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Annual statements of expectations from the portfolio minister, and statements of intent in response from National Museum of Australia.

National Museum of Australia – 2021

Expectations for the National Museum of Australia in 2021–22 outlined by The Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts

The Hon Warwick Smith AO
Chair
Council of the National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent
Acton ACT 2601

Dear Mr Smith

I am writing to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia (the Museum) for the 2021–22 financial year.

Before doing this, l wish to acknowledge the work the Museum conducted in 2020–21, and its success in navigating the challenges related to COVID-19 lockdowns, restrictions and border closures. In particular, I congratulate the Museum on touring Songlines to the new Western Australian Museum – including the trialling of remote installation and de-installation which has been noted by other institutions like the British Museum, the success of the Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians exhibition and in staging the Trevor Kennedy Collection: Highlights exhibition following the acquisition of many items from this extensive collection.

Cultural and creative content has proven to be vitally important in maintaining the wellbeing of people and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. I commend the Museum for continuing to provide Australian audiences with meaningful opportunities to access and engage with its collections both in-person, whenever that was possible, and online.

The Government understands the significant ongoing impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on Australia, and in particular the effect it is having on the arts and cultural sector, and the business activities of our National Collecting Institutions. In response, the Government has provided substantial additional funding to the arts sector over the course of the pandemic, including specific funding relief to the Museum. Government policy is now focused on maximising our economic, social and cultural recovery as vaccination targets are reached and exceeded across the country.

The Museum's continued successes despite the impact of COVID-I9 are due to strong leadership from the Council and senior management. Both should continue to provide the foundations for a strong and productive institution through clear leadership and pursue available opportunities to support the following strategic government priorities in 2021–22:

  • provide leadership and foster collaboration within national and international museum sectors as they recover from the effects of COVID-19;
  • contribute to Australian economic and cultural activity as restrictions ease, institutions reopen to the public and tourism resumes;
  • support recovery in regional, remote and outer metropolitan areas through collection touring, exhibitions, and outreach activities;
  • promote inclusion, diversity and social cohesion by providing greater opportunities for all Australians to access arts and culture, including through digital channels;
  • continue to foster appreciation and understanding of Indigenous arts, culture and knowledge systems, and contribute to a professional, viable and ethical Indigenous arts sector;
  • engage in activities to enrich arts and cultural education at all levels; and
  • maintain and strengthen the financial sustainability of the Museum by increasing own-source revenue, philanthropy and private-sector support.

I am aware that the Museum is already progressing many of these areas and have included them as part of its 2021–22 Corporate Plan. That Plan outlines a number of priorities which include hosting a minimum of three special exhibitions, touring two exhibitions to international venues, and opening the Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre and the Great Southern Land gallery.

As you will be aware, the Office for the Arts is undertaking work to review the long-term financial sustainability needs of each of the National Collecting Institutions ahead of the 2022–23 Budget. In 2022 the Government will also be considering further opportunities for National Collecting Institutions, both within and outside the portfolio, to share physical and digital storage, and digital access infrastructure.

I expect the Museum will continue to work cooperatively with the Office for the Arts and other portfolio agencies, especially the other National Collecting Institutions, in contributing to the Government's policy priorities and to achieve cost efficiencies through collaboration wherever opportunities can be leveraged. I also ask that you alert me and the Office for the Arts of any significant events or developments related to the Museum's activities and functions.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the Museum's governance framework. As such, I anticipate both documents will be made publicly available. I have written to other arts portfolio agencies in similar terms and have copied this letter to the Museum's Director, Dr Mathew Trinca AM.

I wish the Museum every success in meeting its objectives in 2021–22.

Yours sincerely
Paul Fletcher
21 November 2021

National Museum of Australia – 2021

The National Museum’s response to the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.

28 January 2022

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of 21 November 2021 outlining your expectations of the National Museum of Australia for 2021–22. On behalf of the Museum’s Council, I am pleased to respond to your Statement of Expectations with this Statement of Intent.

As you know, this past year the National Museum has celebrated twenty years since the opening of its fine building on the Acton Peninsula in Canberra. It is therefore timely to turn our minds to the next stage of the Museum’s development as a major national cultural institution that brings to life the story of our nation. No other national institution has the breadth and dimension that the Museum brings to the grand story of Australia. It is a story that connects the long history of the First Peoples of this land to the remarkable record of making the modern Australian nation. A story for our nation and the world.

The experiences of the past two years have been like nothing else in our recent history. Yet never has the story of our nation been more important to us than at this time of great challenge, as we continue the work of recovery from the bushfires of 2019/20 and the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, we are determined to play our part in the creation of the recently announced Ngurra: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Precinct in the parliamentary triangle. We are committed to assisting our colleagues at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and to contributing our collections and expertise to the work of building this new institution honouring the First Peoples of Australia.

At the same time, we are focused on the next stage of four development at Acton, specifically on realising the value of the Commonwealth’s investment in the National Museum. The anticipated move of AIATSIS to the new national cultural precinct presents an opportunity for the expansion of the Museum’s galleries for the public and hence improving access to more of the National Historical Collection, in a way that was always anticipated by the original project. We stand ready with the support of Government to create an additional 5000m2 of display space for public use and achieve a critical mass commensurate with expectations of a major museum devoted to the national story.

Moreover, the Museum’s connection to the Australian National University and the Canberra City Centre should be improved to enable better public access to our site. In particular, the Museum will work with the National Capital Authority to create seamless pedestrian access that connects us to the boardwalk at West Basin that is currently under construction. Removal of some elements of the ageing hospital buildings on our site would also improve public access. At the same time, there is clear need to improve arrangements for car parking on site to enable ongoing investment and amenity as our visitor numbers continue to grow. Our view is that, in common with other major public sites, the Museum should have responsibility for developing and maintaining parking on site.

The Museum is well-placed to represent the leadership and service of Government to the national community. It is intent upon widening the scope of its work with other government agencies across the breadth of the Commonwealth. Our forthcoming exhibition on the history of the Australian Signals Directorate, the result of a funding partnership with that agency, indicates an area for future growth in the Museum’s operations and programming. We believe there are great opportunities to work with other agencies and bring public attention to their work, through partnerships which connect our collections and expertise with their interests and financial support.

As you are aware, the Museum continues to face significant challenges regarding its ongoing sustainability. In particular, the current financial circumstances of the Museum have been exacerbated by COVID-19. We therefore welcome the pricing review of the Museum and other national collecting institutions being undertaken by the portfolio Department in conjunction with the Department of Finance. Our own review of our financial circumstances, undertaken by Callida Consulting in 2021, showed that the Museum requires additional annual funding of $15 million over the next four years to ensure it can meet the terms of its legislative obligations.

In addition to financial sustainability, the other critical issue that the Museum faces is the state of its collection storage arrangements. We fully support the work done by the Office of the Arts to examine options to address the collective storage needs of NCIs. However, should this lead to a more detailed business case and subsequent funding for a new facility, we understand that occupancy would not occur until 2026–27 at the earliest. As a result, the Museum faces a pressing need to improve and expand its storage facilities and safeguard the National Historical Collection from loss. Specifically, there is a need for an investment of $6.2 million in the next financial year to allow us to acquire a new leasehold property as a near-term solution.

With additional budget support to reflect the significant impacts on the Museum’s finances over the last year, the Museum considers it will be able to deliver the activities outlined in its Corporate Plan for 2021–22 and this Statement of Intent. The attachment highlights Museum activities over the coming year in support of your Statement of Expectations, including digital platforms and programming, maintaining our reach to remote and regional Australia, and providing an enriching experience at our main site in Canberra. Your Statement of Expectations and this Statement of Intent will be published on the Museum’s website shortly.

We will continue to work with you, the Department, cultural institutions across the sector and other Australian Government agencies to achieve the expectations set out in your statement. As always, we will keep you informed about significant issues relating to our activities. Yours sincerely

Yours sincerely

Warwick Smith AO
Chair of Council

ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF MINISTER’S STATEMENT OF EXPECTATIONS FOR 2021–22

The Museum will undertake a range of activities in support of your Statement of Expectations.

Provide leadership and foster collaboration within national and international museum sectors as they recover from the effects of COVID-19

  • The Museum has a range of key domestic partnerships with other cultural organisations that focus on collaboration within the sector. This includes long-term Memoranda of Understanding with State-based museums and galleries, such as the Western Australian Museum and the South Australian Museum. These arrangements provide the foundations for a number of potential future projects that will stimulate activity in the sector and allow organisations to share their expertise, knowledge and collections.
  • As part of an ongoing partnership with the National Art Museum of China that began in 2010, the Museum opened Red Heart: Art from Australia in Beijing on 31 July 2021. The reciprocal exhibit – Sculpting the Soul – features three stunning sculptures created by famous artists Liu Kaiqu, Xiong Bingming and Wu Weishan that celebrate China’s cultural richness and will be on display from 29 October 2021 to 1 March 2022.
  • Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, the Museum’s showcase international touring exhibition, opened at The Box, Plymouth, UK on 21 October 2021 as part of the UK/AU Season of Culture. Subsequent international venues include the Humboldt Forum, Berlin in 2022 and the Musee d’Quai Branly in 2023 with other European venues being negotiated.

Contribute to Australian economic and cultural activity as restrictions ease, institutions reopen to the public and tourism resumes

  • Our major exhibition over summer, Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes, will be on display from 16 December 2021 to 1 May 2022. This is the third in the series of major exhibitions from the British Museum and will be supported by programs ranging from a Greek cultural festival showcasing traditional food, music and dancers, to pop up poetry, talks, and hands-on workshops for families. The Museum has high hopes that it will attract up to 100,000 visits and bring increased economic activity to the Canberra region.
  • In partnership with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Museum is producing an exhibition to commemorate ASD’s 75th anniversary. Decoded: Inside 75 years of the Australian Signals Directorate serves as a tribute to the people who have worked at ASD and their achievements. The exhibition will present the history of the organisation including its origins in the Second World War and subsequent evolution. It will be on display in Canberra from 31 March to 24 July 2022.
  • The Museum will present an innovative light and sound multimedia experience developed by Grande Exhibitions, creators of the internationally acclaimed Van Gogh Alive show. The show is based on Australian Indigenous content and is expected to be a popular attraction during its premiere season in Canberra commencing on 8 June 2022.

Support recovery in regional, remote and outer metropolitan areas through collection touring, exhibitions and outreach activities

The Museum’s domestic touring program continues to bring Australian stories to a broad cross-section of the community in venues and locations across the country. Our remote installation and de-installation process, created by necessity as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions, has ensured that we are able to continue touring throughout the pandemic.

The Museum will continue its active touring exhibition program with seven exhibitions touring to Western Australia, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. Highlights include:

  • Two new touring products specifically designed for remote and regional Australia, the Walking Through a Songline digital immersive experience and the Defining the Symbols of Australia graphic panel exhibition. The Museum acknowledges the importance of funding from the Office for the Arts, through its Visions of Australia and National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, in developing those exhibitions.
  • Several new educational outreach activities developed as a result of COVID-19. Last financial year, the Museum in the Classroom program offered ACT schools an in-school experience with Museum education staff visiting schools with a variety of objects to run curriculum-aligned inquiry learning programs, and in 2021–22 the Museum will expand this program to remote and regional areas.
  • Australian of the Year 2021 travelled to venues in Western Australia and Tasmania, fulfilling the Museum’s ambition to tour to each State and Territory at least once every 2 years. Planning has commenced for Australian of the Year 2022 with venues being negotiated.
  • A Portrait of Australia (APOA), a ‘print and display’ photographic exhibition developed in conjunction with Australian Geographic, has appeared in a smaller museums and galleries in remote and regional areas across South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The flexible, low-cost nature of this exhibition has made it particularly easy for regional galleries to access, install and schedule.
  • The Love Tokens Touring showcase involves a touring exhibition of convict love tokens, supported by a new website to allow for further digital engagement and outreach activities. We are grateful for funding received through the National Collecting Institutions Touring Outreach program to enable this exhibition to be delivered.

Promoting inclusion, diversity and social cohesion by providing greater opportunities for all Australians to access arts and culture, including through digital channels

  • The Momentous: Sharing Bushfire and Pandemic Stories will continue to be developed and provide a platform for Australians to share their stories of dealing with the dual crises of bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years.
  • The Museum will continue to develop its online Collection Explorer, allowing Australians greater access to those parts of the Museum’s collection which are not on display via a user-friendly search of digital records.
  • Australian Perspectives 2022: First Nations, Gender, Migration is a teacher professional learning program, which will launch on 24 January 2022. It aims to address what an inclusive classroom looks like in the 21st century, how teachers can incorporate multiple perspectives into their teaching of Australian history, and how they can build students’ empathy, intercultural understanding and respect for viewpoints other than their own.
  • The Museum has developed digital excursions from students ranging from pre-school to year 12, focusing on a range of Australian Curriculum-aligned learning topics. These digital excursions are being delivered to thousands of students across Australia. Topics include: Indigenous Rights and Freedoms, The Australian Nation and The Endeavour Voyage: Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians (which by popular demand has continued as a digital excursion long after the related exhibition ended.)
  • Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom website, which was launched last year, is a major online education platform aligned to the national curriculum for primary and secondary students. It provides digital teaching and learning resources, games and interactives, competitions and teacher professional development. The website helps students better understand Australian history by making links to key ‘defining moments’ within their own family history and that of their local area, fostering a strong sense of community, personal identity and social inclusion.
  • In a new initiative, the National Australia Day Council is being supported by the Museum to present an enhanced program for Australia Day 2022 in Canberra and for the associated national broadcasts. Wesley Enoch, celebrated director and playwright, has been appointed as the Artistic Director of the program. There will be a series of events including a 24hr ceremonial fire by Lake Burley Griffin; the Citizenship and Flag Raising Ceremonies; and an activation around Lake Burley Griffin.

Continue to foster appreciation and understanding of Indigenous arts, culture and knowledge systems, and contribute to a professional, viable and ethical Indigenous arts sector

  • Walking Through a Songline – an innovative ‘pop-up’ immersive digital experience based on part of the Songlines exhibition – will travel to galleries, museums and cultural centres in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory in 2021–22. The experience, developed with funding from the Office for the Arts through its Visions of Australia program, has generated major interest from venues across the country with tour dates proposed to 2024.
  • Inbetween: Cultural Connections through design, is an exhibition developed with the Australian Institute of Architects featuring architectural projects that enable cross cultural exchange with Indigenous communities and knowledges. Originally conceived for the entry in the Australian Exhibit for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale Di Venezia, it has been reimagined as an immersive large scale video work and a series of panels documenting more than 20 architectural projects. Presented under the Swayn Fellowship, the Museum has worked with the creative directors Jefa Greenaway and Tristan Wong to bring this new exhibition to fruition. The exhibition is on show at the Museum from 29 October 2021 – 12 June 2022.
  • The Museum is supporting a 6-book ‘First Knowledges’ partnership with publishers Thames & Hudson. The third title in the series, Country: Future Fire, Future Farming by Bill Gammage and Bruce Pascoe, was released on 26 October 2021. The fourth title, Astronomy: Sky Country by Krystal De Napoli and Karlie Noon, is scheduled for publication in the first half of 2022.
  • The Encounters Fellowship program, made possible by the support of our donors, allows First Nations future cultural leaders to hone their skills in museology by providing the opportunity to work alongside experts both at the Museum and other Australian and international cultural institutions.

Continue to engage in activities to enrich arts and cultural education at all levels

  • In this financial year, the Museum will open to the public two major new galleries, the Great Southern Land gallery of environmental history, and the Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre for families with young children.
  • Great Southern Land is the National Museum of Australia’s most significant gallery redevelopment since its opening in 2001 and will invite visitors to reimagine their relationship to this vast, vibrant land.
  • The Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre, opening early in 2022, will be a fun, immersive play space for young children, their families and their carers, providing a new space for these audiences that will allow them to better engage with the Australian story. The Discovery Centre will be a place where our youngest visitors can meet a series of iconic Australian animals and landscapes, and explore their stories through play-based, hands-on experiences.
  • The Museum will present Australia Speaks, a series of addresses by influential Australians on matters of national significance, supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation. The series fulfils the Museum’s responsibility to support discussion and debate about the big ideas about the future of our country, especially those that emerge from a consideration of our history as a nation.

Maintain and strengthen the financial sustainability of the Museum by increasing own-source revenue, philanthropy and private-sector support

  • The Museum is seeking to increase onsite visitation through its new permanent gallery offerings, Great Southern Land and the new Discovery Centre, with research demonstrating a clear correlation between visitation and revenue. Relationships with major philanthropists have been integral to the Museum’s activity with a major gift by Mr Tim Fairfax AC and Mrs Gina Fairfax supporting the Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre.
  • The temporary Ancient Greeks exhibition and the Indigenous-themed Grande experience will also increase visitation to the Acton site. These temporary exhibitions are paid experiences, as are selected public programs.
  • The Museum has secured significant corporate support for the exhibition Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes involving a mix of cash and in-kind contributions.
  • The Museum will continue its successful program of donation campaigns, including a campaign for our 20th birthday, and targeted campaigns such as the Ancient Greeks Ambassadors program, Encounters Fellowships Appeal, and Care for a Car Appeal.
  • Though the Museum’s commercial activities have been significantly affected by reduced visitation to the Museum’s Acton site due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing growth through diversifying our revenue streams via online and wholesale sales.

National Museum of Australia – 2020

Expectations for the National Museum of Australia in 2020–21 outlined by The Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts

Mr David Jones
Chair
Council of the National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent
Acton ACT 2601

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia (the Museum) for 2020–21.

I first want to acknowledge the work of the Museum in 2019–20, particularly in meeting the challenges presented by the summer bushfires, January hailstorm and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Morrison Government acknowledges that the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector is widespread and extremely serious, including the significant and ongoing business disruption being experienced by all National Collecting Institutions and their staff.

I would like to acknowledge the steps the Museum has taken thus far to provide audiences across Australia with enhanced opportunities to engage with its collections through digital content. This has been particularly important during periods when the Museum was closed to the public or travel restrictions have otherwise prevented people visiting its premises after they were safely re-opened.

The re-opening of the National Collecting Institutions was an important step in the re-emergence of Australia's cultural and creative economy and one welcomed by those who wished to once again experience the objects and artworks that are so central to the telling of Australia's story.

I encourage the Museum to consider opportunities where it can support the following government strategic priorities in 2020–21:

  • providing national leadership and fostering collegiality within the museum sector to assist with its recovery from COVID-19
  • contributing to economic activity and recovery as social restrictions ease, particularly in regional centres, through touring and other outreach activities
  • focusing on how the Museum's activities can further encourage social cohesion and foster diversity and inclusion
  • continuing to champion and showcase our Indigenous cultures for the education, enrichment and benefit of all Australians.

I note that prior to the onset of COVID-19, many of these areas were already being progressed by the Museum. The Council and senior management should continue to foster a strong vision for the Museum as well as develop clear and achievable objectives for its operations in 2020–21 and beyond.

As you are aware, the Government has agreed to provide the Museum with $2.5 million over two years from 2021–22 for storage remediation works. The Government is also providing the Office for the Arts with funding to conduct a scoping study for shared storage facilities, a coordinated analysis of strategic asset management plans, and a Work Health and Safety audit of National Collecting Institutions facilities. This work, which will be undertaken in 2020–21, should assist the Museum and other National Collecting Institutions with their strategic planning.

I encourage the Museum to continue to work cooperatively with the Office for the Arts and other portfolio agencies, particularly the other National Collecting Institutions, in contributing to the Government's policy priorities. I also ask that you continue to alert me and the Office for the Arts to any significant events or developments related to the Museum's activities or functions.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the Museum' s governance framework. As such, I would anticipate both being public documents. The Statement of Intent should focus on what is achievable with the available budget in 2020–21 to ensure it does not unduly raise public expectations. I have written in similar terms to all arts portfolio agencies, and have copied this letter to the Museum Director, Dr Trinca AM.

I wish the Museum's Council and senior management every success in meeting its outcomes and objectives for 2020–21.

Yours sincerely
Paul Fletcher
31 August 2020

National Museum of Australia – 2020

The National Museum’s response to the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.

5 November 2020

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of 31 August 2020 outlining your expectations for the National Museum of Australia for 2020–21. On behalf of the Museum’s Council, I am pleased to respond to your Statement of Expectations with this Statement of Intent.

Our vision, mission and strategic commitments

The National Museum of Australia is the key cultural institution that connects the long human history of our continent with the remarkable story of the making of modern Australia. We are committed to bringing this distinctive and important story of our nation alive. The Museum’s vision, mission and strategic commitments are described in its Strategic Plan 2018–2022.

The Strategic Plan confirms our role as a key national cultural institution and envisages a museum for the future. By adopting new technologies and innovative methods, and making our audience central to everything we do, the Museum aims to bring Australian stories to as many people as possible, domestically and internationally. The importance of this mission has been brought into focus by COVID-19 which has seen Australians connecting with each other — and with trusted institutions such as the Museum — in a myriad of new and different ways.

Our Corporate Plan 2020–21, due to be published in December 2020, will describe the key strategies and activities to deliver on our Strategic Plan and our vision of what success will look like over the reporting period and into the future.

COVID-19 impact

As noted in your letter, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the museum sector and arts community. Like other National Collecting Institutions, we have seen a downturn in local, interstate and international visitation to the Museum, school and tour bookings, corporate functions and events as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions on travel and the holding of large gatherings.

Strong onsite visitation is a key component in our ability to generate revenue through commercial activities including paid public programs and tours, entry to special exhibitions, and through purchases from the Café and Shop. The overall effect has been a substantial reduction of 50% in the forecasted revenue that the Museum would normally receive from these activities in 2020–21.

The Museum is very grateful to you and the Government for the additional funding of $3.86m this financial year provided in response to the reduction in revenue due to COVID-19. This additional funding will allow us to continue to deliver our services and activities in 2020–21, including our pivot to digital platforms and programming, enabling us to expand our reach to national and international audiences.

However, COVID-19 will continue to pose financial challenges for the Museum this year and into the future. It is the case therefore that going forward, the impact of COVID-19 and structural funding issues will remain a significant challenge for the Museum. The Council and the Museum’s Executive welcome the opportunity to engage with you and our portfolio agency in the coming months to progress these matters.

Our activities in support of your Statement of Expectations

The Museum will undertake a range of activities in 2020–21 in support of your Statement of Expectations:

  1. Providing national leadership and fostering collegiality within the museum sector to assist with its recovery from COVID-19
    • The Director takes a strong leadership role in the sector, currently serving as Chair of the International Council of Museums Australia and co-Chair of the Australia- Singapore Arts Group. He has also been appointed as Chair of the Government’s Holden Collection Advisory Committee.
    • The Museum’s focus on collaboration within the cultural sector over the years has resulted in long-term MOUs with State-based museums and galleries, such as the Western Australian Museum and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, as well as international museums in the UK, Italy and China. These arrangements provide the foundations for a number of potential future projects that will stimulate activity in the sector and allow organisations to share their expertise, knowledge and collections.
    • The Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre (CCSSC) continues to provide corporate services to a number of partner agencies, many of whom are other Commonwealth cultural institutions. The partnership model utilised by the CCSSC has shown itself to be a successful basis for collaborations of this nature.
  2. Contributing to economic activity and recovery as social restrictions ease, particularly in regional centres, through touring and other outreach activities
    • The Museum will continue its active touring exhibition program in 2020–21 with seven exhibitions touring to Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. The program builds on the popular exhibitions that commenced touring last year with the important additions of Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, the first temporary exhibition to be displayed at the redeveloped Western Australian Museum, and A Portrait of Australia: Through the Lens of Australian Geographic, which is resonating strongly in regional and remote communities.
    • There are also two new touring products currently in development that are specifically designed for regional and remote Australia. These are the Walking Through a Songline digital immersive experience and the Defining the Symbols of Australia graphic panel exhibition. The Museum acknowledges the importance of funding from the Office for the Arts, through its Visions of Australia and National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, in developing those exhibitions.
    • The Museum is delivering several new educational outreach activities as a result of COVID-19. The Museum to You kit, hired by schools for a fortnight at a time,includes a selection of education handling objects and accompanying classroom activities. Museum in the Classroom offered ACT schools an in-school experience with Museum education staff visiting schools with a variety of objects to run curriculum-aligned inquiry learning programs. For regional and remote schools, the Warakurna video book resource, comprising a book with artwork, two videos and related classroom activities, is being sent to schools around Australia.
    • The Museum is collaborating with the Bendigo Art Gallery (BAG) on their new exhibition Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion. The exhibition, due to open in Bendigo when the lifting of restrictions in regional Victoria allow and then for display at the Museum, may also tour internationally as a joint project between the Museum and BAG. A second collaborative project involving the cultural sector in Victoria is a proposed digital project with Arts Centre Melbourne for onsite screening at the Museum and online.
  3. Focussing on how the Museum’s activities can further encourage social cohesion and foster diversity and inclusion
    • Following closure of its doors to the public in March, the Museum launched new Digital Outreach initiatives designed to take its collections and programs to people online. One of the most popular was a new Facebook group, Bridging the Distance — Sharing our COVID-19 Pandemic Experiences, which gave Australians an opportunity to connect with others during a time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty.
    • The Museum is looking to build on the success of the Bridging the Distance concept by launching a new website that will seek to collect stories from Australians, documenting their experiences of recent bushfires and the pandemic. The purpose of the website is to create and connect the Australian community, serve as a digital collection program and celebrate the resilience of Australian communities in the face of serious threats and disruption to their lives.
    • The Digital Outreach program also involved live-streaming of children’s and adult programs such as a tour of the Torres Strait Islander gallery and the history of the iconic 140 year old Paddle Steamer Enterprise, incorporating live Q&A sessions with curators. Modifying these programs to allow people to connect with our staff and access our collections online has given the Museum a much broader geographical reach at a time when people have been keen for new digital content and educational activities. We intend to continue these programs to better engage with all Australians, particularly those in regional and remote areas.
    • The Museum is aiming to have its ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) endorsed by Reconciliation Australia this financial year. The ‘Stretch’ RAP will include commitments to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment outcomes; strengthening staff cultural competency; improving visitor engagement and understanding with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content by presenting collections and stories from a perspective of shared histories; and maintaining and expanding our relationships with Indigenous partners.
    • The Museum is providing development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practitioners and cultural workers, many of whom are located in regional and remote areas, through its Cultural Connections Program. The program has seen the funding of ten agreements with First Peoples’ communities on the east coast to create cultural worker jobs and capabilities, enabling them to respond to the anniversary of the Endeavour voyage in their own words and actions.
    • Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom website, which was launched in October, is a major online education platform aligned to the national curriculum for primary and secondary students. It provides digital teaching and learning resources, games and interactives, competitions and teacher professional development. The website helps students better understand Australian history by making links to key ‘defining moments’ within their own family history and that of their local area, fostering a strong sense of community, personal identity and social inclusion.
  4. Continuing to champion and showcase our Indigenous cultures for the education, enrichment and benefit of all Australians.
    • The Life in Australia and Discovery Centre permanent gallery developments, both due to open in mid-2021, contain substantial Indigenous content and themes. Life in Australia weaves Indigenous knowledges, narratives and cultural meaning into an explanation of Australia’s environmental history. Indigenous authors and art centres worked closely with the Museum in designing the Discovery Centre to feature Indigenous-themed stories for a child-friendly audience.
    • The Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians exhibition has been extended onsite until April 2021. During the closure period the Museum developed and made available extensive web and social media content to allow people to access the exhibition remotely. The content has been highly popular with online visitors at a time when travel to Canberra was difficult for many.
    • The new Talking Blak to History permanent installation at Acton displays more of the Museum’s diverse Indigenous collections. In showcasing carefully chosen objects and rarely seen works from the Museum’s holdings, it presents an Indigenous counterpoint to Australian history on themes such as land rights and deaths in custody.
    • The new Forecourt Garden, developed with the input of local host nations, is now the centre of a daily Acknowledgement of Country that properly welcomes visitors to the Museum’s Acton site. The new garden and acknowledgement overtly places First Australians at the front and centre of the Museum’s work and signals to visitors that the story of our Indigenous people will be integral to their Museum experience.

Apart from delivering on the above priorities the Museum will continue planning to undertake storage remediation works in anticipation of additional government funding for these measures in subsequent financial years, as detailed in your Statement of Expectations. The Museum will also continue to work with our NCI colleagues and the Office for the Arts to progress a shared storage facility. Apart from addressing the issues faced by the Museum with our current leased premises, a new facility may also provide the opportunity to increase public access to the nation’s rich historical collections. We look forward to working closely with the Office for the Arts on the scoping study for shared storage facilities, with the quality of Museum storage being fundamental to delivering on our mandate to properly maintain the national historical collection.

The Museum’s 20th birthday in March 2021 will be a time to reflect on our many achievements since opening. We are working on a small program of activities that will allow Australians from around the country to celebrate with us and to acknowledge the importance of the public in all the work we do.

This financial year will also see the Trevor Kennedy collection being receipted and accessioned into the National Historical Collection, with the collection having been delivered to the Museum’s premises in August. The Museum is keen to see the collection made available, either online or in person, as soon as possible and is exploring how best to achieve this within existing resources.

This Statement of Intent and our Corporate Plan for 2020–21 contains only those measures which the Museum considers it can deliver within our available budget. We will continue to work with you, the Department, cultural institutions across the sector and other Australian Government agencies to achieve the expectations set out in your statement. As always we will keep you informed about significant issues relating to our activities. I look forward to discussing the Museum’s performance further with you at our next meeting.

Your Statement of Expectations and this Statement of Intent will be published on the Museum’s website shortly.

Yours sincerely

David Jones
Chair of Council

National Museum of Australia – 2019

Expectations for the National Museum of Australia in 2019–20 outlined by The Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts

Mr David Jones
Chair
Council of the National Museum of Australia
Lawson Crescent
Acton ACT 2601

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia (the Museum) for 2019–20. The portfolio allocation for the Museum in 2019–20 is $48.489 million. This allocation includes $3.2 million from the Public Service Modernisation Fund to support the Cultural Shared Services Centre, and $1 million for works to upgrade disability access points, safety equipment and fire services, and to remove public safety hazards and ensure accessibility to the main Museum building, identified by the recent National Collecting Institutions Review.

Let me first acknowledge the achievements of the Museum in 2018–19, in particular the Museum's contribution to implementing activities to mark 250 years since Captain James Cook's first voyage to Australia and the Pacific in 1770. This includes the Cultural Connections Initiative (comprising the Encounters Fellowships program and the Cultural Connections program), and collaboration with the National Library of Australia and the Australian National Maritime Museum to develop a shared digital platform.

More broadly, I acknowledge the Museum's success in continuing to develop a series of high-quality exhibitions, programs and experiences that showcase the National Historical Collection, appeal to the Australian public and attract significant audiences. This includes Rome: City and Empire exhibition from the British Museum. Internationally, the Museum's Old Masters: Australia's Great Bark Artists toured to from venues across China, which is an important aspect of Australia's cultural diplomacy.

The Morrison Government's key policy priorities are to grow the economy and employment, to keep Australians safe and to keep Australians together.

The Government recognises the significant value that cultural activity delivers for the enrichment of our society and the role it plays in shaping our collective values. The arts also make a direct and important contribution to these broader priority areas of Government.

During my first few months as portfolio Minister, I have developed a number of priorities across all my areas of responsibility. For the arts, my goal is to foster an authentic and vital Australian arts sector. The actions I intend to progress are to:

  • Grow the Indigenous art market
  • Promote Australian stories and identity
  • Deliver arts funding that is sustainable and contestable.

The arts are a key part of Australian identity, contributing to how we are perceived internationally in both trade and diplomacy, as well as our potential to attract international visitation. The important economic contribution of the arts is also widely acknowledged.

I encourage the Museum to consider opportunities where it can support these broader strategic priorities and I take this opportunity to outline some strategic priorities which I ask the Museum to focus on in 2019–20. These are:

  • Ensuring the Museum contributes to economic activity, particularly in regional centres, through touring and other outreach activities
  • Providing leadership to the collections sector as an employer of choice
  • Accepting opportunities to shape and promote Australian identity through the Museum's public-facing activities both national and internationally
  • Considering opportunities to create and meet demand for inbound tourism
  • Providing leadership in the delivery of collection management, arts education and public programs
  • Continuing to explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue.

I note that many of these areas are already being actively progressed by the Museum. I encourage the Museum to continue to work cooperatively with my Department and other portfolio agencies in contributing to the Government's policy priorities. I also appreciate you alerting me to any plans about significant events related to the Museum's activities or functions.

I thank the Museum Director, Dr Mat Trinca, for making time recently to meet with me to discuss the Museum's future priorities.

The fiscal climate, including the Government's expectation in meeting the announced 2019–20 budget surplus and maintaining budget surpluses over the forward estimates, means the Government is unlikely to be able to respond to requests for additional financial support in the short term. This includes proposals for any major expansion plans or capital works that do not address critical health and safety or compliance issues.

Given this situation, I am suggesting to all National Collecting Institutions that they focus their resources on the operations and maintenance needs of their existing facilities and consider whether some of their reserves could be used to address outstanding works.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the Museum's governance framework. As such, I would anticipate both being public documents and I ask that you write to me with the Museum's Statement of lntent before the end of 2019. I have written in similar terms to all arts portfolio agencies, and have copied this letter to the Museum Director, Dr Trinca.

I wish you and the Museum Council and executive team success in meeting outcomes and objectives for 2019–20.

Yours sincerely
Paul Fletcher
21 October 2019

National Museum of Australia – 2019

The National Museum's response to the Minister's Statement of Expectations.

16 December 2019

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Minister for the Arts
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of 21 October 2019 outlining your expectations for the National Museum of Australia for 2019–20.

On behalf of the Museum’s Council, I am pleased to respond to your Statement of Expectations with this Statement of Intent. The Council and the Museum’s Executive greatly value and appreciate your continued support. The Government’s funding commitment to the Museum will allow us to fulfil our mission and deliver important government priorities such as marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia.

Our vision, mission and strategic commitments

The National Museum of Australia is the key cultural institution that brings the long human history of our continent into productive engagement with the remarkable story of the making of modern Australia. We are committed to bringing this distinctive and important story of our nation alive.

The Museum’s vision, mission and strategic commitments are described in its Strategic Plan 2018–2022:

Our vision is 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.

Our 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.

Our strategic commitments are to invest, challenge, explore and connect across all aspects of our business.

Our focus over the next four years will be on five key streams of endeavour: Collections for the 21st century; Program directions; Digital futures; Growing our business; and Brand recognition.

The Strategic Plan confirms our role as a key national cultural institution and envisages a museum for the future. By adopting new technologies and innovative methods, and making our audience central to everything we do, the Museum hopes to bring Australian stories to as many people as possible, domestically and internationally. It focuses on identifying methods to ensure that we can continue to deliver our key functions successfully, including through public-private partnerships.

Our Corporate Plan for 2019–2020 describes the key strategies and activities to deliver on our Strategic Plan and our vision of what success will look like over the reporting period and into the future. Both the Strategic Plan and Corporate Plan are in alignment with your expectations of the role and direction of the Museum.

Our activities in support of your Statement of Expectations

The Museum’s activities strongly support your goal to foster an authentic and vital Australian arts sector by growing the Indigenous art market, promoting Australian stories and identity and delivering arts funding that is sustainable and contestable. Our work with Indigenous artists has delivered real, tangible benefits to communities. This will be seen first-hand with the launch of the Endeavour exhibition in April 2020 and work commencing on the Life in Australia environmental history gallery. The Museum will procure works from Indigenous artists and filmmakers to feature in the exhibition and new gallery, allowing them to tell their stories in their own voices.

The Museum will undertake a range of activities in FY2019–20 in support of your Statement of Expectations:

  1. Ensuring the Museum contributes to economic activity, particularly in regional centres, through touring and other outreach activity
    • Over the next year the Museum will continue to tour exhibitions across the country. Our program includes the intergenerational appeal of Happy Birthday Play School, delivered in partnership with the ABC, to Evolution: Torres Strait Masks which will travel to venues across Western Australia, to the Australia of the Year annual exhibition and our new ground-breaking A Portrait of Australia: Through the Lens of Australian Geographic which is resonating strongly in regional and remote communities.
    • The Museum is a leader in providing development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practitioners and cultural work through its Encounters Fellowships and Cultural Connections Program, many of whom are located in regional and remote areas. The intention of both programs is to support, develop and strengthen cultural practitioners and their organisations and facilitate community-led projects and initiatives.
  2. Providing leadership to the collections sector as an employer of choice
    • The Museum continues to identify and build staff capabilities to maximise our ability to leverage existing talent and ensure ongoing expertise is sustained. This includes an emphasis on digital and leadership capabilities.
    • This financial year will see the implementation of new indigenous employment strategy and a ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan. Together these seek to build cultural capacity and understanding, actively identifying opportunities to engage with communities and offer employment opportunities.
    • The Museum considers itself to be a leader in creating a flexible and healthy working environment, reducing stigma related to mental health, supporting staff with mental health conditions and promoting the employment of people with disabilities.
    • Participation in high calibre research projects (including several funded by the Australian Research Council) and staff exchanges and collaborations with national and international organisations such as Kings College and the Australia National University offer significant professional development opportunities for staff.
  3. Accepting opportunities to shape and promote Australian identity through the Museum’s public-facing activities both nationally and internationally
    • Our plans for the future are to extend our reach across the nation and internationally. We will do this to a mix of touring exhibitions, public programs, speaking engagements and events.
    • Internationally the Museum will conclude the tour of its Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists exhibition across mainland China and Taipei. Over the past 18 months the exhibition has reached over ½ million visitors to the exhibition and over 7 million online.
    • Over the course of the next few years the Museum’s award winning Songlines: Tracking the Sevens Sisters exhibition will embark on a national and international tour, opening as the first temporary exhibition at the new Western Australian Museum at the end of 2020. This will be followed by an international tour commencing in Paris in 2021 with other likely showings in Canada, the United States, Germany, Finland, and the United Kingdom.
    • The Museum has signed Memoranda of Understanding with key national and international museums including the National Museum of China, the British Museum, the National Museum of Singapore and state-based museums in Australia. The Director continues to support the sector as the Chair of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Australia and co-Chair of the Australia-Singapore Arts Group.
    • The International Program will continue the successful partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade taking the Australian story abroad through a series of graphic panel displays via our diplomatic missions.
  4. Considering opportunities to create and meet demand for inbound tourism
    • The Museum has been an active promoter and advocate for greater collaboration between cultural agencies within the tourism sector.
    • Currently the Museum is an active member of the Australian Tourism Export Council and Tourism Australia’s Australian Tourism Exchange, which involves meeting with international and domestic buyers to add the Museum to tourism itineraries and activities. The Museum is also represented on the National Capital Attractions Association and attended the South East Asia Trade Mission in September 2019 (the latter hosted by Tourism Australia).
    • The Museum has secured inclusion in the Tourism Australia Signature Series: Cultural Attractions of Australia, to be announced early in 2020, and which will promote the Museum to broader western markets that have previously been difficult to reach. This complements the development of new internationally- focused tourism products at the Museum that are due for release in early 2020.
  5. Providing leadership in the delivery of collection management, arts education and public programs
    • The Museum is at the forefront of delivering high quality arts education through its Encounters Fellowships. During their fellowships, participants visited several cultural institutions in Canberra, the United Kingdom and France undertaking workshops with NMA staff and cultural sector specialists in areas such as collections management, conservation and research.
    • The Museum has shown itself to be a leader in high quality and innovative public programming, with a focus on shared history and accessibility. This will be of particular importance coming into 2020. As always, the Museum will mark Australia Day with a Family Day on 26 January. Other related highlights include Indigenous themed workshops, led by contemporary Indigenous artists, to be held during NAIDOC Week. There is also a planned series of keynote speeches based on the Endeavour exhibition featuring contemporary indigenous and non- indigenous leaders current and emerging in their fields. These events will explore the things that bring us together and the commonality in our shared histories.
    • The Defining Moments in Australian History program is the centrepiece of the National Museum’s work, exploring the ‘moments’ in the country’s history that helped define Australia as a nation and engaging all visitors on the significance of those moments. In a collaboration with ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas program, the Museum runs a series of themed panel discussions which explore national culture and identity and position the institution at the forefront of debate about the issues that have shaped — and continue to shape — us as a nation.
  6. Continuing to explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own- source revenue
    • In the last four years the Museum’s own-source revenue has doubled from approximately 10% to 20%. The Museum’s Corporate Plan 2019–20 aims to further increase own source revenue by 5% on the five-year average.
    • Commercial activities including the Museum Shop, catering, and ticketed exhibitions and public programs provide a strong basis for meeting this target, although that a decline in visitor numbers is expected in 2020 due to significant gallery development construction works. The Museum is working to address a potential drop revenue as a result of lower visitation during the gallery development period by increasing its revenue-raising activities in other areas.
    • A program of development activities in recent months, including visits with individual donors by the Museum’s Director and Council members in Adelaide and Sydney, has already led to financial support for Museum activities. The Museum will focus on seeking philanthropic support in other cities where local networks can be facilitated by Council members or Museum connections.
    • The establishment of the Swayn Centre for Australian Design at the Museum, including the appointment of the Swayn Senior Fellow in Australian Design, has been made possible with philanthropic support from the Swayn Gallery and demonstrates the Museum’s ability to attract such support from donors with a range of interests.
    • A primary focus in the coming year will be securing corporate assistance for projects such as international tours of Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters and Yiwarra Kuju (Canning Stock Route); the incoming Ancient Greeks exhibition from the British Museum; and continuation of the Encounters Fellowships program.

Apart from delivering on the above priorities the Museum will continue its onboarding of cultural agencies to the Corporate and Cultural Shared Services Centre and undertake accessibility and safety works, having been allocated additional government funding for these measures as detailed in your Statement of Expectations.

I note your advice that the fiscal climate and the Government’s commitment to maintaining budget surpluses over forward estimates means that requests for additional financial support in the long term may not be supported. The Museum is currently considering how best to direct its financial and staffing resources to meet its legislative obligations, within recurrent funding levels. As a result it may be that some of the activities the Museum’s wishes to pursue — including those detailed in this Statement of Intent — will need to be held over to future years or until sufficient philanthropic or other support is received.

Despite this, the Museum will continue its work to improve our storage facilities and undertake asset renewal, both of which are fundamental to delivering on our legislative responsibilities to maintain the national historical collection. We will continue to work closely with you, the Department and portfolio agencies to achieve the expectations set out in your statement. As always we will keep you informed on significant issues relating to our activities. I look forward to discussing the Museum’s performance further with you at our next meeting. Your Statement of Expectations and this Statement of Intent will be published on the Museum’s website this week.

Yours sincerely

David Jones
Chair of Council

National Museum of Australia – 2018

Expectations for the National Museum of Australia in 2018–19 outlined by Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Communications, Minister for the Arts

Mr David Jones
Chair
National Museum or Australia
GPO 11ox 190I
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to you to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia for 2018–19. The portfolio allocation for the Museum for 2018–19 is $47.876 million. This includes $3.1 million from the Public Service Modernisation Fund for the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre being delivered by the NMA and $2.728 million for public events and activities for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage.

Let me first acknowledge the achievements of the Museum so far in 2017–18, in particular the success of the Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition. I note that the exhibition was recently awarded the 2018 Museums and Gallery National Awards for Best In Show and this is testament to the efforts of the Museum to deliver world-class exhibitions with a focus on Indigenous storytelling.

More broadly, I acknowledge the efforts of the Museum and its Council in fostering a strong vision for the Museum as well as developing clear and achievable objectives for its operations. This will ensure the NMA remains one of the nation's pre-eminent cultural institutions and well placed to provide visitors with an exceptional experience of Australia's rich history and culture.

l anticipate that during 2018–19 the NMA will continue to perform its core function of bringing to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and events. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some strategic priorities that I ask the Museum to focus on in 2018–19.

These are:

  • Provide leadership in the management and use of national collections, and support lifelong learning through the delivery or experiences for all ages.
  • Develop partnerships and innovative delivery models lo take the Australian story to all comers of the nation.
  • Explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue.
  • Provide expert advice and contribute data on the NMA's performance and the sector to national reporting and planning.
  • Provide leadership in creating collaborative opportunities with the sector.
  • Continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies in line with our expectation that all departments and agencies assist the Government in its effective management of the Budget, including through the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre initiative.
  • Contribute to the Government's diversity and inclusion objectives including Closing the Gap, through programs, processes and Council membership.
  • Continue to contribute to the Government's cultural diplomacy outcomes within existing resources, with particular focus on Singapore, India, Indonesia, Germany and China.
  • Provide leadership in commemorations for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage to Australia, and seek opportunities to engage with broader Government priorities including the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.

I note that many of these areas are already being actively progressed. In particular the partnership with Gandel Philanthropy on the Defining Moments Digital Classroom initiative is a significant achievement which reflects the standing of the NMA as a major cultural institution and its importance in the life of our nation.

l encourage the NMA to continue to work cooperatively with my Department and other portfolio agencies in contributing to the Government's policy settings. I am grateful for the valuable contribution the Director of the NMA is making as the Australian Chair of the Australia Singapore Arts Group. Under Dr Trinca's leadership the group has been a highly effective mechanism for driving greater engagement with this strategically important regional partner. I also appreciate you alerting me to significant events related to NMA activities or functions.

l intend to schedule an annual meeting with you and the NMA's Director to discuss plans for the year. I suggest this could be held in advance of the next iteration of your Corporate Plan. This would provide a formal opportunity to discuss the NMA's plans as well as Government priorities.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the NGA's governance framework. As such, I would anticipate both being public documents. I have written in similar terms to all arts portfolio agencies, and have copied this letter to Dr Trinca.

l wish you every success in meeting your key outcomes and objectives for 2018–19 and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the Museum's current and future work in these areas.

Yours sincerely,

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
3 August 2018

National Museum of Australia – 2018

The National Museum's response to the Minister's Statement of Expectations.

28 September 2018

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications and the Arts
Suite M1.46
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of 3 August 2018 outlining your expectations for the National Museum of Australia for 2018–19.

On behalf of the Museum’s Council, I am pleased to respond to your Statement of Expectations with this Statement of Intent. The Council and the Museum’s Executive greatly value and appreciate your continued support. The Government’s funding commitment to the Museum will allow us to fulfil our mission and deliver important government priorities such as the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre (CCSSC) and marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia.

Our vision, mission and strategic commitments

The Museum’s vision, mission and strategic commitments are described in its Strategic Plan 2018–2022:

Our vision is 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.

Our 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.

Our strategic commitments are to invest, challenge, explore and connect across all aspects of our business.

Our focus over the next four years will be on five key streams of endeavour: Collections for the 21st century; Program directions; Digital futures; Growing our business; and Brand recognition.

The Strategic Plan confirms our role as a key national cultural institution and envisages a museum for the future. By adopting new technologies and innovative methods, and making our audience central to everything we do, the Museum hopes to bring Australian stories to as many people as possible, domestically and internationally. It focuses on identifying methods to ensure that we can continue to deliver our key functions successfully, including through public–private partnerships.

We have an ambitious program for the coming year. This is outlined in our Corporate Plan for 2018–2019, which describes key strategies and activities and our vision of what success will look like over the reporting period and into the future. The Strategic Plan and Corporate Plan are very much in alignment with the role and direction of the Museum as conveyed in your Statement of Expectations and our face-to-face meetings.

Our activities in support of your Statement of Expectations

The Museum will undertake a range of activities in FY2018–19 in support of your Statement of Expectations. Several of these are outlined below.

  1. Provide leadership in the management and use of our collections and support lifelong learning through the delivery of experiences for all ages
    • The Museum’s Collection Explorer project seeks to make as much of our historical collection available online as possible with 51% of our collection currently accessible digitally. In FY2018–19 we will aim to increase the number of objects digitised and released online by 12,500. A separate target has been set for accessioning objects, to reduce the backlog of collection items awaiting accessioning.
    • The design stages for the Discovery Centre will be completed and construction commenced by the middle of next year. The Discovery Centre will encourage young people to engage with the rich and diverse stories of Australia through play-based and hands-on experiences.
  2. Develop partnership opportunities and innovative delivery models to take the Australian story to all corners of the nation
    • The Museum has begun work on the Defining Moments Digital Classroom project, developed with the generous support of Gandel Philanthropy. The project is a comprehensive and accessible education platform aligned to the national curriculum that will allow students to explore Australian history through a range of digital products.
    • The Museum will pursue its relationships with significant cultural institutions at home and abroad including the British Museum and State and Territory museums such as the South Australian Museum and the Western Australian Museum. I am delighted to confirm that last week the Museum signed a new five-year partnership arrangement with the British Museum. Our partnership with the South Australian Museum has led to the development of a joint touring exhibition, Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia, which opened in Japan in September 2018.
    • A new Australian virtual reality film, The Antarctic Experience, will tour to the Museum in Canberra following its initial run at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. The film’s rich and varied content is expected to be of particular interest to our family audience.
  3. Explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue
    • The Museum will continue to focus on increasing its own-source revenue. Our aim is to increase own-source revenue to be at least 20% of all gross operating revenues.
    • The 2018–19 target is to increase the Friends membership program by 50% compared to the previous financial year, while the target for corporate partnerships and philanthropy is a 20% increase. The Museum’s Council is pleased to see the Museum setting these ambitious targets in an effort to drive its performance.
    • The relationship with the philanthropic sector will continue to be cultivated, with the contribution from John Gandel AO and Pauline Gandel for the Defining Moments Digital Classroom demonstrating the Museum’s capacity to attract significant philanthropic investment.
  4. Provide leadership in creating collaborative opportunities with the sector and continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies
    • In addition to the collaborative projects already mentioned, the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre (CCSSC) will allow the Museum to continue to deliver high-quality corporate services to other cultural agencies, and assist the Government to manage the Budget effectively.
    • The CCSSC has had a strong response from the cultural agencies. It currently provides services to the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Portrait Gallery and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. It is looking to deliver new services to partner agencies in the coming year.
  5. Contribute to the Government’s diversity and inclusion objectives
    • Up to six new fellowships will be awarded under the Encounters Fellowships program. The program will provide Indigenous peoples working in the cultural or heritage sector — many from regional and remote areas — with professional development opportunities. Fellows will receive mentoring, learn new skills and build networks through tailored programs at the National Museum and partner institutions in Canberra, Sydney, the United Kingdom and France.
    • The Museum’s outreach and access program includes virtual tours and education programs for audiences around the country and overseas. One aspect of the program provides Australian schools in remote areas, and children undertaking education in a hospital setting, with the opportunity to digitally connect with the Museum and discuss our collections in support of their learning.
    • Our access programs targeting people with dementia and sensory stimuli issues, as well as our annual event celebrating the International Day of People with disability, are unique and effective ways for the Museum to contribute to the Government’s social inclusion objectives.
    • This year the Museum will start developing a ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the Museum. The Stretch RAP aims to embed reconciliation initiatives into an organisation’s business strategies.
  6. Contribute to the Government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes
    • In 2018–19 the Museum will tour exhibitions to Japan and China , with several venues secured in each country.
    • The Museum’s Director, Dr Mathew Trinca, will continue to co-chair the Singapore–Australia Arts Group.
    • The graphic panel displays developed by the Museum for use by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to be shown in Australian embassies and missions around the world.
    • Several Museum staff will travel to Vietnam later this year to deliver workshops to museum staff from cultural institutions across Vietnam, in a capacity-building program organised and funded by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi. Last delivered in 2016, the program may lead to other future collaborations including staff or exhibition exchanges and reciprocal programs.
  7. Provide leadership in commemorations for the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia
    • The Museum is appreciative of the additional funding to deliver Endeavour 250 (working title), which promises to be a thought-provoking exhibition and series of public programs to mark this significant anniversary. Work has begun in earnest on Endeavour 250 with the Museum engaging with key Indigenous communities along the east coast of Australia and commencing the exhibition content and design process.

In addition to the above, the Museum will continue with work on the Forecourt renewal project, an enhancement of the Museum’s outdoor entry and welcome areas, which will transform the visitor experience at the Museum. We anticipate that the design stage of the Life in Australia gallery will be completed and, subject to Public Works Committee approval, that construction work will start by the middle of next year.

The Museum will also seek to maintain its reputation as a source of expertise, providing advice to a range of organisations including government, other cultural institutions, educational bodies, and our publics. By contributing data on the performance of the Museum and the cultural sector to national reporting and planning, we will assist the Department in demonstrating that its objectives – to help protect cultural heritage and support public access to cultural experiences – are being fulfilled.

We will continue to work closely with you, the Department and portfolio agencies to achieve the expectations set out in your statement. As always we will keep you informed on significant issues relating to our activities. I look forward to discussing the Museum’s performance further with you at our next meeting. Your Statement of Expectations is already available on the Museum’s website and this Statement of Intent will be published as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Mr David Jones
Chair of Council

National Museum of Australia – 2017

Mr David Jones 
Chair 
National Museum of Australia 
GPO Box 1901 
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to you to outline my expectations for the National Museum of Australia (NMA) for 2017–18. The allocation for the NMA in 2017–18 is $43.365 million. This includes $3.2 million from the Public Service Modernisation Fund.

Let me firstly acknowledge the achievements of the NMA in 2016–17, particularly the outstanding success of the History of the World in 100 Objects exhibition. I note that the exhibition is the most successful exhibition to be staged at the museum and this is testament to the efforts of the NMA to deliver world class exhibitions.

More broadly, I acknowledge the efforts of the Council in fostering a strong vision for the museum including clear and achievable objectives for its operations and consistent delivery of world class exhibitions.

I anticipate that during 2017–18 the NMA will continue to perform its core function of developing and maintaining a national collection of historical material. I would like to take this opportunity to outline some strategic priorities that I expect the NMA to focus on in 2017–18. These are:

  • Build on the success of the 100 Objects exhibition to pursue opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue.
  • Continue to progress redevelopment of the permanent galleries at the NMA.
  • Deliver the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre.
  • Consider opportunities for the NMA to contribute to the Government’s innovation agenda.
  • Contribute data on the sector and the agency’s performance to national reporting and planning, including through the next iterations of the artist survey and the audience participation survey.
  • Contribute to the Government’s diversity and inclusion objectives including Closing the Gap, through its programs, processes and council membership.
  • Continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies in line with our expectation that all departments and agencies assist the Government in achieving budget repair.
  • Contribute to the Government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes within existing resources and with particular focus on China, Singapore, India, Germany and Japan.

I note that many of these areas are already being actively progressed, and thank you for the considerable work you have already done to implement efficiencies and streamline operations. In particular I acknowledge the leadership role of the Museum in developing the Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre which will create longer term efficiencies by allowing the participating collecting institutions to focus resources on the delivery of core services and programs.

I encourage you to continue to work cooperatively with the Department of Communications and the Arts and other portfolio agencies in contributing to the Government’s policy settings. I also appreciate you alerting me to any significant events related to NMA activities or functions.

I intend to schedule an annual meeting with you and the Museum’s Director to discuss plans for the year. I suggest this could be held in advance of the next iteration of your Corporate Plan. This would provide a formal opportunity to discuss the Museum’s plans as well as Government priorities.

This Statement of Expectations and your corresponding Statement of Intent form an important component of the Museum’s governance framework. As such, I would expect both to be public documents. I have written in similar terms to all arts portfolio agencies, and have copied this letter to the Director of the NMA, Dr Mathew Trinca.

Thank you for your ongoing stewardship of the NMA. I wish you success in meeting your outcomes and objectives for 2017–18.

Yours sincerely,

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
27 June 2017

National Museum of Australia – 2017

File No: 17/33

20 October 2017

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for the Arts
Minister for Communications
Parliament House
Canberra 2600

Dear Minister

Thank you for meeting with Dr Mathew Trinca and myself on 31 August 2017 to discuss the intentions of the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in meeting your expectations of the institution over the course of the 2017–18 financial year.

I would like to reiterate our appreciation of your ongoing and continued support of NMA. The Museum’s Council and Staff are very grateful for your assistance and advocacy on their behalf and for the Government’s funding commitment to the organisation to enable it to fulfil its mission.

The NMA’s functions are set out in its enabling legislation, the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. Our purpose is to bring to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia, by:

  • developing, preserving, digitising and exhibiting a significant national collection
  • taking a leadership role in research and scholarship
  • engaging and providing access for audiences nationally and internationally
  • delivering innovative programs.

The NMA endeavours to make the most advantageous use of the national collection in the national interest. The Museum brings to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through strong engagement with the nation’s varied communities and traditions.

Relationship with the Minister and the Department

The NMA will keep the Minister informed with accurate and timely advice on significant issues in its core area of business. The NMA will continue to engage closely with the Minister and the Department of Communications and the Arts: to deliver on the Government’s Modernisation and Innovation agenda; to provide qualitative and quantitative data for the development and reporting of key performance information for the NMA and the broader sector; and to maximise opportunities to contribute to other Government policy settings.

Delivering on the Government’s Modernisation and Innovation Agenda

The NMA is grateful for the additional Government funding of $2.29 million over the current and next two financial years that will enable the NMA to transform elements of its business to keep pace with technological developments and reach more Australians across the country. In particular, we believe this additional expenditure will help the NMA reach new audiences in regional and remote areas through our online services and travelling and touring programs.

Moreover, the injection of $8.9 million over three years to establish a Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre will allow the NMA to provide shared corporate and business services functions to other collecting institutions. In particular, it will ensure that we collectively can consolidate our information technology support services, and ensure our operations are efficient and cost-effective. We are committed to delivering the first stage of this program in 2017–18.

Delivery of core functions and strategic objectives for the year ahead

In response to your statement of expectations, I can assure you that the NMA will pursue the following strategies and activities in FY 2017–18, to drive visitation and audience engagement:

  • Delivering two major capital projects over the course of the financial year (redevelopment of the Main Hall and Forecourt renewal) that will transform the visitor experience of the NMA.
  • Bringing the stories of Australia to life through innovative exhibitions and programs, including the opening of the major exhibition Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters; and creation of digital education resources and experiences, and participatory programs.
  • Expanding digital access to the National Historical Collection to enable access through online engagement, and upgrading wireless infrastructure to provide improved performance, analytics and location services within the Museum to support digital and social media technologies for enhanced visitor experience.
  • Pursuing innovative and creative opportunities for visitor engagement and growth, building own-source revenue and fostering sustainable partnerships within the philanthropic, business and cultural sectors for shared benefit.
  • Contributing to the Government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes through our international exhibition touring program and support of key international partnerships, such as the tour of the Indigenous exhibition Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists to China, partnering with the South Australian Museum to tour Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia to Japan, and supporting a range of arts and cultural activities recommended by the Australia-Singapore Arts Group.
  • Developing a Master Plan to guide the NMA’s future to 2030. The draft Master Plan dovetails into the Acton Peninsula Precinct Draft Structure Plan to outline possible futures for the Peninsula.
  • Contributing to the Government’s diversity and inclusion objectives through ongoing consultation and implementation of the NMA’s Diversity Action Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan.
  • Managing an active research and scholarship program that underpins the Museum’s programs through public debate and engagement. including the Defining Moments in Australian History project, the Encounters Indigenous Cultural Workers Scholarship program, and active participation in key conferences and symposia.

In each of these pursuits, the NMA recognises the need to manage its human and financial resources effectively through coordinated planning, benchmarking and performance measurement. In 2017–18 the NMA will continue to build corporate, commercial and evaluation skills across the organisation, to contribute to audience and revenue growth.

I look forward to the opportunity of discussing these activities and plans with you when we next meet, and feel confident that the NMA has an outstanding year of achievement ahead.

Yours faithfully,

Mr David Jones
Chair of Council

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