Australians gallery or First Australians
  • Journeys gallery or Journeys
  • Landmarks gallery or Landmarks
  • Old New Land

The permanent galleries are being developed and their titles might change.


The formal titles of other places in the Museum are also capitalised:

Amphitheatre Garden of Australian Dreams Myall Room
Bay Window Ginninderra Room Peninsula Room
Burley Griffin Room Hedley Tarn Room Studio Gallery
Circa theatre Information Desk Temporary Gallery
Council Room Kspace Visions Theatre
Discovery Space Lake Eyre Room Wallaga Room
First Australians Focus Gallery Main Hall Wallis Room
Forecourt Museum Bar  
Friends Lounge Museum Cafe  

Note that when used in a sentence, the definite article preceding the name takes lower case:

The tour starts in the Friends Lounge.

We will meet at the Information Desk, in the Main Hall.


Museum collection

The National Museum of Australia has one main collection – the National Historical Collection – which is usually referred to as 'the National Museum of Australia’s collection'. Less formally, use ‘the Museum’s collection’.


The Museum collection is made up of many individual collections, for example the:

  • Alice Springs School of the Air collection
  • Christensen Fund collection
  • Milne collection
  • Nettie McColive collection
  • RG Menzies collection
  • Royal Australian Mint collection
  • Sotheby’s collection
  • Winifred Hilliard collection
  • This list is not exhaustive: check the Museum’s collection database.

    When referring to a collection generically – for example, a mineral collection, the furniture collection, a social history collection – no capitals are necessary.

    Note that individual collections are not identified in exhibition text or catalogues; Museum objects are credited only as ‘National Museum of Australia’.

    Bequests and archives

    ‘Bequest’ and ‘archive’ are not capitalised:

    • the Alfred Beaton bequest
    • bequest of John Shorter
    • the Douglas Annand archive

    Exhibition titles

    When referring to an exhibition, titles are presented in italics:

    • Gold and Civilisation
    • Happy Birthday Play School! Celebrating 50 Years
    • Encounters: Revealing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum

    Web headings and links are an exception and should always be presented in roman text.

    Exhibition sections, displays and showcases

    In running text, the names of sections (areas and modules), displays, or showcases of an exhibition are presented in roman type in single quotation marks, and with minimal capitalisation – that is, an initial capital only for the first word of the title and any proper nouns:

    • the ‘Settlers and settling in’ section of the Journeys gallery

    Do not use quotation marks if the section name appears as a heading.

    Interactive exhibits

    Single quotation marks, roman type and minimal capitalisation are used for the names of interactive exhibits:

    • ‘Gold rush’
    • ‘Aussie English’

    Audiovisual material

    The name of an audio, video or film is presented in italics using maximal capitalisation:

    • Man of Flowers will be shown daily at 2.30pm.

    If an audio, video or film does not have a specific title, use roman type:

    • a video about Phar Lap

    Business units

    The Museum has four divisions and a directorate:

    • Programs and Engagement
    • Collections and Content
    • Operations
    • Visitor Services and Development
    • Directorate

    A full list of business units can be found on the Museum’s intranet site.

    Friends and sponsors


    The official name of the friends organisation is Museum Friends. Generally, the full form will be required; in the rare cases where a shortened form is preferable, use ‘the Friends’.


    The word ‘sponsor’ is not capitalised:

    • The exhibition sponsor, Acme Surgical Supplies, offered to …

    Generally, the form of acknowledgement and the placement of the sponsor’s name and logo are stipulated in the sponsorship agreement. This information will be provided by the Head of Development, who keeps an up-to-date list of Museum sponsors.

    The wording of acknowledgements may be changed only with the Head of Development’s agreement.


    The form of acknowledgement for donations is stipulated in the donor agreement and should not be changed. The Museum maintains a policy that spells out when and how to acknowledge donations. In general, object donors are acknowledged whenever their object is displayed or reproduced.

    Financial donations are acknowledged on donor boards, in the annual report, The Museum magazine and on the Museum's website, depending on the level of donation.