This summer, Melbourne Museum will open an exceptional new exhibition Museum Inside Out that will turn the traditional museum experience completely on its head. Drawing on the State’s collection of over 17 million objects, the exhibition will reinterpret the collection creating an immersive, playful and quietly thrilling one-of-a-kind adventure.
This love song to Museums Victoria’s unique collection will feature some of the most significant, historic, and exquisite objects – as well as the humble and every day – reinterpreted in unexpected ways. Visitors will become players in theatrical sets, engulfed in strange wonderlands, and taken on a multi-sensory journey unlike anything the Museum has offered before.
As they explore the exhibition, visitors will find themselves in 1854, standing in the moonlight with a meteorite ready to crash to earth, or entering a world where exotic show birds dance, miniature civilisations rise and fall, and an individual heartbeat lasts for literally hundreds of millions of years.
The exhibition signals a significant new era for Museums Victoria, the organisation that oversees Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, the Immigration Museum, IMAX Melbourne and the Royal Exhibition Building. Building on the organisation’s strengths – Australasia’s largest – Museums Victoria is reimagining, experimenting and expanding.
“We are opening in more ways, different ways and more often,” says Lynley Marshall, Museums Victoria’s new CEO. “Our people are exceptionally energized, and there is a palpable eagerness to experiment, to take risks and move into territories that museums don’t normally go. The results of our creative explorations are already taking shape and include the extraordinary Museum Inside Out, a remarkable exhibition that has been aptly described as a love song to our unique collection.”
In the coming year, Museums Victoria has more than 40 exhibitions scheduled, encompassing topics as varied as design, fashion and migration, to experiences that explore technology, innovation and the wonders of science – with Australian First Peoples history and culture a common thread throughout.
Two new international exhibitions will open: Vikings – bringing together the largest collection of Viking artifacts ever displayed in Australia; and Above and Beyond – an interactive exhibition where visitors can design and virtually fly their own experimental aircraft.
In addition, two innovative and groundbreaking permanent exhibitions will launch at Scienceworks. Enchanting children with the wonders of STEM at the earliest opportunity Ground Up, is designed for babies to 5-year-olds, while Beyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen has been designed for and with young adults.
This innovative new exhibition will connect and inspire with the potential and opportunities of STEM. Both exhibitions will be open at Scienceworks early in 2018. For the Spring and Summer seasons, more than 50 programs have been developed, reflecting the creative dynamism that has become a key pillar of the Museums’ activities and new direction.
For the Spring and Summer seasons, more than 50 programs have been developed, reflecting the creative dynamism that has become a key pillar of the Museums’ activities and new direction. These include Up Late – a series of salons and soirees across all three museums.
Melbourne Museum’s First Fridays all adult event Nocturnal – which launched in July with sell-out audiences, is one iteration of the ongoing program of otherworldly evenings, featuring a diverse array of Melbourne’s leading breakthrough musicians and DJs. Planetarium Nights – a showcase of films on the dome; the AstroLight Festival and Diwali Festival of Lights will continue this reshaping of Melbourne’s evening offerings.
Expanding on MV’s role as an incubator and facilitator for creative practice, the team have been exploring innovative partnerships with individuals and organisations across the fields of dance, film, music, design, the arts and written word.
Museum Moves – the unexpected exercise class with the avant-garde Phillip Adams BalletLab, exemplifies the creative collaboration propelling this new style of programming. More initiatives will be announced in the coming months, including events that will activate the wider precinct bordered by Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings.
Considering different ways to open and share the treasures, expertise, knowledge and discoveries at the heart of the organization, road trips led by the Museum’s specialist teams to fossick for fossils in rock pools, trace Victoria’s volcanic past, or explore some of our most remarkable ancient Indigenous sites are being developed.
The storerooms that contain the State’s outstanding collections will also be opened for regular tours, revealing finds ranging from specimens collected by Charles Darwin and John Gould, and a wonderland of extinct animals, spectacular birds, exquisite rare books and extraordinary cultural treasures.
“It is an inspiring time, our people are brimming with ideas for ways to share knowledge, and the many treasures and wonders that are at our fingertips,” said Ms Marshall. “Our wish is to not only be a place of safekeeping for our unique ecology and landscape, but also increasingly a central hub for knowledge and discovery, and a place where we can come together and explore.”
“A place for wider enquiry, and a launching pad for thinkers and commentators to come together, to reflect and challenge. For MV to be a place where we can make sense of our world together – interpreting the past, understand the present, and to question and push into the future.”
“Museum Inside Out will be an experience unlike anything attempted before at MV. Bring your eyes, ears – most importantly bring an open heart and enjoy the extraordinary combination of the creativity and innovation of our people and the richness of the State‘s collection,” concluded Ms Marshall.
Museum Inside Out opens 23 December 2017. For more information, visit: museumsvictoria.com.au for details.
Image: Lynley Marshall (CEO Museums Victoria) with Jo White (BalletLab) with objects from the Museums Victoria Collection – photo by Ben Healley / Museums Victoria