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Melbourne Museum reimagines the museum experience

In a reimagining of the museum experience, Melbourne Museum flagship summer exhibition has plenty of unexpected sights and sounds, and none of the usual static exhibition text or labels.

Inside Out takes visitors on a surreal journey through a series of vibrant vignettes and abstracted everyday environments, from a High Street shop window display to a camping ground bathed in the moonlight of 1874, back stage at a drag show and even a hip sushi bar.

Made up of 370 extraordinary museum objects usually held behind closed doors, Inside Out is a love song to Museums Victoria’s collection of more than 17 million items. Visitors are led on the adventure by a kooky and surprising audio guide. Riffing on themes of love, time and immortality, a playful narrator takes visitors through the offbeat spaces, along the way introducing museum and non-museum experts who share unexpected and passionate stories about the museum’s most unusual collection items.

Almost half of the items have never been on display before including, the first Black Box flight recorder prototype, the beautiful H.L. White collection of Australian bird’s eggs, and a new taxidermy of a lioness. These objects join popular favourites such as internet meme sensation, Sad Otter.

Throughout the otherworldly experience, visitors hear personal stories from both museum experts and community members who share a special bond with the items, including a senior curator (Kimberley Moulton), tattoo artist (Clare Hampshire), bartender (Fred Siggins), fashion designer (Prue Acton), drag queen (Dorreen Manganini), preparator (Dean Smith), granddaughter (Judy Potter), Egyptologist (Colin Hope), astronomer (Dr. Tanya Hill), engineering curator (Matilda Vaughan) and a futurist (Maddee Clark). A disco soundtrack has been specially commissioned from Vachel Spirason and Matthew Hadley of Total Giovanni.

Zoe Meagher, Experience Developer, Museums Victoria said that the exhibition provides a smorgasbord of objects with show-stopping pieces sitting alongside the less conspicuous. “Inside Out enables visitors to meet not only extraordinary, beautiful and significant collection items, but also be drawn into the fascinating stories behind quieter items that might not otherwise catch the eye. Bring an open heart, bring a pair of headphones, a curious friend and press play!”

Lynley Marshall, CEO, Museums Victoria said Inside Out completely reimagines the way Museums Victoria presents its collection: “Museums Victoria is custodian of the vast and wondrous State collection of more than 17 million items, and Inside Out celebrates it in a completely new and wonderful way…an experience quite unlike anything we’ve done, bringing objects together in unexpected ways that spark imaginations and make visitors think twice.”

Inside Out is on at Melbourne Museum until 11 February, 2018.

Museum-iD Magazine #21

Museum-iD Magazine #21

International, independent and influential. Museum-iD shares progressive thinking and developments in museums globally.

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