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Royal visitors experience stories of Australia

7 MARCH 2005

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will learn more about Australia's land, nation and people during a visit to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on Wednesday.

The Danish royal couple will be welcomed to the National Museum at 10.35am on Wednesday by Arts and Sport Minister Rod Kemp, National Museum chairman Tony Staley, National Museum director Craddock Morton and Friends of the National Museum president Carolyn Forster.

The royal visit comes two days before the National Museum celebrates its fourth anniversary - and just two weeks after it was named Australia's best major tourist attraction.

The Crown Prince and Princess will visit Circa, a rotating theatre that introduces the Museum's three main themes of land, nation and people. They will also tour three of the Museum's five permanent galleries.

In Eternity: Stories from the Emotional Heart of Australia the royal couple will hear personal stories of extraordinary Australians, including First Fleet commander Captain Arthur Phillip, Olympic speed skater Steven Bradbury and children's entertainers The Wiggles.

The royal couple will also visit Horizons: The Peopling of Australia since 1788, which reveals the human face of one of the world's most remarkable migration stories. Highlights include an 1860s Tasmanian convict jacket, one of the Museum's most valuable colonial objects.

Also on the agenda is First Australians: Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, where the royal couple will see a display of pukamani poles - ornate carved burial poles traditionally used by the people of the Tiwi islands - and a collection of contemporary indigenous art works from Tasmania. Wiradjuri man Duncan Smith will perform Flight of the Butterfly on didgeridoo.

The visit ends with the royals touring the Museum's central Garden of Australian Dreams and signing the Museum visitors' book.

Members of the public are invited to see the royals at the Museum entrance and Hall.

The Danish connection continues in June when the National Museum hosts the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 anniversary display from the Odense City Museum.

For images, interviews or more information please contact Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or l.coleman@nma.gov.au or Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or s.forbes@nma.gov.au