Tyrannosaurs: A Case for Traveling Exhibitions

Australian Museum launched Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family at their museum in Sydney in November 2013. The exhibition went on to become the most attended exhibition in their 190-year history. At that point in time, Australian Museum had a well-developed domestic touring program, touring Australian-centric exhibitions within their regional market. Then, in 2015, Flying Fish was selected to support the museum with an initiative to develop an international touring program.

Once the museum had committed to touring Tyrannosaurs internationally, Flying Fish consulted on the preparation for the exhibition to tour to North America, and beyond, for many years to come. Flying Fish’s consultation covered everything required to execute a successful touring program including adjustments to the exhibit design, necessary refurbishments, crating and logistics in preparation for tour commencement – not to mention the development of commercial models and a sales and marketing plan. Considering the market appeal, Tyrannosaurs is one of many traveling dinosaur exhibitions touring the globe now. It’s important to note what sets this exhibition apart – something that we, at Flying Fish, found to be incredibly attractive and exciting for our museum clients/prospective hosts. Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family is the first exhibition ever created anywhere in the world to focus on the tyrannosaur. It also contains real specimens from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History – extremely rare T. rex fossils that have never before traveled.

The new and improved touring version of Tyrannosaurs premiered to the North American market in January of 2017 and has since been on display at five museums/science centers in the U.S. and Canada – breaking attendance records at numerous locations. We’re now preparing for our sixth venue at National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh before the exhibition returns to North America to continue its tour.

Australian Museum and Flying Fish have now been in partnership for four years and we’ve since introduced a second exhibition to the global market – Spiders: From Fear to Fascination. We plan to present a third at the upcoming ASTC conference in Toronto, Ontario this September. Australian Museum has since highlighted international touring as a long-term commitment in their recent master plan, with several exhibitions in development for roll-out internationally through 2023. Flying Fish continues its work in facilitating the distribution of its clients exhibitions to like-minded institutions around the world.

At Flying Fish, it’s our mission to support museums and science centers in a sustainable way. We can do that best by offering our assistance in the development of touring exhibitions. Our clients now place considerable value on their outbound touring exhibition programs and for our work in executing these on their behalf. These new ventures in developing touring exhibitions have rewarded our museum clients by adding a new revenue stream for their institutions, by increasing their museums’ exposure globally, and for opening up new opportunities for museum collaborations.

If you’d like to start a discussion with us about developing a touring exhibition program for your institution, get in touch. We’d love to hear about your plans!

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