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

12–5pm Mon–Fri | 10am – 5pm Sat & Sun


ACMI, Fed Square

How to get there


We offer a Relaxed Visit and Audio Described Tour for visitors to The Story of the Moving Image with special access needs.

Read about accessibility at ACMI

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.

Learn more

Not an ACMI Member yet?

Experience ACMI in the very best way. Get a range of discounts and invitations to exclusive previews.

See Membership options

Recently added

Vintage videogames

Games Lab presented by Big Ant Studios are 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

We welcome visitors with all kinds of access needs


We offer special pricing and unique experiences for school groups.

Learn more
School kids raise their hands in the ACMI Gandel Lab

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

You might also like

Drop into the ACMI Shop

Browse a curated range of screen culture publications, curiosities and branded merchandise. Every purchase supports your museum of screen culture.

Located on the Ground Floor at ACMI, Fed Square, Flinders Street.

Can't make it to ACMI? Shop online
A woman browses items in the ACMI Shop. She is wearing a blue top and smiling. Photograph by Phoebe Powell

Looking for dining options?

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

Book a table

See opening hours and more
Crumbed fish bites at Hero at ACMI, Fed Square Melbourne

Major Philanthropic Partners

Philanthropic Partner

Games Partner

Supporting Partners

Be the first to know

Subscribe for news, events, articles, offers and more.


Support your museum of screen culture