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Commercial performance

Sponsorship development

Sponsor and donor contributions are an essential element in meeting the Museum's core objectives relating to exhibitions, education, access and collection development. In 2002-2003 the Museum significantly extended its range and number of activities to secure support philanthropically as well as increase its sponsorship and business partnerships.

This year saw a significant increase in cash, in-kind sponsorship and donations over the prior year. The following contributions are highlighted:

Photo of Cui Zhen Ji with Cui Liao WenYing, with Dawn Casey
Sponsors of Stories from Australia, Cui Zhen Ji with Cui Liao WenYing, with Dawn Casey
Photo: Dragi Markovic
  • support from Mr and Mrs Chau Chak-Wing, Mr Cui Zhen Ji and Mrs Liao Wen Ying, and sponsorships from Linkage Communications Co Ltd, China Southern Airlines Co Ltd, China Hotel by Marriott and Australia LNG Pty Ltd for the international exhibition Stories from Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Guangzhou, China to mark the 30th anniversary of relations between China and Australia

  • a major new media partnership with APN News and Media Ltd which will greatly enhance the Museum brand and exhibitions and outdoor advertising campaigns interstate. The partnership also contains educational media and print benefits and support for the new Endowment for Education

  • a new sponsorship agreement from Sanyo through support of Sky Lounge and a major sponsor of the forthcoming Outlawed! Discover the Stories Behind the World's Rebels, Revolutionaries and Bushrangers exhibition next year

  • continuing sponsorship by Rosemount Estate Wines (Southcorp), Qantas for Talkback Classroom, Fujitsu and Sun Microsystems through the provision of technological assistance and equipment, and SAS for the Museum's SAS Visions Theatre

  • renewal of support by Doma Hotels Canberra, the Museum's preferred accommodation supplier, incorporating promotion of Museum exhibitions to the tourist market

  • sponsorship by the Grace Removals Group of the Museum's touring exhibition program as well as support of the new Endowment for Conservation

  • increased sponsorship by Douwe Egberts (Harris Coffee), including support for the new Endowment for Acquisitions

A full list of Museum sponsors is in Appendix 16.

The Corporate Circle Program, a benefit driven program introduced by the Museum last year for ACT companies, increased its activities and membership in 2002-2003. Two new functions were also introduced by the Museum:

  • Museum with a Twist - a cocktail reception which provided corporate supporters with a 'behind the scenes' tour of the Acton facility and the collections storage areas at Mitchell

  • Getting Down to Business - an evening function which included a private tour of temporary exhibitions.


Photo of APN's Educational Media CEO Brian Wexham with Dawn Casey
APN's Educational Media CEO Brian Wexham with Dawn Casey
PHoto: Dragi Markovic

A philanthropic program was launched in Sydney and Melbourne during the year, with the goals of increasing the level of knowledge about the Museum with corporate leaders and achieving a capital base of $60 million over 20-25 years. Known as the Endowment Program, donations are sought to support the Museum's work in conservation, acquisitions, exhibitions and education. Several major donations were made to the program during the year.

The program is supported by significant individuals who act as 'ambassadors' on behalf of the Museum to assist in achieving the financial targets for each of the endowment program areas and to provide introductions or referrals to corporate leaders and philanthropists. The Museum is honoured to have the current ambassadors:

Sydney Rod McGeoch AM
Kathryn Greiner AO
John Elvy
Katie Young AOM
Peter Falk
Jack Thompson AO
Richard Neville
Brian Wexham
Melbourne Andrew Scott

A corporate luncheon program designed to increase the knowledge of the Museum for potential donors or sponsors, both individual and corporate, continued with luncheons held in Melbourne and hosted by prominent individuals and companies such as Mrs Heather Lustig, Mr Marc Besen, Shell and DKW Executive Resourcing.

Merchandising and retail

Merchandising and retail operations enable the Museum to raise commercial revenues while at the same time enhancing visitors' experiences through the provision of merchandise that is largely inspired by its exhibitions and its unique building.

In response to limited commercial returns in its first year of operation, a detailed review of retail activities was undertaken in 2002-2003 with the majority of recommendations successfully implemented during the year. This has seen a substantial increase in the net return from the retail operation, in contrast to the prior year's loss. As a result the Shop met its financial targets.

Key areas for retail enhancement during 2002-2003 were:

  • Shop merchandise was reviewed and improved to better meet customer preferences, including the development of a larger range of souvenir and children's products (both paper-based and three-dimensional)

  • a reduction in price points throughout the Shop to improve response to customer demographics

  • physical reconfiguration of Shop layout, including the creation of a central service area

  • aggregation of product merchandising, including creation of a dedicated publications area

  • creation and implementation of a new branding and signage package

  • reorganisation of staffing to improve sales levels and the revised Shop space

  • ongoing development of e-commerce arrangements, licensing agreements and wholesale sales

  • benchmarking against industry standards, both domestic and international

  • improved retail performance reporting

  • a reduction of retail stock on hand (excluding publications inventory).

Venue hire

The Museum is a venue for a range of corporate events from conferences, meetings and gala dinners, to breakfasts, product launches and cocktail receptions. In conjunction with the Hyatt catering team, use of the Museum's facilities for venue hire maintained its high levels of the previous year. More than 750 private functions were attended by approximately 63,000 people for a range of events such as banquets, cocktail parties, launches and seminars.

Over the next two years the Museum will focus its venue marketing on the convention industry as well as the identification of new corporate markets.

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