Music in Museums

This session explores the process of using music as a means of engaging visitors with museum themes, events and collections. In part one, museum professional Patrick Watt will address the matters of intellectual property, APRA, ways of engaging/commissioning and contracting musical composition. He will be followed by a one-hour workshop with museum music guru Michael Mills of Heaps Good Productions. Michael has composed music for many museums including the South Australian Museum, the Maritime Museum Port Adelaide, and many national cultural institutions. The subject matter of his music has ranged from Mary Anning to infectious diseases. The final ten minutes will be dedicated to a question-and-answer forum for all participants.

President's welcome: Jo Clyne

Using music in museums: Patrick Watt

Making music in museums: Michael Mills

Q&A: Michael Van Tiel


Patrick Watt (VIC) has curated and produced many museum exhibitions which have used music to set a scene, create a vibe or tell a story. He has commissioned original music for Museum Victoria, Melbourne Commonwealth Games and incorporated major Australian musical works into cultural exhibitions at the Burke Museum and Yarra Ranges Regional Museum. Patrick currently works as a freelance facilitator and learning consultant.

Michael Mills (SA) is the Creative Director of Heaps Good Productions and the Vice Chancellor of Dinosaur University. He has written and performed museum theatre for cultural institutions such as the South Australian Maritime Museum, the South Australian Art Gallery and the Adelaide Botanical Gardens. A typical day in the office for Michael could include impersonating Henri Matisse, performing as his alter-ego Professor Flint, or filming a music video about Mary Anning. An acclaimed storyteller, songwriter, and science-communicator he has been enriching the museum experience in Australia for over twenty years.

Jo Clyne (VIC) is a history education consultant, educator, writer, freelance museum theatre performer and magician. She completed her PhD on Museum Theatre at the University of Melbourne in 2015 and has taught across schools, universities, and cultural institutions for the past 16 years. She has performed both history and magic across Victoria for institutions and events including the Ballarat Heritage Festival, the Melbourne Magic Festival, the Clunes Booktown Festival, and the National Trust of Victoria.  She is happiest when scheming new ways to combine history, magic, and museums, and is the current President of the International Museum Theatre Alliance (Asia Pacific).

Michael Van Tiel (WA) is the Coordinator of the DFES Education & Heritage Centre where he is fulfilling a boyhood dream of playing with fire trucks for a career. He has also worked at the WA Museum, Sydney Living Museums and the Powerhouse Museum. It's at the Powerhouse where his passion for performance in museums began - ranging from recitals on collection instruments, to interpretive dance and full production shows and everything in between.


Upcoming Events

28 Sep
The Jaeger Room & Ian Wark Theatre at the Canberra Shine Dome, Australian Academy of Science, ACT

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