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Priority: Maximise total engagement

It is longstanding policy that the ANMM is to be primarily an exhibition-focused institution with a heavy emphasis on public programs. Total engagement is the principal measure of achievement of this policy.

Performance criterion

The key measures for this priority are:

  • total number of visits to the organisation (onsite and offsite, including programs)
  • total number of students participating in educational programs (onsite and offsite)
  • total number of visitors to the organisation’s website, including participants in online education programs but excluding social media engagement.

Criterion source

2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), p 141

Results against performance

2018–19 target

2018–19 actual

2017–18 actual

2016–17 actual

2015–16 actual

2014–15 actual

Total visitation







Student participation







Online visitation







Total visitor engagement








This is the first year the museum has reported on total number of visitor engagements. Total visitor engagements are the aggregate of the key engagement elements of total visitation, student participation (onsite and offsite) and online visitation. The method of calculation of each element is set out below.

Total visitation is calculated by aggregating onsite visitation to the museum and visitation to the museum’s offsite exhibitions and programs. Onsite and offsite visitation are separately reported (see ‘Priority: Must-visit exhibitions, attractions, programs and events’, and ‘Priority: Share the national maritime story across Australia’), along with the counting methodology.

The methodology for calculation of participation in school programs is reported below (see ‘Priority: Research, share knowledge and inspire’), as is the methodology for calculation of online visitation (see ‘Priority: Share the national maritime story across Australia’). It should be noted that to avoid double counting, for the purpose of measuring total visitor engagement, we have excluded participation in online education programs (ie virtual excursions and online courses) from the calculation of participation in school programs (as these are counted as online visitation).

Note 1: The data in this Annual Performance Statement are compiled by the relevant business unit applying the data definitions in the National Cultural Institutions Key Performance Indicator Framework compiled by the Department of Communications and the Arts with refinements where appropriate.

Note 2: Data for performance past years is sourced from the relevant Annual Report. Data for past years was reviewed in the compilation of this report and Annex B sets out the adjustments to 2017–18 results. Changes to prior years have been incorporated into this report as appropriate.


The museum engaged with almost 3.3M people in 2018–19, which was over 800K more than expected and over 200K more than last year. While all three elements exceeded target, the principal contributor to this result was very strong total visitation.

Bar graph showing total visitor engagement from 2014–19. The X-axis shows the different years and the Y-axis shows how many people have been engaged. 2018–19 is the highest year on record at nearly 3.3M people.

Total visitation to the museum was 26% ahead of target this year due to very strong onsite and offsite visitation. This was the highest year on record for total visitation (over 230K ahead of the second-highest-performing year) and is the result of several years of strategic planning and investment in diverse exhibitions and programs. The graph below demonstrates the museum’s success in growing total visitation in recent years. The total number of visitors since the museum opened in 1991 is now more than 20 million (about 13M onsite visitors and 7M visitors to our touring exhibitions).

Total visitation to the museum since 1992

Bar graph showing total visitation to the museum since 1992. The X-axis shows the various reporting years from 1992–19 and the Y-axis shows how many people.

Note that the results for onsite and offsite visitation are separately analysed below, as are the results for online visitation and participation in education programs.