Since reopening late last year following COVID-enforced closures, Australian museums have been on a path toward rebounding and recovering lost visitation and revenue. Facilitating that endeavor is the new Find Yourself campaign, jointly masterminded by six Sydney venues and supported by Destination NSW, the tourism arm of the NSW Government.
Marking the first collaboration between these institutions — the Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Living Museums, and the State Library of New South Wales — the advertising push is directed at encouraging local and international visitors to once again return to the city’s cultural spaces.
Last week, Find Yourself launched with a one-minute video across the participating organizations’ online channels and at findyourself.org.au. Produced by creative agency Chisel, it featured highlights from each of the featured institutions — from the dinosaur fossils at the Australian Museum to the contemporary art on view at the Art Gallery of NSW — framing these spaces as spots for reflection as much as discovery.
To capture fresh perspectives of these locations, a FPV drone was used to film inside these venues over lockdowns, the first time that one has been permitted within these institutions, according to Zak Kaczmarek, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Chisel.
“We thought, ‘What exactly do people like to do when they visit a cultural institution, and how can we remind them of the joys these public places provide?’” he said in a statement. “It all came back to people wanting to find themselves a new perspective on the world — on history, on art, on how everything works or comes to be.”
Why it matters
Like museums across the world, all the campaign’s participants have been severely impacted by lockdowns. Between 2018 and 2020, the Australian Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia saw their revenues dip by some AUD$2 million and AUD$3 million respectively. The Art Gallery of NSW welcomed 666,572 visitors in 2021, compared to 1.5 million in 2019, while the Powerhouse Museum admitted 187,164 onsite visitors, a vast contrast to the 757,166 visitors it saw in 2019.
The Find Yourself campaign, then, represents a much-needed recovery effort for these Sydney institutions. Notably, the video’s positioning of cultural venues as enriching environments is not new, but is newly refreshed in a post-lockdown climate where museums have emerged as nodes for connection and places for therapeutic encounters.
Also key here is the campaign’s collaborative aspect, reflecting a shared sense of urgency and collective goal of driving visitation. The combined push of these organizations (in addition to Destination NSW’s backing) greatly powers the project, guaranteeing the online campaign a bigger pool of resources and a broader reach.
What they said
“The new campaign is an exciting first for the institutions, which are rebounding after temporary closures in 2021 and are united in their aim to inspire audiences to get out and rediscover the extraordinary cultural experiences Sydney has to offer.” — Miranda Carroll, Director of Public Engagement, Art Gallery of NSW
“Sydney is a hub of arts and culture and is home to some of Australia’s leading cultural and artistic institutions – each boasting a rich and dynamic annual program that reflects the depth of talent, creativity and knowledge found in New South Wales. Find Yourself is an inspiring reminder that Sydney’s iconic institutions are open to the world and have the power to transform and renew.” — Stuart Ayres, Minister for Tourism and spokesperson for Destination NSW