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 weekdays | 10am – 5pm weekends


Gallery 1, Ground Floor
ACMI, Fed Square

Plan your visit


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

Featured exhibits

A still image from the videogame Heavenly Bodies. It depicts a cosmonaut in an orange space suit. The cosmonaut is in a small space shuttle that is passing by an asteroid.

Six new playable games

This showcase demonstrates the range of ways that independent game developers approach light and lighting in their work. From the quaint, risograph-inspired colour palette of Nuts or the nostalgic glow of The Gardens Between to the warm, analogue bloom of 70s-inspired space puzzle game Heavenly Bodies, light primes us emotionally for how to encounter these game worlds.

Placing commercial hits like the shadowplay-inspired indie classic Limbo and Seumas McNally Grand Prize-winning Umurangi Generation alongside self-published artistic games like Ian Maclarty’s perspective-bending The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited, this showcase explores the way that contemporary game developers approach light as both a subject and material of their work.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder costumes

Super Hero fans of all ages can get up close and personal with suits, garments and instruments worn and wielded by Thor, Mighty Thor, Valkyrie, Gorr and Zeus – featured in the God of Thunder’s latest cosmic journey of heroism and self-discovery.

Witness the might of Mjölnir and Stormbreaker, the voltage of Zeus’ lightning bolt, Valkyrie’s kingly wares, Gorr’s ghoulish threads, and Thor’s beautiful raw silk tunic embellished with Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung artist Otis Carey’s print.

Costume designer Mayes Rubeo worked in collaboration with a stellar creative team – many of whom worked together on other Marvel Cinematic Universe projects and even Star Wars – including the director of photography, production and set designers and hair and makeup to design these iconic looks.

More 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
ACMI Shop items - red and blue colour scheme


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.

Explore the online shop
Crumbed fish bites at Hero at ACMI, Fed Square Melbourne

Food & Drink

As well as great coffee and snacks, our restaurant, cafe an bar in the heart of Fed Square features a seasonally driven menu developed by acclaimed Melbourne chef Karen Martini.

Book a table | See what's on the menu

A woman and her daughter look at videos projected on their hands in the Memory Garden at ACMI - Eugene Hyland

Support your museum of screen culture

Help us preserve and safeguard the ACMI collection for future generations. Make a tax-deductible donation of $2 or more to support our 2022 Annual Appeal.

Donate today
A couple checks out consumes from The Last Emperor in The Story of the Moving Image (image credit: Phoebe Powell)

Not an ACMI Member yet?

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

A school group looks through a multicoloured window at ACMI's centrepiece exhibition

Schools & Teachers

We offer special pricing and unique experiences for school groups.

Learn more
Sweet-Country_Nastassia Gorey Furber Hamilton Morris.jpg

Moving image stories

Explore articles, interviews, recorded talks and more.

Stories & ideas

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

We welcome visitors with all kinds of access needs

Major Philanthropic Partners

Philanthropic Partner

Games Partner

Supporting Partners

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