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Analysis

Visitors enjoying the #UDHRquilt Project exhibition. Photo by: Mark Nolan
Visitors enjoying the #UDHRquilt Project exhibition. Photo by: Mark Nolan
Old Parliament House achieves its purpose and outcome through the Museum of Australian Democracy, which was established to provide an enriched understanding and appreciation of the political legacy and intrinsic value of Australian democracy.

Positive trends in participation in exhibitions, school programs and other opportunities for engagement show that the museum performed strongly in 2018–19.

Visitor numbers

In 2018–19, the total number of visitors to the museum increased by 13 per cent, as shown in Table 2.

The overall increase in museum visitation was due to a large number of cross-generational events, an increase in onsite tours, and the development of new permanent galleries and exhibitions. In addition, school programs achieved their highest visitation levels, and 12,234 visitors attended Election Festival 2019 onsite.

Catering numbers increased by 9 per cent, reflecting an improved offer to the public and an increase in the number of functions held.

In total, 1,490 schools participated in 2,185 onsite programs. In response to feedback surveys, 98 per cent of teachers reported that their experience had been positive and 100 per cent reported that the museum’s programs were relevant to their classroom curriculum.

Visitor surveys conducted in 2018–19 provided valuable insights. Of the visitors surveyed, 81 per cent were from outside the Australian Capital Territory; 75 per cent said that their knowledge of democracy had increased as a result of their visit; and 91 per cent rated their experience at the museum as good to excellent.

Online interactions

In 2018–19, the number of views of the museum’s web pages views increased by 49 per cent, as shown in Table 3.

The significant increase in page views is partly attributable to capturing more visitor data from our microsites. Additionally, some of the increase is attributable to engagement with the website driven through social channels, particularly around major events and exhibitions.

Collection management

In 2018–19, the number of objects in the museum’s collection increased by 5 per cent, as shown in Table 4.

Between 2015–16 and 2018–19, the museum did not add listings for any collection items to its website, because of a lack of resources. The number of collection items available online did not change in that period.

Table 2 Trends in annual visitor numbers

Activity

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

Change from
2017–18 to 2018–19

no.

%

Onsite activities

Programs and exhibitions:

  • school programs

81,074

80,183

84,991

87.875

2,884

3

  • museum visitors

181,430

204,777

185,842

210,204

24,362

13

Catering

59,318

74,736

73,864

80,544

6,680

9

Total onsite visitors

321,822

359,696

344,697

378,623

33,926

10

Outreach and travelling programs

35,214

92,031

168,743

283,307

114,034

67

Total visitors

357,036

451,727

513,970

661,930

147,960

29

Table 3 Trends in website usage

Usage

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

Change from

2017–18 to 2018–19

no.

%

Website visits

424,244

426,804

491,749

485,853

–5,896

–1

Web page views

985,116

933,213

948,324

1,408,562

460,238

49

Table 4 Trends in collection management

Collection

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

Change from
2017–18 to 2018–19

no.

%

Collection objects

25,039

26,422

27,424

28,743

1,319

5

Percentage of collection available to the public online

2

2

2

2

0

0