When was the last time you went to the Australian Museum? If you associate it with school trips, retire that idea. Jurassic Lounge is an evening of music and drinks that started in 2011.
“It’s a chance to see the museum in a completely different light,” says program director Matt Ravier. “The entire museum is open and we program different artists in every room.” It is held several times a year and often includes a silent disco, dance lessons, exhibitions, interactive theatre, DJs and even speed dating.
One of Ravier's favourite activities from a past event was I Heart Jazz. Visitors were asked to lie down with electrodes on their bodies. Then electrocardiograms of their heartbeats were projected onto screens behind them and the sounds of their heartbeats provided a bassline for a live jazz band to improvise around. “It was about science, audience participation, art and music,” says Ravier. “It really excites us when we combine those things.”
Jurassic Lounge isn’t the only evening event for adults at the Australian Museum. On May 18 (International Museums Day), it will host a listening party for the album Music for Museum by French band Air. Only 1000 copies were released on vinyl. “We’re going to play it from beginning to end on a high-fidelity sound system in Australia’s oldest museum gallery,” says Ravier. “You can see 200 Treasures From the Australian Museum exhibition while you listen.”
Also in May is an event that always sells out: Murder in the Museum. The museum staff works with writers and actors to create a murder-mystery party. Guests team up with a stranger to solve a crime committed inside the museum. They interrogate suspects, search for clues and look for weapons.
Ravier says it’s more important now than ever to interact with your local museum. “Museums play a hugely important role in the time we live in,” he says. “We’re in an era when facts and truth seem to be up for debate. In museums, the truths that we share are hard won and thoroughly researched. They are worthy of the trust that visitors put in institutions.”