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The Museum’s performance is guided by a set of legislative, public sector and organisational requirements. The National Museum of Australia Act 1980 charges the Museum with the function of developing, preserving and exhibiting historical material of the Australian nation. It also specifies that the Museum should conduct and disseminate research and information about Australian history (see ‘Functions and powers of the National Museum of Australia’ in Appendix 2.)

These functions determine all aspects of the Museum’s performance. The government’s performance targets, specified in the annual Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), are achieved through work defined in one program, which leads to the outcome:

Increased awareness and understanding of Australia’s history and culture by managing the National Museum’s collections and providing access through public programs and exhibitions.

At the operational level, the National Museum of Australia’s Strategic Plan and strategic and annual business priorities guide the activities of all business units to achieve the results specified in the Museum’s outcome. The strategic priorities for 2011–12, approved by Council in March 2011 and described in the Museum’s PBS and Charter of Operations, were to:

  • create a place that people love, renowned for its excellence by improving visitor access to the Acton Peninsula site, installing a selection of significant large-scale objects in the Museum Hall and planning for future enhancement to the Museum’s galleries
  • reach and involve people whoever they are and wherever they are by continuing to develop and present education and public programs, travelling exhibitions and online content as well as maximising partnership opportunities across Australia
  • use the collection to the full by allowing more of the Museum’s collections to be displayed in temporary exhibitions and improving access to the collection in storage
  • treat the whole Museum and its activities as an integrated educational experience by aligning its programs with the Australian Curriculum, pursuing opportunities to promote lifelong learning and making maximum use of new forms of delivery
  • harness the capacity of our people to maximum effect – their ideas, research capacity, diverse experiences and energy by undertaking workforce planning and a skills audit to assist in succession planning and positioning the Museum into the future
  • increase our resources and make maximum use of them by increasing levels of revenue through commercial activities and encouraging private philanthropy as well as seeking improvements in efficiency and accountability in all areas of the Museum’s activity.

Performance summary

Key performance indicator 2011–12 budget targetActuals
Proportion of acquisitions acquired in accordance with Collection Development Framework 100% 100%
Storage of the National Historical Collection in accordance with appropriate museum standards 80% 80%
Percentage of acquisitions and inward loans identified for conservation treatment which receive such treatment 80% 75% *
Percentage of documented acquisitions made available to the public via the Museum’s online collections catalogue 47% 53%
Number of visitors and users of the Museum’s collections, programs and web 4,149,000 5,297,000
Proportion of surveyed visitors satisfied with the exhibitions, programs and services 85% 95%
Proportion of school visits that meet core curriculum requirements 95% 95%

*100% of loan items are treated as part of exhibition preparation. A strategy is being developed to increase the number of new acquisitions to receive treatment from 50% to 80%.

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