Who visits the Indigenous Australians Exhibition and what do they think about it?

The Museum is planning to develop a new Indigenous Australians exhibition. To inform this development an evaluation of the current exhibition was conducted in during 2009. A total of 167 face to face interviews were conducted with visitors and results summarised below.

The main motivation for visiting the exhibition was either a general visit (47%) 35% or a desire to learn about Indigenous culture, people and history (35%).

98% of visitors understood the main messages the exhibition is trying to convey, described as:

  • Indigenous culture, spirituality, identity and pre-settlement history
  • the history of what happened to Indigenous people/ the stolen generation
  • racism, discrimination, abuse and conflict
  • reconciliation, the future
  • educate people and raise awareness of Indigenous Australians
  • justice, rights and respect

Visitors were asked to describe their feelings after visiting the exhibition and most respondents described feelings centred on learning. They said they felt informed, interested, gained understanding and were curious.
The exact nature of the learning was described as:

  • 88% discovered new information
  • 77% built on existing knowledge
  • 60% refreshed their knowledge
  • 60% remembered things they hadn’t thought of for a while
  • 51% shared some of their knowledge with other people
  • 83% felt curious about finding out more
  • 85% felt they had been reminded of the importance of some issues
  • 67% got a real buzz out of what they learnt
  • 36% felt it was all very familiar to them
  • 81% felt it was pleasant to be reminded and to learn more
  • 51% of respondents reported sharing their knowledge with others and 83% expressed a desire to find out more.

For 27% of respondents the most interesting feature of the exhibition was the art, 17% craft and artefacts, 16% stolen generation and the maze, 11% weapons, 10% history.

81% of respondents correctly identified Indigenous people as telling the stories in the exhibition and 83% supported the merging of political and cultural issues in the exhibition.

Visitor profile:

  • 44% visited alone
  • 23% with family
  • 6% with friends
  • 22% with spouse/partner
  • 3% with an organised group
  • 75% of respondents were new visitors
  • Aged under 35: 42%
  • 35-49 years: 21%
  • 50+ years: 37%
  • 72% university educated
  • 33% of respondents live in Australia
  • 67% overseas

6% described themselves as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent