The Story of the Moving Image - vintage cameras on tripods (credit: Adam Gibson)
The Story of the Moving Image - vintage cameras on tripods (credit: Adam Gibson)
Credit: Adam Gibson

ACMI presents

The Story of the Moving Image

Our centrepiece exhibition


Journey through the past, present and future of the moving image through interactive experiences, digital innovation and captivating stories.

From the first projections and optical illusions to the birth of film and beyond, moving images have the power to spark imagination, share stories and shape history. Discover how inventors, innovators and artists at the turn of the 20th century wielded light, split time and captured motion, heralding a technological revolution that continues today.

Featuring ancient shadow puppets, Victorian-era magic lanterns, original cameras, iconic costumes, movie sets, sketches, clips and contemporary art, The Story of the Moving Image traverses time, countries and cultures in a mesmerising exploration of an art form that changed the world and illuminated our collective humanity.

Five distinct sections frame the major moments in moving image history, including 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 stages come to life through interactive experiences that let you animate shadows, craft optical toys, experiment with time, assemble film scenes and create soundscapes in a custom Foley studio.

These moments can be collected with the Lens, a free tool that collects your favourite objects, artworks and creations in the exhibition. It also animates the Constellation, connecting what you collected to the cosmos of screen content outside ACMI.


Open daily

10am – 6pm

Mask requiredWheelchair access


FREE – book your tickets online in advance.

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How to get there

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COVIDSafe measures

Before you visit, read about the health measures we have put in place to keep our staff and visitors safe from COVID-19.

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Relaxed visit

We give visitors with ASD or sensory sensitivities a chance to explore our incredible new exhibition in an environment that suits them.

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Vintage Videogames Coming Soon

From February, Games Lab Presented by Big Ant Studios will be showcasing six playable vintage videogames including the first VFL/AFL game ever created, Aussie Rules Footy (1991), and International Cricket (1992), where players can bat, bowl and field to their pixelated heart’s content

Also featured are Flight of the Amazon Queen (1995), The Dame Was Loaded (1995), Shadowrun (1993) and Xena: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1999). Find and play them in The Story of the Moving Image.

Interactive Experiences at The Story of the Moving Image, ACMI: Games Lab. Image credit: Shannon McGrath

Exhibition highlights

Take the exhibition home

Collect your favourite objects in the exhibition with your Lens and explore your personal collection online anytime, anywhere.

What is the Lens?
A closeup of the ACMI Lens in action

Plan your visit

Read our COVIDSafe visitor guidelines, information on accessibility, amenities, transport, dining options and more.

Start planning

Stories & Ideas from the exhibition

Go even deeper

The Story of the Moving Image online experience

Discover how screen culture has shaped who we are, how we see ourselves and how the world sees us.

 Basically Black

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Looking for dining options?

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As well as great coffee and snacks, our new restaurant features a seasonally driven menu developed by acclaimed Melbourne chef, Karen Martini.



We offer special pricing and unique experiences for school groups.

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School kids raise their hands in the ACMI Gandel Lab

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