Museum Combining Art and Science to Open in Australia
By Chloe Morrissey
University of Melbourne’s Science Gallery Melbourne (SGM) announced on April 16 that the new 3,800 square-meter permanent home of the science- and arts-focused museum is set to open to the public on June 15.
Part of the university’s Melbourne Connect building on the site of the former Royal Women’s Hospital, the gallery is designed by William Smart of Smart Design studio. Inspired by nature, the space showcases a dramatic ceiling that appears to float over metallic floors. SGM offers spaces for exhibition, events, retail, laboratory, along with a theater. Also included is a STEM Centre of Excellence, which provides teaching opportunities for Victoria’s secondary students in partnership with the university and the Victorian government.
Exhibitions and events will focus on immersive and experimental productions that blend scientific developments together with artistic presentations. The inaugural exhibition “MENTAL: Head Inside,” curated by young adults, features 25 new installations by Australian and international artists examining the difficulties faced by those living with mental health issues. Further details have yet to be released.
SGM’s entrance includes 226 phone-sized touch screens lining the building’s facade, which will enable visitors to further engage with the museum’s programs. To coincide with the institution’s launch, “Digital Birthing Tree,” showcasing the university’s archival and material collections as well as reimagined narratives of the former hospital site and stories of colonization will be displayed across the screens.
Speaking of the opening, director of Museums and Collections Rose Hiscock said in a press release that SGM offers a “contemporary, playful and welcoming space for young people to explore issues, ideas and the great challenges of our time. As a new home for STEM engagement, we aim to show that anything is possible when science and art come together.”
SGM is the only Australian institution in the Science Gallery Network that connects global universities, aimed at increasing engagement and interest in STEM subjects among youths and young adults. From 2017–19, the gallery organized several programs and pop-up exhibitions around the city, including at an underground carpark, public gardens, and at the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne.
Chloe Morrissey is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.
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