Morris Minor driving experience delivers interactive fun

Museum curators have transformed a shipping container into an interactive display at Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) where visitors can “drive” a classic Morris Minor over the Harbour Bridge.

MOTAT’s latest exhibition, Accelerate: Driving New Zealand, challenges the status quo as it explores the past, present and future of New Zealand’s relationship with vehicles in fun and interactive way.

As a centrepiece, it features a specially modified 20-foot shipping container supplied by Royal Wolf that has been turned into an elevated viewing platform which doubles as a large-scale display case with a 1950s Morris Minor Lowlight inside. The activation allows visitors to take the vehicle on a virtual drive through the Victoria Park motorway tunnel and then up and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Accelerate features everything from cars and tractors to solar powered vehicles that are either suspended in the air or imaginatively mounted on the museum floor to create a dynamic and multilevel exhibition.

It currently features vehicles such as Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1956 Massey Ferguson, a Kiwi made Trekka built in the 1960s and the Solar Kiwi car that powered into the history books during the Darwin to Adelaide World Solar Challenge in 1993.

The viewing platform on top of the shipping container allows visitors to survey the suspended and mounted vehicles up close while offering an intriguing birds-eye view over the rest of the exhibition.

Tee Atiau, MOTAT Exhibition Coordinator, says it is essential each exhibition provides visitors with a new and captivating experience every time they visit – and the creative use of a structure like a converted shipping container has helped to bring this vision this to life.

Accelerate was designed to offer a new perspective on some of the most loved pieces in MOTAT’s road transport collection by displaying them in unexpected ways while exploring the challenges, technology, social impacts and culture associated with automobiles.

“We’re always looking for new and exciting ways for visitors to interact with our exhibitions and the display container enables us to utilise the space better. It offers visitors a range of viewpoints and provides an ideal space for our interactive driving experience.”

Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf Executive General Manager, says the MOTAT project demonstrates the versatility of containers and how they can be used to enhance projects.

“Royal Wolf is all about pushing the boundaries of what people would usually think a shipping container could be used for and it’s great to work with an organisation like MOTAT that thinks in the same innovative way.

“On an everyday basis, containers can be used for anything from dry storage to chemical storage and pop up retail solutions. But even though they are an incredibly solid structure they are very adaptable and able to be used in highly creative ways.”

The Accelerate exhibition will run for two years, with MOTAT changing out the vehicles regularly to offer visitors a refreshed experience each time they visit.