Why did the Australian Mediatheque close?
Since 2009, the Australian Mediatheque has provided an on-site access point for the ACMI and NFSA collection, and the collections of its content partners, but the ready availability of the moving image, developments in technology, and visitor expectations of a 21st century museum are evolving at a rapid pace.
ACMI is hard at work on a new access model for the ACMI collection. We are taking a leading position at the forefront of museum practice, evolving the manner in which we approach engagement with the collection and fulfilling our responsibilities as its custodians to ensure the collection is enjoyed by generations to come.
Importantly, ACMI has thousands of important analogue holdings at very real risk of being lost forever if not digitised before it is too late. Films recorded on 16mm are fast deteriorating and experts worldwide agree that magnetic (video) tape won’t last beyond 2025. VHS players are failing and are no longer being manufactured.
We are rapidly producing digital versions of important items in formats facing deterioration and technical obsolescence. In 2016-17 alone we digitised 1,314 digital assets and reviewed rights agreements to allow us to make digital versions accessible.
With over 150,000 items in our collection we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to close the Australian Mediatheque, devoting staff and equipment to this effort to ensure a dynamic and sustainable access model for the short and long term.
How can I access the ACMI collection?
We are rolling out new access points for the collection in step with new technologies, visitor behaviour and industry needs.
Some of the ways you will be able to access the ACMI collection in the near future:
In the building: we will bring our collection into other parts of the building via touch screens in the ACMI Cafe and Bar from Monday 25 September and, later, view-on-demand stations around the building.
Online: ACMI is making significant headway to ensure large parts of the collection available online via our website and channels such as YouTube, providing broader, easier access to digitised works on an international scale.
Researchers: professional researchers can still access the collection by inquiring with the collections team and assistance will be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Long term, ACMI is evolving its whole visitor experience. The important preservation and digitisation work done now will enable visitors to engage with the collection before, during and after their visit in unique and exciting ways.
What will be available at the viewing stations?
We will continue to update the content on the onsite viewing stations. In the short term, a curated selection of digital, rights cleared material will be available to access on touch-screens around the museum.
Initially content will be from the ACMI Collection, but we are working with our content partners on creating new access opportunities and securing the appropriate licences.
What if I want to access an item from the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) Collection?
ACMI enjoys a long and fruitful partnership with the NFSA and other content partners, which will continue to evolve to ensure the availability of the broadest range of viewing material is available to the public.
In the meantime, the NFSA will continue to offer access to its Collection in Melbourne. Materials will be available, by prior appointment, at their office located in Southbank. Please contact the NFSA Collection Reference team by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on their toll free number 1800 067 274. You can also visit nfsa.gov.au and request access to materials via their website.