The Surfing Museum and the Immersive Experience

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The Surfing Museum and the Immersive Experience

My topic was based on the study notes from Week 9. I decided to look at the place of digital media in Australia’s only National Surfing Museum, located in my small coastal town of Torquay in Victoria.

In planning my video assignment I looked at the study questions.

When thinking about what ‘engagement’ in a museum content meant to me I found myself reflecting on the enjoyment of looking, reading, interacting and taking something home (usually from the gift shop!) Then the notions of visitors, digital media, social media and obstacles to future development struck me as good questions to follow up.

Step 1: Reconnaissance (or, check to see if there is any surf)

I visited the Australian National Surfing Museum which is in Beach Road, Torquay. It is pretty much in the heart of the surfing shops precinct of this small town and is often referred to as ‘Surfworld’ by locals. There I introduced myself to the volunteer staff at the Tourist Information Centre which sells the tickets to the museum. Staff suggested I meet Craig Baird who is the Curator of the museum.

Step 2: Do a tour and Practice Filming (or, check the water temperature)

I went on a tour of the museum. The current theme is ‘Wipe Out’. I read the information about various exhibits, watched the Aloha movie in the small theatre and observed people engaging with the displays. I practiced filming and sat down in each room and made notes in my notebook. While at the museum I brainstormed ideas for how the video would look and took notes during an informal conversation with Craig who came to see how I was going on my self-guided tour of the loop in the museum. I arranged to come back to film an interview with Craig.

Step 3: Prepare (or, wax the board)

I came home and logged on the the Culture Victoria website to read about the museum. Craig had suggested some YouTube clips to watch as well. I even found an article written about Craig on a Seek website which detailed him talking about his career as a board maker and then curator. I did some academic reading of Graham Black and Ross Parry to help me formulate my questions. I borrowed Parry’s book from the Deakin Library and found other books and articles online.

From there I created my questions which I hoped would get Craig talking about the role of digital media in the surfing museum.

  1. Talk to me about visitors.
  2. What’s happening at the moment with the ‘Wipe Out’ exhibition?
  3. Talk about the digital media you have here. The green sheet photos, for example, which is something people get to ‘take home’.
  4. How are you using social media?
  5. What obstacles are you facing here?

I practiced asking my questions in the privacy of my own home and practiced using my iPhone and $10 tripod from Officeworks.

Step 4: Interview (or, Aloha)

I created my permission form and headed off to interview Craig. Fortunately he loves talking and was comfortable in front of the camera. I filmed Craig using my iPhone and a tall tripod which was in the archive room because it was a much better tripod than my little one. Craig sat close to the phone and the sound was clear.

I completed some more filming inside the museum and went home to work on my Mac using iMovie. I found ‘calm and relaxing’ music on YouTube under Creative Commons. The music was called ‘Juicy’. I decided not to speak on the video myself because I felt my voice was not strong enough. I interspersed shots of my quotes as text, Craig and footage from the museum. Here is my video:

Scholarly References:

Black, G 2012, Transforming Museums in the Twenty-First Century, Milton Park, Abington and New York, pp 1-12

Parry, R  2010, Museums In A Digital Age, Routledge, London and New York, pp 304 – 333


Juicy -CCo Creative Commons



Filming by Trish Merrett

Categories: #ALC708 museums digital media


2017 Good Reads

Curled Up With A Good Book

This year I have come across two Australian authors, Jane Harper and Jock Serong. I attended the Queenscliff Literary Festival and heard both Jane and Jock speak on a small panel in front of a group of keen readers and listeners. These two authors provide a version of crime fiction which is distinctly Australian and intriguing.

Jane is an Australian  journalist who has lived and worked in the U.K. Her first novel, The Dry, was well received and won the Victorian Premier’s Award for an unpublished manuscript in 2015. Jane quickly went on and wrote her second novel, Force of Nature this year. Both novels capture Australia as it is right now. The Dry is set in a country town. It features farms and the associated houses and paddocks, a pub, a primary school, a creek and a group of traumatised and grieving people. The next book is set in Gippsland, in the bush, where a group of corporate workers from Melbourne have gathered for an intensive group experience.

Jock  lives in Port Fairy. He has written three very different and disparate novels. I started with the first, Quota which won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel in 2015. Then I progressed to The Rules of Backyard Cricket and recently completed On The Java Ridge. Suffice to say, I was very impressed. Jock writes about people and places that seem familiar. He views everyone and everything with a sharp focus and the thorough nature of his research and knowledge is top quality.

If you feel like reading some local stories, these are for you. They will make great summer reads or can be downloaded so that you can listen as you travel during the holidays.