First look: ACMI becomes world’s most digitally-transformed museum in radical revamp

First look: ACMI becomes world’s most digitally-transformed museum in radical revamp

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Words by Tom Parker

It’s an epic transformation of the beloved museum.

Melbourne’s ACMI has been closed since April 2019 as the beloved Fed Square museum has undergone a radical redevelopment. The results of that transformation are now public with the beloved museum lifting the lid on a metamorphosis that’s decidedly unparalleled.

The $40 million revamp has seen Australia’s national museum of screen culture incorporate a multiplatform museum model that’s powered by a new experience operating system (XOS).

It’s a platform that’s unprecedented on both Australian and international stages and will see physical and digital content connected in extraordinary ways.

ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick OAM conceptualised the restructure in 2015 and it has taken five years to come to fruition – the new model is designed to offer visitors a highly-accessible, more multi-faceted experience; one that transports them far beyond their inherent Melbourne location.

“The new ACMI will offer an immensely rich experience that people can engage with in new ways: at home, on their devices and here at the museum itself,” Sedgwick explains.

“We are launching a new brand identity and entirely new online presence, inviting people to visit our museum no matter where they are in the world. In the same way we curate and design exhibitions and programs for the physical museum, we have been developing them specifically for online across the breadth of screen culture – film, TV, videogames and art.

“We often consume the same stories via different platforms; we might read the comic book then watch the film adaptation and later play the videogame,” Sedgwick continues.

“Each platform brings out something new in the story. We have taken this concept of multiplatform storytelling and applied it to our museum. Thanks to our XOS, what we can now offer is a deeply integrated journey that extends, expands and enriches your visit, be that in person, or online.”

The aforementioned XOS operating system that’s at the heart of the redevelopment will power something new called The Lens – a handheld device that visitors can use as they peruse ACMI that allows them to tap and collect objects of interest throughout the museum and can be later explored on any device, anywhere in the world.

“When our building opens, they [visitors] will be able to leave with elements of what they’ve seen,” says ACMI Chief Experience Officer Seb Chan. “The technology then allows us to take the information visitors have collected and extend their exploration via a highly connected ecosystem of curated content.”

As ACMI unveils the details of their revamped museum, they’ve also launched their first exhibit through The Story of the Moving Image, now available online. With ACMI looking at a physical opening date by the new year, The Story of the Moving Image will only be presented online for now.

In its physical form, the display will be a 1600 sqm year-round exhibition that takes visitors on a journey of discovery involving new techniques to learn, films to watch, video games to play and more.

A new online art gallery and cinema have also been announced, with Gallery 5 and Cinema 3 set to launch on November 11 and November 19 respectively.

The new-age ACMI is now live. Check it out here.

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