Choose your own journey through innovative new exhibition at Newcastle Museum

17 Dec 2020

Visitors will be able to explore multiple truths in Newcastle Museum’s latest exhibition, 1X4, which turns the traditional museum experience on its head.

The innovative 1x4 exhibition was conceived by Newcastle Museum as a way of highlighting the role of curators and historians in shaping how we perceive the significance of things.

Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird said visitors would be presented with four diverse “stories” for each object, reflecting a range of different but valid perspectives that can be used to interpret the displays.

Ms Baird said the radical concept could change the way museums create exhibitions and had already attracted state-wide and international interest. Even the way the stories are presented is different, on your own phone or device instead of labels on the walls.

“By using their own phones, visitors can read or listen to each object’s stories plus listen to its accompanying song, in an accessible and COVID Safe way, so when you come, don’t forget to bring your mobile or device,” Ms Baird said.

1X4 breaks the power that museums have when they choose what to collect and how to interpret.

“An object as simple as a child’s dress can tell of the Baby Boom generation, the symbolism of the colour pink, an individual’s childhood or the science of the Nylon revolution.

“The exhibition begins as many conversations as it concludes, allowing visitors to enjoy deeper engagement and a more philosophical view on rare, beautiful and ordinary objects. We are hoping visitors leave the show and go home to explore the links, songs and stories more after the have visited in person.”

“While 1x4 is currently on exhibition at Newcastle Museum it will also travel to other local government-funded museums in NSW.

“The approach is considered so ground-breaking that local government funded museums in Canada have been in contact and are interested in creating their own version of the 1X4 concept.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the interest generated by the self-curated exhibition reflects the quality of exhibitions, collections and programming produced by the Museum.

“Newcastle Museum is on the cutting edge of contemporary museum practice, creating insightful and immersive ways to interpret and preserve our city’s fascinating history,” Cr Nelmes said.

“As a vibrant, award-winning cultural attraction, its collection and exhibitions also add to the rich diversity of experiences that help attract visitors to our city.”

Visitors will need to use a phone or device to experience the audio or written labels, links and songs for every object. 1x4 opens at the Museum tomorrow and will remain on display until May 31, with free entry. Visit the Newcastle Museum website for more information.

Newcastle Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm, and Mondays during NSW public and school holidays.