Areas of expertise
Bridging the Gap between Physical and Virtual Exhibitions
Much like many cultural organizations, a cornerstone of the Australian Museum's mission is crafting captivating public exhibitions. These exhibitions house a wealth of high-quality, engaging content. However, simply embedding it as an afterthought within an existing website often falls short of its potential.
This led us to create a “Digital Publication” designed to complement exhibitions. This innovative platform not only beautifully showcases content but also seamlessly extends the visitor's journey from the exhibit's physical space to its virtual counterpart.
A blockbuster digital experience for a blockbuster exhibition
It all started with one of the Australian Museum's major exhibitions Sharks, which ran from the end of 2022 until mid 2023. As with other blockbuster exhibitions, there was a wealth of high quality content available, together with a healthy marketing budget to help promote it. This was the catalyst to produce a digital publication specifically for the Sharks exhibition.
The design's focal point? Crafting an initial “wow” factor by spotlighting captivating visuals on the landing page. Each section serves as a gateway to deeper insights, offering visitors a tantalizing glimpse into the rich content awaiting exploration.
Within the publication's digital realm, simplicity is key. A bespoke component library orchestrates diverse layouts. As visitors move from the landing page to more detailed segments, the experience mirrors strolling through an actual exhibition. The fluid typography scale ensures the publication shines on screens of all sizes.
Evolving the Experience
With the success of both the actual Sharks exhibition and the companion digital publication, attention turned to the long-awaited re-opening of the Minerals Gallery at the Australian Museum. After laying locked away for several years during the renovation of the space, it was time to show off all of the amazing specimens from one the largest collections in Australia.
Taking lessons learnt from the original Sharks publication, refinements were made to a new version specifically created for the Minerals Gallery. In addition, new components were added including a Filtered Fact Sheet List, allowing more relevant connections to be made between the publication and the rest of the Australia Museum website.
Transforming the Publication into a Dynamic Platform
With two major exhibitions and two iterations of the digital publication under our belts, it was time to make the system scalable. A new version was created inside the Australian Museum website CMS, but this time all content and features were made editable and using only generic references.
With this new system content editors can create multiple digital publications, each one with a unique style while still being part of the wider Australian Museum brand and belonging to a collection. So far there has only been the addition of a third publication — for the touring installation Birds of Australia STORYBOX — but watch this space for more to come!