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Powerhouse report

Andrew Taylor, Annual report shows Powerhouse Museum cut staff but spent more on advertising, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2015

The Powerhouse Museum doubled spending on advertising and publicity while cutting staff numbers following a drop in government funding, according to its latest annual report.

The museum’s outgoing director Rose Hiscock, who resigned earlier this month, was upbeat about the future of the embattled institution following last year’s poor results – pointing to a 12 per cent increase in visitors and 51 per cent rise in sponsorship.

“The results in the 2014-15 annual report show the museum is well equipped to continue to deliver on statutory objectives,” said its spokeswoman Rebekah Waite.

However, income from admissions in 2014-15 was down 2 per cent from the previous year, according to the annual report.

The institution, rebadged as the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, also cut its workforce from 242 to 188, with curatorial staff reduced from 96 to 73.

Conversely, the museum managed to enhance its customer service, commercial, communications, curatorial and digital capabilities, while liberating $5 million to spend on exhibitions, according to the annual report.

The museum also more than tripled its spending on touring exhibitions to $5.46 million in 2014-15, with shows imported from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Centre National du Costume de Scene in Paris.

“As the museum continues to lift its international profile and work with a range of world-renowned institutions, the number of new exhibitions has increased,” Waite said.

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