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Australian Museum treasures come to life in a captivating new light and sound show
Still photo of Treasures Illuminated in the Westpac Long Gallery.

SYDNEY.- One of the greatest collections of treasures in the nation’s history comes to life in an extraordinary new “light and sound” show to be unveiled at the Westpac Long Gallery in the Australian Museum on 26 November, 2018.

A world of spectacular storytelling and discovery awaits tourists and visitors in a new museum experience, Treasures Illuminated, a stunning audiovisual showcase of priceless objects selected from the AM’s collection of 21 million scientific specimens and cultural objects.

Twice daily at 11am and 2pm visitors will be ushered from the ground floor of the Westpac Long Gallery to the balconies above to watch the seven-minute production, which uses cutting-edge digital animation, laser projection and 3D mapping to bring the history and scale of our natural world to life in a cinematic-style experience.

Projections from the ceiling will fill the floor of the Westpac Long Gallery three levels below with vibrant visuals. Stories behind the museum’s acclaimed 200 Treasures exhibition unfold in a brilliant convergence of history, science and art that explores an extraordinary realm of collections and research.

Hear the thundering hooves as images of huge Irish elk that roamed the prehistoric grasslands of Asia and Europe appear out of the darkness. Watch thousands of tiny feathers morph into the famous cape presented to Captain Cook by a local chief on his fateful voyage to Hawaii in 1778-79. And gaze at the wonders of nature when swarms of magical Lamond butterflies that have coloured the sky dazzle and dance on the floor below.

Treasures Illuminated traverses five core themes inspired and derived from the Australian Museum’s 200 Treasures exhibition: Earth from Space, South Pacific Ocean, Prehistoric, Beauty of Nature, and Human Contribution.

Image quality and colour accuracy reach a new standard in this captivating presentation, bathing the floor of the Westpac Long Gallery - Australia’s first museum gallery - in giant images across a digital canvas 26 metres long and 6.6 metres wide.

The presentation, narrated by renowned ABC Radio presenter Tracey Holmes, features a selection of the 100 items in the Westpac Long Gallery, treasured exhibits which cover astounding specimens and fossils of extinct animals, artefacts from Indigenous Australia and the Pacific, plus objects from the nation’s colonial heritage.

Treasures featured include:

● Australia’s first bank note. Issued by the Bank of NSW (now Westpac) in 1817, this note, integral to the establishment of the Australian economy, represented stability, uniformity and trust.

● Krefft’s chair. Gerard Krefft, one of Australia’s first and greatest zoologists and palaeontologists, fell out with the Museum’s trustees and was dismissed as curator in 1874. He refused to leave and barricaded himself inside the Museum until he was forcibly evicted – still seated in the ornate leather chair.

● Captain Cook’s cape. An exquisite item of ceremonial regalia, made of thousands of feathers, given to Cook on his fateful voyage to Hawaii in 1778-79 by chief Kalani’opu’u.

● ‘Eric’ the opalised pliosaur. Eric, as he has been dubbed, an aquatic carnivorous reptile, swam in a vast inland sea around 110 million years ago. As the sea retreated, perfect conditions were created for the formation of opal, Australia’s unique national gemstone – opalising Eric’s bones.

● Elk herd. Huge and magnificent Irish elk, with antlers that grew to 3.5 metres wide, which once roamed the prehistoric grasslands of Asia and Europe.

● Lamond butterflies. The flying jewels that have brought colour and enchantment to our world and inspiration to countless artists, writers, designers and researchers.

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November 26, 2018

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