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Outlaws take the stage for world first

27 NOVEMBER 2003

The first major exhibition to investigate national outlaw legends Outlawed! The World's Rebels, Revolutionaries and Bushrangers opens at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra today, presented by Lockwood.

Outlawed! will be officially launched by Senator Richard Alston tonight, following today's media preview with exhibition consultant Professor Graham Seal, a prolific writer on outlaw legends.

"We're inviting visitors to take stock of what they know about outlaws from the hard historical facts through to their popular portrayal in literature, film and song and to make their own decision about whether these national legends are heroes, villains or maybe even both," says National Museum Director Dawn Casey.

The exhibition traces the lives and deaths of outlaws from nine countries and includes many Australian bushrangers, rebels from America's Wild West and iconic Asian outlaws.

It explores the making of outlaw myths, outlaws as propagandists, their often-grisly ends and their frequent romanticisation in popular culture.

Outlawed! builds on the National Museum's reputation as a multimedia leader, with films showing on a dozen big screens, interactive information kiosks, the latest X-box game, and a film studio allowing visitors to star in and take home their own movie as a Mexican revolutionary, a Wild West train robber or a Japanese ninja.

Many exhibition features including one inviting visitors to consider their verdict on the guilt of each outlaw are also available on the museum's new website from tomorrow at: www.nma.gov.au/outlawed.

"The outcast nature of outlaws meant it was sometimes hard to trace objects directly related to their lives," says Outlawed! head curator Jo Duke. "But our curators have unearthed treasures and stories from often obscure sources across the world."

More than 500 objects on show include Kevin Costner's costume from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 108 stunning ceramic Chinese Water Margin figures, fragments from Jesse James' coffin, Ned Kelly's Colt carbine and medals awarded for the capture of other bushrangers.

Outlawed! is on show at the National Museum in Canberra from 28 November 2003 to 26 April 2004 and Melbourne Museum from 10 June to 10 October 2004.

Entry is $8 adults, $6 concession, $5 children, $16 families.

For interviews or more information please contact Public Affairs Director Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or m.portus@nma.gov.au

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