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Priority: A world-class, compelling museum precinct

Located within the changing urban, tourist and entertainment precinct of Sydney’s Darling Harbour, we are a formidable part of the cultural and entertainment experiences of people in the city. We work with NSW Government agencies, the City of Sydney and local partners to ensure the museum’s building and precinct provide a compelling, world-class attraction offering opportunities for discovery, discussion, entertainment and relaxation. We will enhance the display and interpretation of our heritage fleet and will develop and progressively implement long-term plans for the optimisation of our site.


The key measures of performance are:

  • total number of onsite visitors to the organisation
  • the percentage of our visitors who were satisfied or very satisfied with their visit.

Criterion source

2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), p 141; 2018–22 Corporate Plan, p 19

Results against performance criterion

2018–19 target

2018–19 actual

2017–18 actual

2016–17 actual

2015–16 actual

2014–15 actual

Onsite visitors to museum







% visitor satisfaction








Onsite visitation is determined by aggregating actual ticket sales and membership visitation recorded at front of house (collected through the AXPOS system), actual venue client data (collected in the CRM system and Events Perfect catering system), manual counting of actual visitors to Wharf 7 exhibits, an estimate of museum footprint visitation (based on a standard formula derived from onsite counting camera data over a week of sampling) and, for rooftop projections, an estimate of viewers on the Pyrmont Bridge (based on a formula which has regard to data provided by Property NSW and the results of sampling using camera counting and manual counting). The museum introduced use of mobile phone tracking data, compiled by an external company, to measure visitation for outdoor temporary exhibitions from December 2018, taking a conservative approach (ie reducing numbers) to ensure staff were not inadvertently counted. Onsite visitation excludes people only using the museum’s store, coffee kiosk, restaurant or facilities. Consistent with past years, it includes participants in public programs onsite but excludes participants in organised school programs onsite (as these are counted under a separate KPI). The framework for onsite visitation is at Annex A.

Visitor satisfaction is measured by an external firm analysing the results of surveys completed at front of house. Visitors are asked to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 10 (poor to outstanding). The level of satisfaction is the proportion of respondents who rate us 7 or higher (satisfied or very satisfied).


Onsite visitation in 2018–19 was the highest on record at 1,018,019 and almost 200,000 more than last year (822,421). The result is explained below (see ‘Priority: Must-visit exhibitions, attractions, programs and events’) as principally attributable to the museum’s free offer in 2018–19.

Visitor satisfaction is ahead of target at 98%. Of the 653 people surveyed, 640 were satisfied or very satisfied with the museum. This is a very good result considering that disruptive capital works were carried out in the museum from 5 February to 28 March 2019 (while the new FOH ticketing counter was being installed).