For Aaron Maestri, who has designed exhibitions around the world, there’s a certain strategy to keeping his audience engaged.
“I like to think of an exhibition in terms of a movie,” says Maestri, the exhibition designer of the Westpac Long Gallery at The Australian Museum.
“But it’s a movie you have to move through in three dimensional space. As you go through and reach each kind of key object, another object and view line opens up, keeping you interested and drawing you through.”
Almost a year since the Gallery’s launch, co-curator Fran Dorey says it’s been one of the most successful permanent exhibitions at the museum for some time, partly because the “space is so beautiful”. The concept was born in 2015 when The Australian Museum partnered with Westpac and the NSW government to undertake a $9 million restoration of the nation's first museum gallery and showcase its 200 most significant treasures.
The gallery opened in October last year as part of Westpac’s 200-year anniversary celebrations.
Maestri, who designed the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, which includes the first drawing of Mickey Mouse, says he worked closely with the curators to create an experience where “through objects we’re able to tell stories”.
In May, the gallery won the National Trust Heritage Award – Built Heritage, the top award in NSW for heritage conservation.