Friday, 12 February 2021 07:37

ACMI reopens after digital transformation

ACMI reopens after digital transformation Shannon McGrath

ACMI, Australia's national museum of screen culture, has reopened after at $40 million redevelopment.

A key part of the revamped ACMI is the Lens, a free take home NFC device modelled on the nostalgic shape of Viewmaster Reels.

"The Lens enables visitors to collect and take home anything that they see – from films to videogames, artworks to objects, videos and interviews," said ACMI chief experience officer Seb Chan.

Developed in conjunction with Swinburne University's Centre for Design Innovation, the Lens interacts with NFC readers throughout the galleries based on low-cost Raspberry Pi hardware.

The project led ACMI to develop software that would allows its disparate systems and databases to communicate with each other.

This approach has reducing the time needed to turn a curatorial idea into a gallery exhibit, as well as allowing visitors to take home what they are interested in while also learning from the spatial and content insights gained from what they collect.

In The Story of the Moving Image, ACMI's free centrepiece exhibition, the Lens is part of the process that allows visitors to make or record their own content.

Similarly, the Lens saves video content made by visitors at the Flipbook, Edit Line or Foley Studio exhibits so they can download and view that content later on from home.

And in the Constellation (pictured above) – the climax of the exhibition – the items collected by visitors on their Lens are linked to to hundreds of other human-selected films, TV series, artworks and videogames beyond the scope of the gallery.

The new exhibition includes 17 projectors supplied by Panasonic and 139 speakers from Yamaha, with lighting from iGuzzini.

"The new ACMI sees physical and digital content connected in ways not yet seen in Australia – setting the museum apart and establishing ACMI as one of the most innovative and digitally transformed museums in the world," said ACMI director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick.

Located in Melbourne's Fed Square, the ACMI Museum's opening hours are
Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm
Wed-Fri: 12pm-7pm
Sat: 11am-7pm
Sun: 11am-6pm

Timed free visits can be booked online at

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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