Sydney, Friday 21 April 2023: The Australian Museum’s (AM) blockbuster Sharks exhibition is embarking on a global tour with its first four stops at museums in the United States after it closes in Sydney on Tuesday 25 April 2023. The homegrown exhibition, built by the AM’s team of experts in collaboration with shark scientists, has attracted approximately 160,000 visitors since opening at the AM in September 2022. Sharks is the third AM exhibition to tour the US, joining popular AM exhibitions Tyrannosaurs - Meet the Family and Spiders – From Fear to Fascination.
Sharks invites visitors to explore the diversity of these ancient fishes through 10 life-sized scientifically accurate models, more than 20 significant cultural objects and state-of-the-art projections and interactive video content. Focussing on shark conservation and the importance of sharks in Pacific cultures, the exhibition features the approximately 200 species of sharks that occur in the waters around Australia.
North American audiences will be the next to experience this world class exhibition, with Sharks due to make its US debut internationally at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida, in October 2023, before travelling to other venues in the US including The Witte Museum (San Antonio, Texas), Mulva Cultural Center (De Pere, Wisconsin) and Grand Rapids Public Museum (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy visited the Sharks exhibition in March 2023 with AM Director and CEO Kim McKay AO and President of the AM Trust Brian Hartzer. Ambassador Kennedy said she was delighted to experience the exhibition in Sydney before it heads on its tour across venues in North America.
“It was a pleasure to see the Australian Museum’s Sharks exhibition before it closes in Sydney and commences its international tour in America. I am so happy that audiences in the US will have the opportunity to see it when it heads overseas later this year,” Ambassador Kennedy said.
Minister for the Arts and Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said it was fantastic to see this homegrown exhibition receive interest from venues across the US, offering a chance to show off Sydney and Australia’s cultural vibrancy and exhibition expertise.
“Wait until they see these Australian sharks in Texas. They will be a sensation! This is a chance for the world to learn about our country’s natural beauty and culture,” Minister Graham said.
“In Sydney, eight percent of the visitors to this exhibition were from the regions and nearly ten percent from interstate. Congratulations to the scientists and curators who have put together this incredible cultural export from our state,” Minister Graham said.
Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO said the AM touring exhibitions are popular because not only do they surprise visitors with the latest discoveries, scientific facts, specimens and rich content, but they also incorporate innovative multimedia experiences which engage families, children and adults alike.
“The Sharks exhibition draws visitors in through the sheer size and scale of the specimens and models, evoking awe and wonder. Sharks can now be enjoyed by North America audiences which will strengthen the AM’s international ties and reputation,” McKay said.
Backed by world-renowned collections, scientists, curators and conservation experts, along with its award-winning design expertise, the AM touring exhibitions provide an opportunity for international visitors to learn from the AM’s distinguished team of professionals about science, discoveries and culture from around the world.
The AM is partnering with touring exhibition agency Evergreen Exhibitions to take the Sharks exhibition to a global audience. This adds to the AM’s portfolio of international touring exhibitions with Evergreen Exhibitions, who are also touring Tyrannosaurs - Meet the Family and Spiders – From Fear to Fascination. To date, more than one million visitors internationally have experienced an AM exhibition overseas*.
Evergreen Exhibitions President Mark Greenberg said the team is excited to work with the AM to tour the Sharks exhibition, along with popular AM exhibitions Tyrannosaurs and Spiders.
“We are so glad to be working with the Australian Museum and to represent an exhibition like Sharks that has tremendous global appeal. We anticipate that many more museum venues will be secured soon once the exhibition is seen by US-based museums and expect the exhibition could tour for the next five to seven years,” Greenberg said.
Sharks is proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Blockbuster Funding initiative. The NSW Department of Primary Industries is the Exhibition Partner and Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Minderoo Foundation, and Macquarie University are the Supporting Partners.
* Tyrannosaurs began touring internationally in September 2014 and Spiders started its international tour in 2018.
About the Australian Museum
The Australian Museum (AM) was founded in 1827 and is the nation’s first museum. It is internationally recognised as a natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. The AM’s mission is to ignite wonder, inspire debate and drive change. The AM’s vision is to be a leading voice for the richness of life, the Earth and culture in Australia and the Pacific. The AM commits to transforming the conversation around climate change, the environment and wildlife conservation; to being a strong advocate for First Nations cultures; and to continuing to develop world-leading science, collections, exhibitions and education programs. With 22 million objects and specimens and the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM is not only a dynamic source of reliable scientific information on some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges facing our region, but also an important site of cultural exchange and learning.
Claire Vince, Media and Communications Adviser
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