Australian War Memorial’s newest galleries PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 17:45

The Australian War Memorial is an impressive building located in Australia’s capital city Canberra. The Memorial’s newest galleries “Conflicts 1945 to Today,” which opened in 2008, aims to preserve and convey the experiences of Australian servicemen and women on overseas deployments from Korea and Vietnam through to Rwanda, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the age of the virtual theme park it was a major challenge for the AWM to present these epic stories.
Bruce Brown from Mental Media who was heavily involved in a variety of aspects of the design and delivery of the project, says the design process selected the key elements from the Vietnam era to include an Iroquois helicopter, an Armoured Personnel Carrier, the operations bridge from the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane and the Long Tan AV Theatre, together with a diorama and “The Trench Experience” from the Korean War. Fitting all of this and the assignments of the remaining 35 years into the confines of the existing 1200 sq metre ex-administration and ex-gallery space was another challenge.

The Iroquois comes to life only metres away and instinctively you duck your head with the wind and noise of the whirling rotors. There are 30 new AV displays of varying size and complexity, driven by 40 computers, increasing the AWM’s overall audiovisual content by around 40%.

The AV Section specified a theatrical style lighting patch system with all lighting outlets returning to a pair of centralised patch panels providing “any outlet to any dimmer.” This proved very useful during the Stage 3 commissioning where a level of flexibility was available without the need for the electricians.

Two 72 way LSC “iPatch” Patch Panels were wall mounted for the patching and test functionality.  In order to develop a high level of support the LSC iPRO dimmers were suspended on hook clamp mounts, like truss dimmers, but sitting against the wall, hanging from short pieces of horizontally mounted 48mm OD pipe.

With this horizontal, alternating arrangement of dimmer -- patch panel -- dimmer -- patch panel -- dimmer the patch tails hang clear of the dimmers and only patch tails in use create any obstruction to front panel 13 Amp circuit breakers. The aim of this configuration was to make the front panels easily accessible while in service, and importantly, to speed up any dimmer swap-overs.

The LSC iPro dimmers, supplied by Total Concept Projects, were selected for their 13 Amp load capacity and pulsed transformer fired dimming, providing smooth and reliable dimming no matter whether the load is fluorescent, motors, transformers or extremely low wattage. With the close proximity to the 30 AV systems operational in these galleries the high quality of iPro’s inductors and filtering was essential to keep all systems clean and quiet.

Also important was the ability to program basic scenes into the dimmers as back ups, allowing the exhibits to remain dressed and open to the public should the main AV control system fail.



AWM display showing the operations bridge from the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane.



AWM’s display of an Iroquois helicopter as used in the Vietnam War.



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