In 2019, the museum provided a ‘Statement of Intent’ for 2019–20 in response to the Government’s ‘Statement of Expectations’. The following table summarises progress in delivering the Statement of Intent.
Delivery against the museum's 'Statement of Intent' for 2019–20
Contribute to economic activity, particularly in regional centres, through touring and other outreach activities
Investment in a diverse range of outreach activities, including in regional areas, as part of the Encounters 2020 program:
- Leveraging seed funding to secure investment by partners in a documentary film as part of the Encounters 2020 program
- Acquisition of contemporary Indigenous art from regional areas for the National Maritime Collection, including in partnership with the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair
- Grants and in-kind support under the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS).
- Seed funding of $400K in the film Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky unlocked over $600K in external funding for the project.
- Acquisition of artworks from regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (valued at $189K), as well as a pledge for $100K for works from the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair in 2020–21.
- Container: The box that changed the world exhibition toured to Narrabri and Dubbo, NSW, and Fremantle, WA.
- Bushfire-affected areas were prioritised in the MMAPSS grants process. Four successful organisations were bushfire affected, including one project that would benefit eight organisations on the South Coast.
Provide leadership to the collections sector as an employer of choice
Provide leadership to the collections sector as an employer of choice, particularly:
- Offering to share with the collections sector our journey in advancing a range of ‘people first’ initiatives being implemented under our Operational Plan.
- Partnering with not-for-profit employers, such as Settlement Services International, and exploring new practices with regards to labour.
- Enhancing corporate social responsibility by introducing various frameworks across the museum.
- Commencing work on a volunteering framework that will enable a diverse range of volunteers to benefit from participation, particularly individuals with a disability. The framework will provide volunteers with greater opportunities to work in a range of roles across the museum, and establish a volunteer pool that can be accessed by other organisations.
Accept opportunities to shape and promote Australian identity through the museum’s public-facing activities both nationally and internationally
Continue to offer public-facing activities speaking to Australian identity and, where relevant, we will invite and support our visitors to reflect on issues of Australian identity in our public facing activities, particularly:
- The Encounters 2020 program will provide a safe place for all Australians to discuss and debate a wide range of perspectives on the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first Pacific voyage, with an equal emphasis on the ‘view from the shore’ and the ‘view from the ship’
- In addition to Encounters 2020, we will provide diverse onsite and touring exhibition programs, including Faces of Australia, Mariw Minaral and Koori Art Expressions as well as the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. A continued focus on collecting and sharing stories about Indigenous maritime heritage, migration to Australia and the members of the Royal Australian Navy.
- Collaborated with ABC Education on a ‘digibook,’ HMB Endeavour’s voyage of exploration.
- The Endeavour replica participated in Tuia 250, New Zealand’s commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Cook’s voyages.
- The Virtual Ocean Talk Cook, Man or Myth, with Peter Fitzsimmons and John Maynard, was watched by 2,000 people worldwide.
- Completed We are Many – Stories of Australia’s Migrants
- Opened exhibitions which provide opportunities for reflection on issues of Australian identity:
- Capturing the home front
- Art of Navy
- Challenging, Thrilling, Racing: 75 years of the Sydney to Hobart
- Koori Art Expression
- Kanalaritja – an unbroken string
- Under Southern Skies (permanent gallery)
- Two Nations, which highlights Australia’s connection to Indonesia’s independence story, toured Indonesia
- Sons of Sindbad, featuring the photography of Australian Alan Villiers, opened in Kuwait.
Consider opportunities to create and meet demand for inbound tourism
Consider opportunities to create and meet demand for inbound tourism, particularly:
- developing and implementing an International Tourism Project Plan.
- Commenced overhaul of international tourism strategy in light of COVID-19. The Tourism Manager has been using digital technology to maintain connections with key international distributors.
- Became a member of Cultural Attractions of Australia.
Provide leadership in the delivery of collection management, arts education and public programs
Provide leadership in the delivery of collection management, education and public programs, particularly:
- Development of a range of new exhibitions and programs for Encounters 2020, as well as exhibitions such as Sea Monsters, Elysium Arctic, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Mariw Minaral and Faces of Australia
- Visitor programs and site and vessel activation
- Support for the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project
- Upgrading our e-collection, collection digitisation and sustainability
- Progressing accreditation to support protection of cultural gifts on loan
- Hosting a major international conference (Communicating the Arts – November 2019).
- National leadership of the Migration and Multicultural Museums Alliance and the Maritime Museums Council.
- Encounters 2020 pivoted to an online program, with supportive physical elements including a rooftop projection (Strange big canoe), a banner exhibition (Ship and shore) and exhibitions Cook and the Pacific and HERE: Kupe to Cook.
- Exhibitions Sea Monsters, Elysium Arctic, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Bligh: Hero or Villain? and Capturing the home front were all opened on site.
- Michael Cook – A selection of works from the Undiscovered Series opened online.
- 5,840 images and 10 videos of 2,545 individual objects were digitised during the FY. 70% of the collection is available through the e-collection.
- Cook’s Voyages, an online game whose approach highlights a First Nations perspective on player choices, launched on 29 April. 8.5K unique users played the game in the first two months.
- The museum hosted the Communicating the Arts and Culture Business conferences in November 2019.
- Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan (PCOL) accreditation was actively progressed during the FY.
- The director presented a workshop on creating engaging exhibitions at the Museum Nasional, Indonesia, in November 2019.
- Members of the Migration and Multicultural Museum Alliance participated, via videolink, in the museum’s commemoration of the first anniversary of attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- Implementing a number of sustainability measures, including improved waste management.
Explore opportunities to grow private sector support and increase own-source revenue
Continue to 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:
- growing onsite visitation revenue
- growing international cultural tourist visitors to museum
- growing online revenue
- developing a merchandising strategy
- prioritising strategic partnerships and alliances
- meeting fundraising targets to support agreed priority projects for the Foundation Board.
- $19.7M raised in self-generated revenue, or 42.8% excluding one-offs (behind target due to COVID-19).
- Paid onsite visitation was $3.576 (10.7% behind target due to COVID-19). Note that the museum was on track for a strong result (9% ahead at the end of the third quarter).
- Draft retail strategy incorporating merchandising developed.
- Online revenue increased 223% from the last year.
- Significant strategic partnerships secured with Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), Port Authority of NSW, Multicultural NSW, Settlement Services International, Sydney Festival and the City of Sydney.
- $664K was raised this year from cash donations. The museum’s total philanthropy revenue also included Welcome Wall ($205K), fundraising campaigns ($259K) and a Gala Dinner ($88K).
- The ANMM Foundation agreed to provide $135K towards museum priorities and underwrote projects valued at $205K.
Analysis of overall performance against purpose
The museum had a particularly promising start to 2019–20, and by January 31, it was looking like it would be the best year yet for visitation. Those strong results meant that the museum did not lose too much ground when, on March 24, we shut our doors in accordance with the COVID-19 pandemic public health order. We reopened on 22 June, trading for only eight days of the fourth quarter.
Despite COVID-19, the museum succeeded in attracting visitors onsite, offsite and online and visitor satisfaction is very high.
The museum’s diverse exhibitions have been central to our success this year. Particularly noteworthy are Sea Monsters: Prehistoric ocean predators, Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Bligh: Hero or Villain?. These exhibitions have had strong visitation and visitor appeal, good curriculum alignment, attractive programming, and opportunities for publicity, commercial return, reputational benefit and/or stakeholder engagement.
A highlight of offsite visitation was the Endeavour replica’s voyage to New Zealand for that country’s Tuia 250 program. A total of 19,427 people visited the vessel at six ports.
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,War and Peace in the Pacific and the new Cook’s Voyages game.
The National Maritime Collection is growing and public access to the collection is on target. The museum’s Indigenous collection continued to grow this year with the acquisition of a number of key contemporary artworks that highlight relationships with the sea.
This year the museum earned 42.8% of revenue from own source (excluding one-offs), compared to 45% in 2018–19. This was a very good result considering the impact of COVID-19 on all revenue lines. The museum again faced increased depreciation expenditure and a reduction in venue hire activity, which was affected by onsite construction work during the year.
Finally, the museum largely delivered on its Statement of Intent for the year.
Going forward, the museum is anticipating a challenging 2020–21 as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both economically and socially, continues. The museum is committed to a range of measures in order to ensure that core functions are maintained and the museum can remain in a healthy position to recover.