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Touring exhibitions

Our international touring exhibitions program had one of its most diverse years yet, with exhibitions touring to New Zealand, the USA, Papua New Guinea, the UK, Indonesia, Kuwait City, Japan, Singapore, France and Denmark. The museum reached more than 900,000 visitors in Australia and overseas. New promotional and marketing materials were produced with a focus on providing film footage of exhibition installations to promote our touring exhibitions to potential host venues.

Our blockbuster travelling exhibitions continue to tour the world. Just over 21,000 visitors attended James Cameron – Challenging the Deep at Otago Museum in New Zealand. Complex advance planning for object and multimedia installation was required to ensure the experience for visitors replicated the display in Sydney, and our team forged valuable relationships with their counterparts from Otago. Exhibits displayed in Sydney a few years ago were seen by new audiences, with Escape from Pompeii attracting 227,000 visitors in France and Denmark, while Horrible Histories® Pirates – the exhibition continued its residency at the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth.

We had two important international collaborations this year – with the Australian Embassy in Indonesia, which hosted the exhibition Black Armada/Two Nations: A friendship in born, and with the Alotau Museum in Papua New Guinea, which hosted Massim Canoes. In both instances we commissioned work from local people to help us translate or design the exhibitions.

Our outdoor exhibit Container: the box that changed the world continued its tour and was displayed in Narrabri and Dubbo, NSW, and Fremantle, WA. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Fremantle Ports helped with funding to ensure the exhibition could be transported across the Nullarbor to WA. 2019 marked 50 years of the international container trade to Fremantle and the display was timed to mark this anniversary. The position of the containers opposite the working port and alongside the Western Australian Maritime Museum was perfect to attract passing pedestrians to enter our colourful containers to discover fascinating facts about international shipping.

Our touring exhibitions were clearly affected by the pandemic, with some venue cancellations and logistical issues to resolve. The exhibit team is indeed grateful for the support of Royal Wolf Australia for providing a storage solution for our Container exhibition in WA. Working with colleagues at museums around the country to re-program our existing and future touring exhibition schedules has been the main challenge for staff in the final month of the financial year. Our touring program bounced back in late June, however, when some of our remote and regional museum venues were again able to start displaying our popular banner exhibition Submerged.

Container – the box that changed the world

Narrabri Council, 18 May 2019–29 July 2019

Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo, NSW, 9 August–14 October 2019

Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle, WA, 31 October 2019–March 2020

Escape from Pompeii: the untold Roman rescue in conjunction with Expona

Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France, 6 April–6 October 2019

Moesgaard Museum of Aarhus, Denmark, 5 November 2019–12 March 2020

Horrible Histories® Pirates – the exhibition

National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, UK, 12 April 2019–18 March 2020

James Cameron – Challenging the Deep

Otago Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand, 21 July 2019–23 February 2020

Little shipmates

Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie, Booragul, NSW, 6 April–5 July 2019

Massim Canoes

Alotau Museum, Papua New Guinea, 24 October–15 December 2019

Pop Up Australian National Maritime Museum

Sydney International Boat Show, 30 July–3 August 2019

Alan Villiers & the Sons of Sindbad

Amricani Cultural Centre, Kuwait City, 1 December 2019–31 January 2020

Kuwait Assembly, Kuwait City, 1 February–31 March 2020

Banner exhibitions

The museum has continued to tour banner exhibitions, enabling us to share the maritime story with Australians visiting local libraries, trade shows, historical societies, naval bases and clubs throughout the nation. This year we focused on touring the panel display Submerged: Stories of Australia’s shipwrecks developed with members of the Australian Maritime Museums Council (AMMC) and funded by Visions of Australia, Office for the Arts. We also worked closely with members of the AMMC to plan the next banner exhibit, which will commence its tour of regional Australia late in 2020.

Australian Sailing Hall of Fame – five venues in Australia

Black Armada/Two Nations: A friendship is born – four venues in Indonesia

Clash of the Carriers/The Battle of the Coral Sea (banner display and film) – one venue in the USA and one in Australia

Dark Victory – Operation Jaywick (banner display and virtual reality experience) – one venue in Singapore

Guardians of Sunda Strait (banner display and film) – two venues in the USA

Nawi Indigenous watercraft – four venues in Australia

Submerged: Stories of Australia’s shipwrecks – 45 venues in Australia

War and Peace in the Pacific 75 – two venues in Japan and two in the USA