Australian Museum: Wansolmoana (One Salt Ocean)

3D Animation, Experience, Interactive

The Australian Museum’s permanent Wansolmoana (One Salt Ocean) gallery has hundreds objects and artefacts on display from their world-leading Pasifika collection of over 60,000 objects. We developed a multi-user interactive touchscreen experience for the new gallery space that invites visitors to go further into the Museum’s vast collection and learn more about the sea of islands that make up the Pacific.

We designed the experience as an interactive map for visitors to explore up to 48 Pacific locations from Aotearoa (New Zealand) to West Papua. There are approximately 600 sets of item images and over 2000 individual images of the Museum’s collection items within the interactive, in addition to the display of 300 physical items together with newly commissioned objects by prominent Pacific Island artists and knowledge holders.

When a user engages with the touchscreen, the screen splits in two, allowing two users to have their own experience at one time. Individual place name cards can be scrolled through to see their respective geographical locations across the Pacific and in relation to Australia. When a location is selected, the map zooms in to display the area in more detail with click-throughs leading to text information including details of the area’s culture and history and it’s distance from Sydney (where the user currently is), and a digital catalogue of images and text descriptions of items from the Museum’s collection – a select few items within the catalogue can also be found in the surrounding gallery.

Wansolmoana is curated by the Australian Museum’s Pacific team, led by Exhibition Lead Curator and Manager, Pasifika Collections & Engagement, Melissa Malu, a proud Fijian and Tongan woman, along with Pasifika staff, cultural knowledge holders, community members and contributions from a Pacific Island Curatorium and curatorial advisory group.

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Image credit Mel Koutchavalis via Australian Museum.