SHAK­ING UP THE MU­SEUM

Herald Sun - - ARTS & ENTERTAINM­ENT - SI­MON PLANT

NICK Gray loves hang­ing out in mu­se­ums and al­ways goes in hop­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence will be eye open­ing and ex­cit­ing. That rarely hap­pens. “Art mu­se­ums and gal­leries are usu­ally very bor­ing,” Gray says. Which is why this former US techie de­cided to es­tab­lish Mu­seum Hack, a rene­gade mu­seum tour com­pany based in New York.

On th­ese tours, Gray’s team of ac­tors and ed­u­ca­tors en­cour­age self­ies, sto­ry­telling and spir­ited con­ver­sa­tion, creating the kind of ex­cit­ing vibe movie­go­ers get watch­ing Ben Stiller in Night at the Mu­seum. Tomorrow, at Melbourne Mu­seum’s Cre­ative State Sum­mit, Gray him­self will give a key­note speech de­scrib­ing how mu­se­ums can “re-imag­ine” the way they en­gage visi­tors.

Can we call your or­gan­i­sa­tion a “dis­rupter”?

We pre­fer the term “rene­gade”. At Mu­seum Hack we aren’t try­ing to dis­rupt the mu­seum in­dus­try or spe­cific spa­ces. Just bring that rene­gade spirit to in­sti­tu­tions that want to reach more peo­ple and of­fer them a new kind of ex­pe­ri­ence.

How do your “rene­gade” tours un­fold?

Our tours start and fin­ish with a team cheer. And then we race off into the gal­leries. Through­out the tour, our rene­gade guides share sto­ries about the art, artists and ob­jects they are pas­sion­ate about; sto­ries you would never hear from the mu­seum it­self.

Are the mu­se­ums happy about this?

We’ve had a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the mu­se­ums we tour. They’re ex­cited about the new visi­tors we are bring­ing to their spa­ces.

NICK GRAY ON WHY “ART MU­SE­UMS AND GAL­LERIES ARE USU­ALLY VERY BOR­ING”, TOMORROW, MELBOURNE MU­SEUM, 3.35PM. cre­atives­tatete­sum­mit.com

Ben Stiller in a scene from

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