Welcome to ACMI
This Visual Story is designed to help anyone who may find a step-by-step visual and written access guide useful when coming to ACMI.
It is in an easy-to-read format and uses pictures to show you how to access the ACMI building, what to expect upon arrival and what you might experience in the different spaces.
We value diversity and are committed to providing a safe and welcoming space for all visitors.
Before you visit
ACMI is Australia's national museum of screen culture and is located at Fed Square, in the centre of Melbourne.
You can travel to ACMI on public transport. Flinders Street Station and tram stops are close by.
If you plan to drive to ACMI there is a car park at Fed Square. The car park can be accessed from the eastern end of Flinders Street via the Russell Street extension, or via Batman Avenue.
Entry to ACMI is free. You can visit our centrepiece exhibition The Story of the Moving Image without a ticket.
Some other exhibitions may require you to buy a ticket. You can check what’s on and coming up at our museum on our What’s on page of the ACMI website.
ACMI is a cash free venue. Please pay by card or contactless with your phone or device.
At ACMI you don't have to wear a mask, but you can if you want to. Hand sanitiser is available throughout the museum.
If you have sensory sensitivities, you are welcome to bring noise reducing headphones, a stimming or fidget toy or device.
ACMI has two entrances – one on Flinders Street, and the other in Fed Square. Both entrances have large ACMI signs.
Arriving at the Flinders Street entrance
This is the Flinders Street entrance.
The Flinders Street entrance is easily accessible via a wheelchair ramp.
There are also stairs with a handrail.
There is a revolving glass door that may slow down as you enter it.
There is no need to push the door.
To the left of the revolving door there is an accessible door. Push the button on the post to enter. The doors will open outwards towards you, so keep back.
This entrance is closed outside museum opening times.
ACMI is open 10am – 5pm daily.
To access ACMI outside these hours for cinema sessions or some late-night events, you can enter via the Fed Square entrance in the main Fed Square Plaza.
Arriving at the Fed Square entrance
This is the Fed Square entrance.
From Flinders Street there are three ways to get to the Fed Square entrance.
You can head towards the front of Fed Square on Swanston Street.
Or you can use the stairs just past the ACMI Shop alongside Beer Deluxe.
Or you can use a lift located in the Fed Square Atrium just beside Beer Deluxe. The lift takes you to the main Fed Square Plaza.
You’ll see the large ACMI logo in the plaza.
Fed Square is paved in cobblestones with marked access paths. It may be difficult to navigate if you use a mobility aid.
The Fed Square entrance has sliding glass doors that will open automatically as you get close to them.
Inside the building
Entering through the Flinders Street entrance
If you arrive at the Flinders Street entrance, you will enter a bright open area with a high glass ceiling. This is the Ground Floor foyer.
There is a wooden staircase with handrails that leads up to the Fed Square entry level.
Lifts are also available. They are located past the Welcome Desk down and to the left.
If there is a ticketed exhibition showing, you can buy tickets at the Welcome Desk.
You can also buy tickets to cinema sessions here.
The cloakroom is at the Welcome Desk.
On this level you will see a colourful seating space called the Urban Lounge where you can sit and relax.
Sometimes there will be school groups sitting there. They may be listening to an ACMI team member welcoming them to the museum or relaxing after their visit.
Sometimes the Ground Floor foyer can be noisy with school students and other visitors.
There are charging points in the top row of the seats to charge your devices.
You will find the ACMI Shop on the ground floor. It’s full of things to buy which connect to screen culture, as well as uniquely Australian items.
The friendly ACMI Shop team can help you if you need any information or would like to look at an item.
ACMI’s Galleries are also on the Flinders Street Ground Floor level.
Entering through the Fed Square entrance
If you arrive via Fed Square you will enter a bright, open space. This is Level 1 foyer.
There are stairs to the right which lead to the cinemas.
Straight ahead is the Tickets & Information Desk. An ACMI team member can help you with information or sell you tickets to an exhibition or a film here.
Opposite the Tickets & Information Desk on Level 1 there is an artwork called CATARACT (concrete) by Daniel von Sturmer.
This artwork has 60 screens with changing images and sound playing on a continual loop. The audio level is moderate. You can walk past this work or stay and spend time watching it.
There is a comfortable seating area in the Level 1 foyer where you can sit and relax.
You may wish to explore the wall of curios curated by Australian costume designer Edie Kurzer.
You can see the Blackmagic Design Media Preservation Lab through the glass wall. You may see some ACMI staff working in the Lab.
Inside ACMI there are signs to help you find your way around.
You can ask an ACMI staff member or volunteer for help.
At ACMI, the Visitor Experience Guides wear black ACMI T-shirts.
Visitor Experience volunteers wear all black.
Security Guards wear black suits with white shirts.
All ACMI team members wear a lanyard with an ACMI photo ID card around their neck. They may be wearing a mask.
Getting around ACMI
Inside ACMI there are lifts (elevators) and stairs with handrails. Different lifts take you to different parts of ACMI.
Digital signs on the front of the lifts will tell you what level you are on.
It will also give you information about what is on each floor.
You can also ask an ACMI team member if you need help finding your way around.
What will you find at ACMI?
Labs and Studios
Gandel Digital Future Lab 1, Gandel Digital Future Lab 2 and the Swinburne Studio are located on Level 1.
These spaces host a changing schedule of events, workshops, talks and performances.
They may not be open when you visit ACMI. Ask an ACMI team member if you have any questions about these spaces or events scheduled in them.
Blackmagic Media Preservation Lab
The Blackmagic Media Preservation Lab is the workspace of the ACMI Collection team.
From the Level 1 foyer, they can often be seen undertaking digital preservation, digitisation and time-based media (TBM) conservation activities.
This space is not open to the public except by special arrangement.
In the Level 1 foyer there are screens with headphones where you can learn about this specialised and important work.
Our two cinemas are on Level 2.
You can use stairs near the Fed Square entrance to go up to the cinemas. There is also a lift available opposite the toilets on Level 1.
You can check our cinema film program on the What’s On page of the website and purchase tickets online or in person at ACMI.
Our four exhibition spaces, or galleries, are located on the Ground Floor. The entry points for all four galleries are on this level. Sometimes a gallery may be closed if we are getting ready for a new exhibition.
This is what the gallery entrance area looks like.
Gallery 1 is home to our FREE exhibition The Story of the Moving Image.
This exhibition invites you to journey through the past, present and future of the moving image through interactive experiences, digital innovation and captivating stories.
You can explore five distinct sections within the exhibition which frame the major moments in moving image history. These include the origins and future of cinema, production design and the creative process, Australian culture and stories, the rise of videogames, and how screens inform, influence and empower us.
These moments can be collected with the Lens, a free tool that collects your favourite objects, artworks and creations in the exhibition.
This is the arrival point for the gallery.
An ACMI Visitor Experience Guide will welcome you and invite you to take a Lens. They will show you how to use the Lens.
Inside The Story of the Moving Image you will find many artworks, objects and displays to explore.
You can try interactive experiences that let you animate shadows, craft optical toys, put together film scenes and create soundscapes in a custom Foley studio.
Some sections of the gallery have lower light levels to help you view the illuminated and projected exhibition content.
Other areas are brightly lit so you can see display cases and objects clearly.
Some displays have headsets you can use to listen to audio content, while others have their sound playing in the space.
Please note: the exhibition contains names, images and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed away.
Throughout The Story of the Moving Image you may see the No Touching sign on artworks and precious objects.
If you are unsure if you can interact with a display, you can ask an ACMI team member. They will be happy to help you.
In the first section of the exhibition, the Cuphead: Inspiration from the Inkwell zoetrope is on display in a small viewing room.
It is fun to look at, but it also has fast strobing/flashing lights. There is a warning sign outside the room.
If you experience photophobia or sensitivity to strobing or flickering lights and would like more information about this display, please speak to an ACMI team member.
One interactive experience you may wish to try is recording your own flip book. You can save it to your Lens. You can also purchase a printed copy of your flip book in the ACMI Shop.
In the Moving Worlds section of the gallery, you can watch a video explaining how storyboarding works. The storyboard artist is talking about the movie Shrek. This has fairly loud sound.
The Games Lab is in the middle of the gallery and is very popular with visitors. The games displayed are selected by our curators and change regularly. If it is busy when you visit you may have to wait to play a game. There are also old arcade games. These can be noisy.
This is the entrance to Moving Minds. It has lots of sound and bright images, and some content which may be a bit confronting. You can follow the path to the left if you don’t want to enter.
This is what Moving Minds looks like inside.
You can look at objects on display, view content on screens with audio and read information about the displays.
There are lots of bright images and some loud sound. This space may be overwhelming for some visitors.
This is the Memory Garden. It is very quiet and relaxing, and you can hold and view home movies in your hands by holding them under the pillars.
You can enter Memory Garden through Moving Minds, or from the other side if you choose not to enter Moving Minds.
This is the Constellation area where you can use your lens to explore what you have collected in the exhibition and discover connections to other content.
It has some very comfortable seats, but the sound from the gallery next door can be very loud.
After the Constellation, you will find Gallery 2. The passageway past Gallery 2 leads to the exit from the exhibition into the Ground Floor foyer. You will exit near the entrance to the ACMI Shop.
Gallery 2 is an exhibition space accessed within The Story of the Moving Image. Entry is free, check the ACMI website acmi.net.au for what’s on now.
Until April 2024, you can experience an artwork called Distributed Consciousness. It is displayed in a theatre-style dark room. The artwork is very colourful and has very loud sound and contains high-impact strobing effects.
If you do not want to visit Gallery 2, continue out of the exhibition.
Gallery 3 is a changing exhibition space. Entry is free, check the ACMI website for what’s on now.
Gallery 4 is a larger gallery found at Basement Level. The entrance is on the Ground Level.
You can enter Gallery 4 by using the stairs or the lift. Some exhibitions in Gallery 4 will require a ticket.
You can buy tickets online, at the Welcome Desk on the Ground Floor or the Tickets & Information Desk on Level 1.
A Visitor Experience Guide will let you know if you need a ticket to enter.
ACMI rules you need to know
We have some rules to help keep you and other visitors safe at the museum.
Some rules help protect special objects and artworks.
If you are unsure of any rules or requirements, please ask an ACMI team member to help you.
Around our building:
- Walking please – no running
- You must wear shoes.
- No smoking or vaping.
- You can eat in the seating areas on the Ground Floor and on Level 1. No eating or drinking in the galleries (water is allowed).
- Children under the age of 13 must be always accompanied by a parent or guardian over 18 years of age.
In the galleries
If the exhibition is ticketed, you will need to show your ticket to the Visitor Experience Guide at the gallery entrance to be scanned.
If your ticket is on your phone have it ready. You may need to brighten your screen.
When the Visitor Experience Guide scans your ticket, the scanner may make a noise.
There are many interactive experiences to try in our galleries, however, there are some artworks and exhibits that you cannot touch.
Look out for markings on the floor or barriers around some exhibits or this sign. If you are unsure, please ask an ACMI team member.
There are some artworks and exhibits which cannot be photographed or filmed.
This sign will let you know which objects can't be photographed. If you are unsure, please ask an ACMI team member.
You can take photos with your family or friends when you visit. Please don't take photos of other visitors without their permission.
If you are unsure about taking photos at ACMI, please ask an ACMI team member.
At the cinema
You will need to show your ticket to be scanned by the usher. If your ticket is on your phone have it ready. You may need to brighten your screen. When the usher scans your ticket, the scanner may make a noise.
Before the film begins, remember to turn off your phone, or switch to silent.
Other than popcorn, hot food is not allowed in our cinemas.
You must sit in a seat during the film. Please only speak quietly when the film is on.
Never record or film what is on screen as this may breach distribution rules.
If you are unsure about any of these requirements, please speak with the ACMI usher at the cinema.
In the event of an Evacuation or other Emergency
If a fire alarm is activated, you may hear a loud announcement or receive direct instructions to wait or to leave. You must follow the instructions of ACMI team members, Fed Square Security team members or Emergency Services – they have been trained in what to do.
ACMI amenities and venue information
ACMI has water fountains so you can fill your water bottle while you are visiting. You can find these near the toilet facilities on the Ground Floor and on Level 1.
You can leave your coat, bag or umbrella at the cloakroom located at the Welcome Desk on the Ground Floor.
The cloakroom is open during gallery hours, from 10am to 5pm.
For some exhibitions you may be asked to cloak backpacks, large bags and umbrellas before you enter the gallery.
A friendly Visitor Experience Guide will take your items and give you a tag. When you are ready to collect your belongings, give the tag to an ACMI team member at the Welcome Desk and they will bring your items.
At ACMI there are toilets, accessible toilets, gender-neutral toilets and baby change facilities on the Ground Floor and Level 1.
There are automatic hand dryers in ACMI’s toilets. These can be noisy.
Look for signs around the building or ask an ACMI team member for directions.
Mobile device charging
You can charge your mobile phone or other device at ACMI. Level 1 has power points in the seating area.
On the Ground Floor there are charging points at the top of the colourful Urban Lounge located next to the ACMI Shop. You will need to bring your own charging cable.
ACMI is wheelchair accessible and has a small number of wheelchairs available for loan at the Tickets & Information Desk on Ground Floor and Level 1.
You can contact us online ahead of time to request a wheelchair for use during your visit or ask on the day.
The Visitor Experience Guide will ask you to leave photo ID and supply a contact number.
Food and drink
If you're looking for places to eat and purchase drinks, a range of restaurant and cafe options are available in Fed Square.
Check out the selection on the Fed Square website.
If you have misplaced personal belongings at our museum, check with the Tickets & Information Desk on Level 1 or the Welcome Desk on the Ground Floor in case it has been found.
If you have left the museum and have left something behind, please contact us online. We log all items found and hold them for two weeks. After that time items are donated to charity.