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Delivery against the museum's 'Statement of Intent' for 2018–19

In 2018, the museum provided a ‘Statement of Intent’ for 2018–19 in response to the Government’s ‘Statement of Expectations’. The following table summarises progress in delivering the ‘Statement of Intent’.

Leadership in collection management, education and public programs

In 2018–19, ANMM will provide leadership in the delivery of collection management, education and public programs, particularly:

  • installation of the world’s largest exhibition of ghost-net sculptures to highlight themes of ocean conservation and Indigenous maritime heritage
  • development of new exhibitions on William Bligh and archaeological discoveries revealing the Japanese pearling industry off the north coast of Australia in the 1930s
  • overhaul of the museum’s approach to onsite programs with a focus on site activation, including tours of the museum’s vessels
  • collection digitisation and sustainability
  • hosting two major international conferences (MuseumNext – April 2019; Communicating the Arts – November 2019) and sponsoring the International Speakers Symposium at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart (February 2019).

  • The museum’s installation Au Karem ira Lamar Lu – Ghost nets of the ocean was installed in the foyer ahead of the brand launch late in 2018, with support from multiple donors.
  • The exhibition Bligh: Hero or Villain? took an innovative approach to narrative development and interpretation of history by exploring multiple facets of the central character and providing visitors with the evidence to make up their own minds on a historical question.
  • Our Site Events and Activation program established a new strategic framework for programming and established new visitor experiences, including an underwater drone program and immersive theatre events.
  • Collection development work is on track, with all KPIs around digitisation and collection accession and disposal.
  • The MuseumNext conference in April was a great success, and planning for Communicating the Arts and the 2019 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival are both well under way with the events on track for delivery according to schedule.

Encounters 2020

In 2018–19, ANMM will continue to work cooperatively with the Department of Communications and the Arts and Portfolio agencies on marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia, particularly:

  • planning and consultation for the Encounters 2020 program, including engaging with representatives of Indigenous communities and participation in Portfolio and Interdepartmental committees
  • collaborations with the National Library of Australia and National Museum of Australia in 2020
  • seeking major sponsors for voyaging HMB Endeavour in 2020
  • the charter of HMB Endeavour by the New Zealand Government for commemorations in 2019.

  • A major focus of the year has been planning and consultation for the Encounters 2020 program, including in respect of collaborations with the National Library and the National Museum.
  • The museum has been actively cultivating sponsors for the Encounters 2020 program.
  • The museum reached agreement with the New Zealand government to charter Endeavour for that country’s commemorations in 2019.

Maritime Heritage Precinct

In 2018–19, ANMM will continue developing the Maritime Heritage Precinct (MHP) project in conjunction with the NSW Government.

  • This year the museum secured $1.5M from the NSW Government for preliminary works for the Maritime Heritage Precinct.
  • All MHP design work was successfully completed and handed over to NSW Roads and Maritime for their public consultation process.

Growth in self–generated revenue

In 2018–19, ANMM will build on the success to date in pursuing opportunities for own-source income by a stronger focus in the museum on identifying and implementing alternative revenue, including:

  • appointment of the museum’s first Chief Revenue Officer to increase self-generated revenue
  • continue growing cultural tourist visitors to the museum
  • implementation of reforms to the museum’s membership program
  • meeting fundraising targets to support agreed priority projects for the Foundation Board, including voyaging of HMB Endeavour in 2020.

  • The museum’s first Chief Revenue Officer was appointed this year.
  • The continued focus on international visitors delivered very strong results, with almost 90,000 international visitors onsite.
  • The museum’s membership program was reviewed, with a new class of membership – the Captain’s Circle – introduced, along with a new monthly ‘Ocean Talks’ program
  • We actively sought out potential partners and donors for Encounters 2020 and will continue to cultivate them next year.

Diversity and inclusion

In 2018–19, ANMM will contribute to the government’s diversity and inclusion objectives, including Closing the Gap, through the museum’s programs, processes and Council membership, including:

  • increasing the number of Indigenous people working at the museum, including at front of house
  • continued participation in the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program
  • championing the immigration theme in the Australian maritime story
  • hosting a Women in Science education forum
  • reviewing the museum’s Accessibility Plan
  • championing investment in the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme.

  • The museum’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was approved.
  • One Indigenous employee is part of the Front of House team.
  • The museum supported two Indigenous employees to attend and participate in NAIDOC Week at Hyde Park on its behalf.
  • Museum employees participated in a range of activities and events to celebrate NAIDOC Week at the museum.
  • Significant work was undertaken across several areas of the museum to advance the migration story, including creation of a dedicated webpage that consolidates migration-themed content, a portal for teachers, new education programs, site activation and volunteers and partnerships with Australia’s migration and multicultural museums and the broader migration sector.
  • The Women in Science Forum was hosted by the museum on 8 March 2019.
  • A report was compiled on the achievements of the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme.

Budget repair

In 2018–19, ANMM will continue to identify and implement operational efficiencies in line with the expectation that all departments and agencies assist the government in achieving budget repair. In particular, the museum will:

  • actively participate in a review of the museum’s capital needs, including opportunities for collaboration with the national cultural institutions
  • rationalise the ANMM floating fleet and enhance revenue from the fleet
  • complete implementation of a new paint solution for HMAS Vampire to deliver savings in refit costs through reduced frequency of docking
  • progress public sector modernisation energy projects as per approved project plan
  • identify potential improvements in the museum’s ICT systems to improve efficiency.

  • The museum made a comprehensive submission to the department’s review of capital needs, including various safety and compliance proposals and renewal of the permanent galleries and enhancing the facilities for Australia’s migration story.
  • The decession of MB172 was progressed, with a sale to occur next year.
  • The new paint solution was applied to HMAS Vampire, which is expected to reduce costs of docking.
  • Public sector modernisation projects, including solar panels and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), were progressed in accordance with approved project plans.
  • A review of the museum’s ICT systems was undertaken and a number of potential improvements identified, with implementation to occur next year (subject to funding).

International cultural diplomacy outcomes

  • In 2018–19, ANMM will contribute to the government’s cultural diplomacy outcomes within existing resources with particular focus on the USA, Singapore, India, Indonesia and Germany. The key initiatives will include:
  • Singapore – deliver a new co-funded film and virtual reality project around Operation Jaywick; provide a keynote speaker for a major conference
  • India – host a major Indian community event at the museum
  • Indonesia – renew the memorandum of understanding with ARKENAS (the Indonesian National Centre for Research and Archaeology) to support the protection of HMAS Perth; progress a major Indonesian-themed acquisition for the National Maritime Collection
  • Germany – provide a keynote speaker for a major conference
  • USA – continue to collaborate with the Rhode Island Maritime Archaeology Project (RIMAP) on the search for the Lord Sandwich (ex-HMB Endeavour); organise and implement a largely self-funded study tour to Australia for up to 10 American high school students as part of the ‘War and Peace in the Pacific 75’ Program.

  • All the proposed key initiatives were delivered except the major Indian community event at the museum. An offer was made to the community but not accepted.
  • The Operation Jaywick film and VR are now on display at the museum, and the National Museum of Singapore, which co-developed and co-funded the works, is planning to incorporate them into their own World War II galleries as they are refurbished later this year.
  • A new inspection dive on HMAS Perth was carried out this year, and the grant-funded work with ARKENAS is ongoing.
  • The search for HMB Endeavour in Rhode Island is entering an exciting stage, with the wreck identified as the most promising site being scheduled for detailed exploration in September 2019.

2019 International year of Indigenous languages

In 2018–19, ANMM will seek opportunities to engage with broader government priorities including the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The key initiatives will include:

  • new acknowledgements in the museum’s foyer in the local Gadigal language
  • at least one temporary exhibition with signage in the relevant Indigenous language
  • moving towards country-appropriate language in all exhibitions onsite and travelling
  • consideration of opportunities for use of Indigenous languages in the museum’s Encounters 2020 programs.

  • Digital signage has been put up in the museum foyer displaying acknowledgement of the local custodians, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. Use of some local Gadigal language in acknowledgment in consolation with the local Metropolitan Land Council.
  • Unbroken lines of resilience: feather, fibre, shells (a temporary exhibition related to the 2018 NAIDOC Week theme, ‘Because of her we can’) used relevant traditional language for each artist represented in the exhibition.
  • The permanent museum exhibition Au Karem ira Lamar Lu – Ghost nets of the ocean includes traditional language from the Erubam people of the Torres Strait Islands.
  • Shaped by the Sea and re-development of Navigators Gallery will both include traditional language.
  • Current development of Encounters 2020 program will also include traditional language.

Analysis of overall performance against purpose

This has been an extraordinarily successful year for the museum in meeting its purpose, with most of the key performance measures met or exceeded.

The National Maritime Collection is growing and public access to the collection is on target. The museum is succeeding in attracting visitors onsite, offsite and online and visitor satisfaction is very high. This year more than 36% of our ticketed visitors were international visitors, which is a very pleasing result.

Under the umbrella of our rebranding, the museum’s diverse exhibitions have been central to our success this year. Particularly noteworthy are James Cameron: Challenging the Deep, Gapu Monuk Saltwater: Journey to Sea Country, Container – the box that changed the world and On Sharks & Humanity. Individually and collectively these exhibitions have had strong visitation and visitor appeal, good curriculum alignment, attractive programming, opportunities for publicity, commercial return, reputational benefit and stakeholder engagement.

This year we broke all records for offsite visitation and about 52% of visitors saw our touring exhibitions. A key contributor was Voyage to the Deep, which was developed by the museum in 2016 and, after national touring, was made available overseas.

The museum’s contribution to student education reflects high-quality curriculum-aligned programs onsite, offsite and online. Some highlights of the year include our Women in Science event, the Subs in Schools program and The Voyage game.

The museum’s Indigenous collection continued to grow this year and, after many years of prioritising a respectful and collaborative approach to engagement with community, we finalised our first Reconciliation Action Plan. Our Gapu Mon_uk Saltwater exhibition won further awards this year, including the Museums + Heritage Award for International Project of the Year (less than £1M).

As reported last year, the Public Sector Modernisation Fund has enabled various compliance and sustainability works to be completed across the museum while improving visitor amenity. This year’s works included the refit of HMAS Vampire with a new paint solution which will extend time between dockings, as well as foyer works and energy-saving projects.

This year the museum earned 45% of revenue from own source (excluding one-offs), compared with 43.6% last year, 39.2% in 2016–17 and 36.2% in 2015–16. All revenue lines exceeded targets. The positive impact was partially offset by increased depreciation expenditure and a reduction in venue hire activity, which was affected by onsite construction work occurring during the year.

A stronger focus on enhancing organisational excellence commenced this year, with the most significant achievement being the approval of a People and Culture Strategic Plan and the implementation of many initiatives that sit under it.

Finally, the museum largely delivered on its Statement of Intent for the year.

Going forward, it will be challenging for the museum to maintain growth without supplementation of operational funding. The next year will also be complex as the museum implements Encounters 2020 and several major capital projects which will be of great long-term benefit but have the potential for short-term adverse impact on revenue due to site disruption.