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AGB Events brings history to life at the Smithsonian

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Museums and galleries are, on the surface, collections of artifacts.  Truly successful visitor engagement is achieved when the stories behind those artifacts are brought to life.
“Beauty Rich and Rare began as a commemoration of the work of Sir Joseph Banks.  Following the recent catastrophic events affecting millions of Australian species of flora and fauna, Beauty Rich and Rare is now a timely reminder of the importance of protection and preservation of our unique biodiversity.” - Todd Severson, AGB Events COO.


As such, it was perhaps unsurprising that the National Library of Australia would turn to story-telling specialist AGB Events to create Beauty Rich and Rare, a 20-minute digital work of art.  First premiering in Canberra, AGB Events has brought Beauty Rich and Rare to the world-renowned Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Showcasing the flora and fauna that is unique to the continent of Australia, Beauty Rich and Rare is designed to recreate the wonder experienced by James Cook and naturalist Joseph Banks and the botanists, scientists, and illustrators who travelled on the HMB Endeavour from England to Australia 250 years ago. As the first Australian exhibition held at the Smithsonian, Beauty Rich is proudly supported by the Embassy of Australia. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of the most visited natural history museums in the world with - over 4.8 million through its doors and over 150 million online. Opened in 1910, the museum is dedicated to maintaining and preserving the world’s most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts. 

Anthony Bastic, CEO and Creative Director of Sydney-based AGB Events, is a passionate story-teller, and has established a gifted creative and technical team that has amassed substantial experience in using digital technology to curate, devise and deliver visualstories that connect and unite people, creating experiences – events,festivals, public celebrations and more - that are extraordinary, unique and innovative, transforming history and culture into meaningful and memorable audience experiences.  These have included Cairns Festival, ‘Halo’ in Townsville, ‘Parrtjima: A Festival in Light’ in Alice Springs, the iconic Vivid Sydney festival of light and Sydney’s Lights of Christmas, as well as events and experiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

“For Beauty, Rich and Rare, our digital artists used modern animation techniques to reinterpret 250-year-old artworks,” explains Anthony. “Beauty, Rich and Rare is shown in a darkened room, with its captivating images delivered to a five-panel screen measuring 20 metres long by 2.5 metres tall. The screens are arranged in a semi-circle, filling the viewer’s field of view to create a wholly immersive experience.”

“Visitors are taken on a journey of the senses,” he continues, “in an immersion into light, colour, and sound that magnify the scientific achievements of the expedition as well as the sheer awe experienced by the explorers when they encountered the natural wonders of Australia.”

The storyline is narrated by renowned Australian personality Angela Catterns AM (Member of the Order of Australia), a well-known Australian media personality and broadcaster.

Todd Severson, AGB Events COO, said: “Beauty Rich and Rare began as a commemoration of the work of Sir Joseph Banks.  Following the recent catastrophic events affecting millions of Australian species of flora and fauna, Beauty Rich and Rare is now a timely reminder of the importance of protection and preservation of our unique biodiversity.”

Beauty Rich and Rare runs at the Smithsonian from January 9 to July 5, 2020.

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