- Museums Victoria
Gut Feelings is an immersive new exhibition at Melbourne Museum that invites visitors on a journey through their guts to meet the trillions of microbes who call it home.
Visitors walk through a 9-metre gut tunnel (the same length as your active gut) before being greeted by undulating pale pink walls, suspended sculptural forms, and an uber-tactile villi wall which collectively illustrate the inner workings of the digestive system.
The exhibition culminates with an immersive experience in which visitors are presented with a year’s worth of good-for-your-guts food, reminding them to love your guts.
Gut Feelings has been designed to convey complicated scientific research in a simple digestible way, ensuring there are clear takeaways from each part of the exhibition.
A clean, minimal aesthetic makes the scientific content feel accessible yet factual, and draws attention to the organically shaped showcases that reveal objects, immersive video content and interactive games.
With a focus on engaging a diverse audience, visitors of all ages are encouraged to read, look, touch and play with both traditional and digital interactive elements and discover unique insights about their gut health.
Since its opening, Gut Feelings continues to be a very popular exhibition at Melbourne Museum. A recent evaluation found that 41% of first-time visitors to the Melbourne Museum visited Gut Feelings.
Through the exhibition\’s ‘state of our microbes’ project, visitors contribute saliva samples to reveal the diversity of gut microbes across the state. The data is represented on a map of Victoria, allowing visitors to watch patterns emerge in real time as test results come in. This is a world first project bringing community and research together to engage, inspire positive change, and contribute to real science.
Gut Feelings has attracted strong media interest both locally and internationally, positioning Melbourne Museum at the forefront of community-led research into gut health.
The exhibition is also a potent case-study for engaging audiences through ‘shareable’ moments. Indeed, hundreds of visitors continue to snap selfies at the ‘Love Your Guts’ neon sign, sharing both their exhibition experience and a message of good gut health to thousands online.
Gut Feelings has been developed by an in-house team of curators, designers, carpenters and technicians. This cross-disciplinary approach has resulted in a unique collaboration that tested the boundaries of exhibition design and challenged outmoded methods of museological content delivery, particularly for health content.
An example of this was the ‘Gut-Brain Network’ wall. Here, curated objects are housed seamlessly in bespoke displays and overlaid with a metro-map inspired infographic, showing the complex connections between our mind and gut in a visually compelling way.
• Visitors use their handprint to activate animated microbes that travel in peristaltic waves, sweeping visitors along the 9 metres of tunnel, the same length as your gut.
• Three ‘magic mirrors’ that use body mapping technology to show visitors the scale of microbes in their body.
• An interactive touch-screen game that encourages visitors to feed their gut and look after their good microbes.
• A room showing an entire years’ worth of good-for-your-guts food displayed across the walls.
• A microbe-counter that multiple visitors can touch to calculate the number of microbes they carry.