How I helped design, and launch, Australia’s leading future focused museum

  • Creative and digital project management
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Budget and risk management
  • User testing and installation

Timing: Jan 2017 – May 2018

Image of a room with a tunnel displaying magenta and black stripes, an artwork by Sam Leach is just visible on the right hand wall of the Gallery
Birds and Bees exhibit exploring the research of Professor Srini Srinivasan and the art of Sam Leach

The Challenge

I joined the MOD. team in early 2017 at the transition from strategy to execution. My task was to lead the team delivering exhibitions and programming, including our launch exhibition, MOD.IFY. The MOD. team, including myself,  had no prior experience delivering exhibitions, museum or gallery experiences. We were also operating as a startup within the University of South Australia and were trying negotiate a high level of ambiguity – we didn’t have a building, defined processes, policies or procedures in place.

My role

Starting with this blank slate I developed a range of tools, templates and processes, based on Human Centered Design and Design Thinking Principles, to help the MOD. team achieve their audacious goal of launching both a different type of museum and Australia’s leading future-focused museum. I developed a design process to guide delivery and then led project management of our first two exhibitions including:

  • Concept development and requirements
  • Contracting and supplier management
  • Budget, risk and insurance management
  • Delivery, user testing and install
  • Team mentoring and capacity building
  • Wayfinding and exhibition signage

I also introduced collaborative design processes to empower young adults to contribute to the design of MOD.

Projects were diverse and included an augmented reality art exhibition, immersive science/ art installations exploring the neuroscience of pain, biomimicry and aeriel robotics,  interactive digital storytelling around Aboriginal science and the creation of a teenage robot called ‘Josh’.

Impact and value

I left MOD. a month after launch to move to the United Kingdom. At the time of my leaving MOD. had received significant positive feedback from both the media and visitors with 97% rating the experience highly and saying they would recommend to others. Much of this feedback identifies MOD. as a new model for a museum and as a space that excites and inspires the visitors to come to it. I am so proud of the contribution I was able to make, with the MOD. team, to the Adelaide cultural landscape.

A selection of media articles is included below:

UniSA’s Museum of Discovery — or MOD — to open next week, aims to encourage young people into science careers

Discovering the power of pain

Building something beyond human

Museum or not? The changing face of curated science, tech, art and culture 

Looking down onto gallery where 5 baby cribs can be seen and a digital projection with lots of people looking at them.
Gould Gallery featuring Transfigurations (Agi Haines) and Double Agent (Simon Biggs)
Image of room lit with purple light, tow people sit of chairs lit by light columns, a projection of someone's drawing features on the left hand wall
The Arcade Gallery and Feeling Human exhibit exploring neuroscience of pain
View down to a cafe and foyer area featuring MOD. logo and signage featuring a quote by David Unaipon - 'Thus in wonder I am lost'
Looking down on MOD. foyer and cafe and wayfinding exhibition signage