Amazingly and fabulously located on the waterfront of Sydney, at the north end of Darling Harbour, the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is a unique indoor and outdoor tourist attraction of Australia. It was built in the Darling Harbour in Sydney, and opened in 1991 (Anmm.gov.au, 2017). It was part of the redevelopment plan of the Darling Harbour and Pyrmont. This is the most visited national cultural centre of the Australian government. The museum was designed and built by Phillip Cox. The institution was made and is maintained by the federal government of Australia. Among the six national museums under direct control of the federal government, ANMM is the only one located outside the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The six major galleries of the museum are Navigators, Eora-First People, Passengers, Watermarks, Navy, and Australia-US relationship (Darlingharbour.com, 2014). There are four other gallery spaces, used for hosting exhibitions. The museum has kept many important ships with a historical background, original lenses from the Tasman Island Lighthouse and many other important items, such as, Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse built in 1874, relocated to the ANMM site, Vaughan Evans Library, Welcome Wall, which is dedicated in the honour of more than 10 million people who have migrated to Australia from various places across the world, replica of HMB Endeavour, on which James Cook sailed from 1768 to 1771 on the historic world voyage, exhibitions on the nautical history of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Harding safety lifeboat etc. (Sydney.com, 2016). There are two attractive wharf structures to the east of the main buildings supporting the world’s biggest fleet of the in-water historical vessels, which includes the Endeavour replica. All these are major attractions for the local as well as international visitors.
Analytical report of the ANMM as a tourist attraction
The Australian National Maritime Museum offers a great level of entertainment for the whole family. It provides a great learning scope through many objects and exhibitions that explains the navy history, adventures on water, navy battles, mutiny, the migration of people from across the seas, ancient and modern culture, business relationships, and sporting accomplishments by the nation. It also offers a submarine tour to explore the underwater world of the navy. There are many events and exhibitions held regularly for entertainment through a learning experience.
The tourist attraction can be analyzed in the following way. According to Weaver and Lawton (2014), a tourist attraction can be defined as a generic or specific characteristic of a destination or place, which attracts visitors or tourists. It is the place of interest for the visitors, due to the inherent or exhibited cultural or natural value, natural beauty, man made attraction, historical value, or entertainment value. This also includes variety of tangible and intangible factors management. Based on this theoretical concept, the ANMM gives the opportunity to the visitors to explore the links of the country with the sea. This attraction was built purposely on the edge of Darling Harbour, which includes world’s one of the biggest fleets of any museum. It arranges many temporary and permanent exhibitions on historical naval events (Coxarchitecture.com.au, 2017). They also offer customized and personalized guided tours according to the visitors’ desires. This is a factor for attractions for the visitors.
The above figure on attraction attributes illustrates many elements that create attraction elements for any destination. As per the figure, the following five attributes of ANMM can be explained.
The museum is built and maintained by the federal government of Australia. The plot of land was initially owned by the Gadigal people, who used to live on the rich source of shellfish and other seafood in the protected environment of Cockle Bay and Darling Harbour. The museum authority explores the indigenous culture of the Eora First people through exhibitions, which gives an idea about the ownership of the land. However, the government ownership makes the attraction site more credible to people and thus, the visitors does not hesitate about visiting the place (Hollensen, 2015).
It refers to the genuineness of the attraction site. Since, this is a national museum, the products, and themes maintain the authenticity. When built, ANMM was one of a kind museum in Australia, and the idea was not copied. Although there are maritime museums in all the countries, the products and exhibitions are specifically focused on the naval history of that particular country. This way, authenticity is maintained (Keene, 2012).
A tourist attraction achieves the primary status, when it was built first on a place and the region develops after it is developed. Sometimes, when an attraction is the only one or major attraction in a region, it is called primary tourist attraction. In case of ANMM, it was developed near the center of Sydney more than 20 years ago, when the Darling Harbour was not much developed and lacked in other tourist destinations. Thus, it has achieved the primary status (McCallum, 2014).
It is assessed by the level of accessibility for all type of people, such as, for children and for the disabled. In its website, ANMM has provided all the accessibility information on the facilities and services, such as, special parking, ramps for wheelchair accessibility, public transport, maps, etc, offered for the disabled people and children, who need special attention (Hollensen, 2015).
Niche, Inclusive, All tourist, mostly local
A national cultural institution is meant for all types of people. ANMM was built for all citizens of Australia as well as for the global tourists. After it was opened in 1991, the popularity of this museum has been increasing due to its range of products in the galleries. Over time, it has been able to enhance the interests of people, which has made it into one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia (Weaver & Lawton, 2014).
SWOT analysis of ANMM
SWOT analysis is an analytical tool to measure the strengths and weaknesses of an organization. It helps in assessing the position of the organization and its potentiality and set the organizational strategies accordingly. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (Hollensen, 2015).
The SWOT analysis for the ANMM is as follows:
Strengths: Location, Local employees, government funding, advertisements, are the strengths of ANMM. Apart from these, the huge data collection over the spatial and temporal scale, resource efficiency, and integration of education with entertainment are also considered strengths.
Weaknesses: The unsystematic data collection and difference in qualities of the products are the weaknesses of the museum. There are many museums, which keep very high quality samples and their conservation quality is also better than ANMM (Johnson et al., 2015).
Opportunities: The development of new technologies, especially, the interactive websites and mobile apps, support from public and private sector, and the potential establishment of a network of national citizen science provide ample opportunities for growth for ANMM.
Threats: The recruitment and retention of the local volunteers, and scientific skepticism generate threats for the museum. If they cannot recruit the correct person, or retain the experienced and good volunteers, then the growth and reputation would be hampered (McCallum, 2014).
Over more than two decades, the museum has been offering many products and services for the local as well as global tourists. It has separate programs for the kids and for adults. There is welcome wall, replica and real ships for display, interactive activities, oceanic adventures, which have been able to draw visitors from all over the world. All the products and services are exquisite and attract people of all ages. People can look around themselves or opt for a guided tour of their choice (Johnson et al., 2015).
Since, the competition as well as international tourism is increasing, the museum should follow some new trends and make changes in their programs to attract more visitors.
- It should focus on developing more interactive programs for the visitors, especially, for the children. This would make them more interested in otherwise boring naval history of the country.
- It should introduce more services for specially abled children and adults, since, every citizen has the right to enjoy education and entertainment.
- The website and mobile apps should be improved continuously to make the visitor experience better.
- ANMM should give concessions to lower income group people so that they can also visit the museum and not get barred for the ticket money.
- It should change the program schedules and contents more frequently and at the same time improve the quality of the programs and the services, so that people are interested to come back again and again.
In the end, it can be said that, the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney is already an established landmark in the tourism map of Australia. with innovative products, services and programs, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. With a huge collection of historic naval items and illustration of nautical history through exhibitions, ANMM has managed to draw a large number of visitors each year. However, with some changes in the programs and schedules, the museum can draw more tourists and entail further growth.
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Keene, S. (2012). Managing conservation in museums. Routledge.
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