Think you’ve seen every treasure in the Melbourne Museum’s collection? You haven’t even seen a fraction of it. Museums Victoria – which includes the Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks – are the custodians of 17 million items, from 1,000 year-old artefacts to contemporary objects. We’ll let that sink in for a moment.
What’s more, the museum is a living, forward-thinking institution; its labyrinthine network of laboratories are abuzz with scientists and researchers making new discoveries and acquiring new items every day.
Of course, getting up close to every piece of the collection is impossible. What is possible, however, is to see key objects presented in a way that is completely unexpected, in a setting that is thrillingly immersive.
As part of a groundbreaking new program commencing this summer, the Melbourne Museum will present Museum Inside Out (Dec 23-Feb 11), which will showcase its collection and the discoveries that go on behind the scenes in a way that has never been seen before.
In an announcement today, Museums Victoria CEO Lynley Marshall announced that Museum Inside Out will be a “love song to our unique collection”. More than just an exhibition, the experience will see visitors plunged into what the museum is calling a “one-of-a-kind audio-aesthetic adventure”. Visitors will be invited to put on headphones and be taken through a journey that is completely outside of time, as items from the collection (both ancient and contemporary) will be placed into unusual, highly theatrical settings. As part of the experience, visitors will encounter performances, vignettes and soundscapes.
“We’re making an experience that’s playful and experimental, and that uses new eyes and voices to share stories without labels,” says Zoe Meagher, experience developer at Museums Victoria. “Unusual settings will emphasise their elegance or heighten their mystery.”
Museum Inside Out heralds the beginning of a new direction for Museums Victoria. If you’ve been to the Friday night Nocturnal parties, then you’ll be happy to hear that these will continue; plus, there’ll be astronomy festivals, behind-the-scenes tours, film screenings and fitness classes.
And that’s far from it. Next March, the museum will host the Swedish History Museum’s huge Vikings exhibition (Mar 23-Aug 26). This international blockbuster will feature more than 500 artefacts from one of history’s most fascinating (yet misunderstood) civilisation, including parts of a Viking ship, Thor’s hammer pendants and swords.
For the full list of upcoming exhibitions, visit the Museums Victoria website.