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MV’s Lynley Marshall leads Inside Out

State Families Minister Jenny Mikakos, Museums Victoria CEO Lynley Marshall, and Indigenous curator Veronica Barnett at Melbourne Museum. Photo: Eddie Jim.

Carolyn Webb, ‘Playful and experimental’: Museums Victoria wants to make us look twice, The Age, 12 September 2017

It’s fossils, Jim, but not as we know them. Museums Victoria is out to woo the public with DJ sets, food and wine, dance and theatre.

In 2017, everything is an “experience” and Melbourne Museum now employs experience developers with a brief to engage new audiences.

New Museums Victoria chief executive Lynley Marshall on Tuesday unveiled a fresh approach for the 163-year-old institution, with an eye for the immersive, playful and exciting.

The program’s showpiece will be Museum Inside Out, a six-week event at Melbourne Museum opening on December 23 that will bring out seldom or never-seen objects – such as a 1920s Indian motorcycle, or a stuffed giant anteater – then tell their stories using actors, dancers, sound and light “experiences”. Instead of staring at a rock, visitors might experience a simulation of a meteorite crashing to Earth.

Experience developer Zoe Meagher, who has a background in performance art, said staff had held “exuberant co-creation sessions with young people” and had “long heart-to-heart conversations with the subject specialists”.

“What we’re making is an experience that’s playful and experimental, that uses new eyes and voices to share stories … in unusual settings that emphasise their elegance or heighten their mystery or just make you look twice.”

Launching Museums Victoria’s program for the next 12 months, which includes more than 40 exhibitions and events, Ms Marshall heralded a “new direction” for the organisation that takes in Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, the Immigration Museum, Imax Melbourne and the Royal Exhibition Building.

There will now be regular tours of museum storerooms housing everything from live insects to stuffed birds collected by Charles Darwin.

Other highlights at Melbourne Museum will include Vikings, the “largest collection of Viking artefacts ever displayed in Australia”, and Above and Beyond, an interactive exhibition where visitors can design and (virtually) fly an experimental aircraft.