This September, Canberra will host the opening of two ACMI-made exhibitions: DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition, now showing at National Museum of Australia (NMA) and Game Masters: The Exhibition, opening at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) later in the month.
Part of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image’s (ACMI) touring program, these exhibitions return to Australia after record-breaking international tours. Alongside ACMI’s other touring exhibitions, these blockbusters contributed to more than 3.9 million visits in 40 cities across four continents.
ACMI’s 2012 homegrown exhibition Game Masters was the first international export. The interactive videogame show, part of that year’s Melbourne Winter Masterpiece program, showcased the work of leading local and international videogame designers. In an Australian first, visitors were able try their hand at over 100 game titles in the exhibition. Post its successful run of 102,739 visitors in Melbourne, Game Masters then went on to entertain more than 1.2 million visitors across Scotland, Sweden, Germany, the US, New Zealand as well as Sydney.
More recently, Victorians flocked to see ACMI’s 2014 Melbourne Winter Masterpiece DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition. Who can forget the 6m long, 5.5m tall sculpture of Melman, the much-loved giraffe from DreamWorks Animation’s 2005 hit film Madagascar, with his bottom jutting out onto Flinders Street, cheekily saluting passers-by. The exhibition welcomed 195,282 visitors to ACMI and was the first-ever international exhibition developed in collaboration with the DreamWorks Animation creative team. DreamWorks Animation’s international audience recently ticked over 2 million after extremely successful runs in Brazil’s Centro Cultural Banco do Basil’s Rio and Belo Horizonte locations.
In 2018, ACMI premiered its Melbourne Winter Masterpiece – the entirely original Wonderland. In Melbourne, 172,542 visitors journeyed down the rabbit hole to celebrate the screen legacy of Lewis Carroll’s timeless Alice in Wonderland stories. Wonderland has then gone on to Singapore where visits surpassed ACMI’s Fed Square audience selling 174,000 tickets and counting at the Art Science Museum. Its next international stop is New Zealand’s Te Papa Tongarewa where it will open later this year.
ACMI’s regional Australia program is thriving too. Mary and Max, based on the animation by Oscar-winner Adam Elliot, was the first exhibition to go on tour, opening at Geelong Art Gallery in 2010.
Del Kathryn Barton: The Nightingale and the Rose, a collaboration between two-time Archibald Prize winner Barton and acclaimed filmmaker Brendan Fletcher, is currently showing at Newcastle’s Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
A total of 3.95 million people have visited ACMI’s homegrown shows since the touring program began in 2010, with 3.48 million of those visiting locations outside of Melbourne.
ACMI has the largest homegrown international touring program of any museum in Australia. The program was developed by ACMI to boost the museum’s global brand, diversify revenue streams and create fertile partnerships with partner museums and galleries around the world. The revenue raised by ACMI’s touring program is invested back into the museum, fostering it’s continued growth and position as a cultural icon and asset for Australia.
ACMI Director & CEO Katrina Sedgwick is delighted with the success of the touring program and what it delivers for ACMI and for Australia.
“The success of these touring exhibitions at some of the most prestigious cultural institutions around the world demonstrates the enormous talent that we have here in Victoria. It cements our position as a leading creative institution and internationally recognised tourism destination. ACMI’s touring exhibitions boost the profile of Australia’s thriving and progressive creative industries, while increasing investment and partner opportunities."