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The Museum was established to develop and maintain the National Historical Collection for the benefit of the nation, and to bring to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia.

Central to the Museum’s role as a national institution is its focus on meaningful engagement with all Australians in the telling of their stories, and its commitment to the history and cultures of the First Australians.

The Museum achieves this by caring for and expanding the collection, and by sharing the stories of Australia’s people and places, and its social and natural environment, with national and international audiences.

The National Museum of Australia is the only institution equipped to tell the comprehensive story of Australia from deep time to the present day.

Vision statement

To be a trusted voice in the national conversation, and recognised as one of Australia’s premier cultural destinations exploring Australia’s past, illuminating the present and imagining the future.

Mission statement

The Museum’s mission is to bring the world’s cultures to Australia and present Australia’s history and culture to the world. In pursuit of this goal, the Museum has developed its ambitious Master Plan 2017–2030.


In every part of what we do we will demonstrate excellence, respect, integrity, courage and resilience.

Five key streams

Image showing the interior of a building with people moving through the space and a colourful moth sculpture hanging from the ceiling.
Reko Rennie's Bogong Moth sculpture in the Gandel Atrium. Acquired with the generous support of John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel

Over the next four years, the Museum will focus on five key streams of endeavour, guided by its purpose and vision, and consistent with its values and strategic commitments. This will be a journey of transformation to become a museum like no other – at the crossroads of the real and the virtual, embracing both.

Collections for the 21st century

Developing, maintaining and displaying the richness of its collections for all Australians to access, explore and treasure. Building connections between objects, memory, imagination and lived experience – across cultures, across communities and across time.

Program directions

Putting the audience at the centre of everything we do. Embedding a culture of discovery, delight, inquiry and authority, where contemporary Australia can be understood in relation to its past and its future.

Digital futures

Embracing technological change across all aspects of our business. Positioning ourselves as an institution at the core of the emerging knowledge economy.

Growing our business

Strengthening our resource base and embracing opportunities for growth and diversification. Developing resilience and flexibility in our workforce to quickly adapt and respond to changing environments and demands.

Brand recognition

Being at the forefront of cultural life in the country, where all Australians can find their stories in our place, and our place in their stories. Becoming a recognised world-class museum, renowned for telling the remarkable story of our nation, from the ancient and enduring histories of the world’s oldest living cultures to the making of contemporary Australia.

Strategic commitments

Over the next four years the Museum commits to invest, challenge, explore and connect across all aspects of our business.


We will invest our energy, resources and experience into shaping our presence in the life of the nation by:

  • creating spaces where all communities feel welcomed, recognised and included
  • preserving Australia’s shared heritage for future generations
  • empowering our workforce to respond to a changing world by building skills, mobility and cultural intelligence
  • embracing new ideas, technologies and opportunities.


We will challenge ourselves and our audiences to see the world through different lenses by:

  • making the most advantageous use of our collections, in the national interest
  • having the courage to take risks, be confronted, and be surprised
  • providing a platform for debate and discussion
  • finding new ways of doing business.


We will explore our place in the world by:

  • sharing our understanding of Australia’s past, present and future
  • supporting lifelong learning with innovative and engaging experiences for all ages
  • developing and promoting our expertise, creativity and imagination
  • travelling to new places, territories and domains.


We will strengthen connections with our audiences, partners and supporters by:

  • engaging in conversations, collaboration and finding common ground
  • embedding seamless business processes to respond to their needs
  • linking communities of interest through virtual, physical and social platforms
  • providing expert knowledge and interpretation.
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