Torres Strait Islander gallery
This year, the Torres Strait Islander gallery was refurbished and a new exhibition, Lag, Meta, Aus: Home in the Torres Strait, opened on 20 June. Lag, Meta, Aus reveals the history and vitality of Australia’s most northerly region, the Torres Strait. The title contains the word ‘home’ in the region’s three Indigenous languages. For thousands of years, Torres Strait Islanders have lived and prospered in their homeland. Even though 80 per cent of Islanders now live in mainland Australia, they still associate the Torres Strait with home. This exhibition features artworks, objects and stories that reflect the region’s history and culture from the mythological past to the present.
The Museum redeveloped its retail shop in June 2014 to enhance the visitor experience, and improve functionality and service delivery. The redevelopment incorporated a new layout, display furnishings and a service counter with more service points. The Museum also introduced a new point-of-sale system.
On 26 June 2014 the Museum closed the doors of Kspace, an interactive 3-D experience that had been one of the Museum’s most popular activities for children. During 2013–14 the Museum continued work on a replacement interactive experience for children and families. In October 2013, the Museum entered into a contract with Spinifex Group as the lead contractor for the project. This step formally began the design and development stage of the project.
The functional, technical and hardware specifications for the interactive experience, including scripts and storyboards for each of the historical scenes that will feature in Kspace, were completed this year. These specifications serve as the blueprint for building the Kspace software and hardware environment. The concept design for the physical space – providing an exciting and engaging environment for children, and an improved operational space for staff – has progressed through to detailed designs in preparation for construction. Content development for each of the interactive historical scenes has continued, including liaison with Indigenous communities regarding the representation of Indigenous content, images and stories in some of these scenes.
The Museum has continued to engage with audiences for feedback and input in relation to the Kspace concept and an early prototype of the first scene situated in the 1850s Victorian goldfields has been developed.
Technology in the Museum
The Museum strives to develop contemporary technology solutions to enhance the experience for visitors. Technology plays a key role in its public programs and events, with the extensive use of the video wall in the Main Hall, a ‘green screen’ and live multi-shot video production to enhance events and family programs. In February the Museum launched an inflatable outdoor cinema screen, which provides the capability to deliver outdoor cinema events.
In 2013–14, the Museum installed a range of free mobile device charging stations throughout the Museum. Staff are also using mobile devices to capture consent for photography, and to obtain visitor feedback relating to programs and events. The Museum plans to expand the use of mobile technology in 2014–15, through the development of mobile device-based tours and interpretive content.
A custom-designed audio system was developed for the Main Hall and the Museum Cafe, which will improve the audio quality at the Museum’s events, concerts and venue hire functions. The Museum upgraded its multimedia production systems to deliver high-definition content, and has introduced wireless and robotic cameras in order to meet the ongoing demand for high-quality digital content services. Audiovisual systems available as part of venue hire have been upgraded, providing automation and improved sound quality.