The national capital's biggest institutions are combining forces to tell the rest of Australia that Canberra is not just a byword for everything politics.
A new tourism campaign targeting domestic visitors and launching today has brought together all 12 of the national capital's major cultural institutions, to redefine how Australians view Canberra.
Canberra is "Made of Australia", the campaign tagline will tell online audiences as it rolls out between now and September.
Dr Mathew Trinca, director of the National Museum of Australia, said his fellow institutions were convinced that Canberra is the nation's pre-eminent cultural destination.
"It's not Sydney, it's not Melbourne - it's this place, because nowhere else is there 12 national institutions present that tell all facets of the Australian story."
Australians need to holiday in the country during the pandemic, and the story of the national capital had never been more important, he said.
Visitor numbers have rebounded in recent months, Dr Trinca said, citing queues again being seen at the major cultural institutions of the city, including the National Gallery, the National Museum, the War Memorial and others.
"We have felt as if people are returning to the city and, indeed, returning to our institutions in great numbers," he said.
"But it is important that we come together to try and show the combined value of these institutions in the national capital.
"This is a signal point where we're saying together we represent a variety, a depth, and a wealth of cultural experience that's available to nowhere else in the country."
The institutions have never collaborated to this degree before, and the combined branding "Made of Australia" is expected to last beyond the initial campaign.
Dr Trinca said directors were exploring how they could work together to bring benefits to their own institutions, but also to the wider Canberra economy through the collaboration.
The initial campaign targets those looking at short visits, showing them more options while they are in Canberra via outdoor advertising at Canberra Airport and a partnership with Beam scooters - the purple ones - to allow visitors to access a discounted pass to travel between the institutions.
"The arguments that we make for each of the institutions in part actually are stronger for being made together, in my opinion," Dr Trinca said.
"We're trying to, through this campaign, remind people that these great cultural icons in Canberra are made of Australia, but they're made for all Australians. That's the encouragement to come to Canberra and visit one, five or more of us in the course of a visit."
Women and girls feature as the most prominent voices of the campaign.
They include a young girl who visits the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, then a woman striding through the marble foyer of the Australian Parliament House, with a voiceover declaring: "I found my purpose".
Another young girl participates in a First Nations ceremony at the National Museum, saying: "I found our shared culture".
Others describe their visits to the Royal Australian Mint, the Australian War Memorial, the Portrait Gallery, Questacon and to the iconic Australian cinema collection at the National Film and Sound Archive, using terms like beauty, wonder, curiosity and community.
Also participating in the campaign are the National Library, National Archives and National Capital Authority.
Dr Trinca said he hoped women will engage with the campaign, but it was a campaign for all Australians: men, women and children.
"The Cultural Icons campaign showcases Canberra as Australia's cultural heart, telling the story of Australia across 12 immersive institutions, including the important stories of Australia's First Nations peoples.
"As Australians, we need to understand our story, celebrate it, learn from it, and reflect on it for the future. There is no better place to do this than at Canberra's Cultural Icons."
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