‘Wonderland’ exhibition brings Alice to Te Papa

Venture down the rabbit hole at this summer’s immersive exhibition Wonderland, which opens on 7 Dec 2019 and runs until 8 Mar 2020.

Visitors to Te Papa can lose themselves in the Hallway of Doors, play at the Queen’s Croquet Ground, and take part in a magical Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Wonderland celebrates the screen history of English author Lewis Carroll’s timeless stories – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) – in an experiential exhibition.

Wonderland is an interactive experience which will delight and surprise adults and children alike,” Te Papa CE Geraint Martin says.

Wonderland will take visitors on Alice’s journey through popular culture, demonstrating how artists, filmmakers, and fans have returned to her story with the help of screen technologies for more than a century.”

The exhibition begins in Lewis Carroll’s drawing room, where visitors are handed their own Lost Map of Wonderland, a physical and digital device unlocking surprising experiences during their exhibition journey and beyond.

Experiences include Down the Rabbit Hole, which transports visitors from the real world into Wonderland.

The Hallway of Doors introduces Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell, and the key Wonderland characters, objects, and places. Pre-cinematic optical toys and early theatrical versions feature in the Pool of Tears, and Looking Glass House shows a collection of live action objects and effects.

Visitors are invited to take a seat at the digital and interactive experience Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and can use their Lost Map of Wonderland to create a character of themselves and scan it into a large scale projection in the Queens Croquet Ground. A multiple screen audio visual room showcases Alice from different times, cultures, and media.

The exhibition features more than 300 unique objects including spectacular costumes, puppets, magic lantern projectors, props, concept drawings, first edition publications and illustrations, and animation cels.

Carroll’s tales have been the subject of more than 40 films and over 30 television programs. The exhibition is an interactive experience which also charts the evolution of special effects from pre-cinema and silent films, to animation, puppetry, live action, and CGI.

Wonderland was conceived and created by curators Jessica Bram and Sarah Tutton at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, and was designed by exhibition and theatrical designer Anna Tregloan.

Tickets go on sale on 30 Sep. Find out more at tepapa.nz/wonderland

Adults: $22.95
Children 3 – 15 years: $11.95
Children under 3: free
Family (2 adults, 2 children): $59.95

Student and concession tickets also available.


Wonderland, 2018. Photo by Anne Moffat, courtesy of ACMI

About Wonderland

From the first screen adaptation by Cecil M Hepworth in 1903 to Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Wonderland reveals the development of special effects from pre-cinematic entertainment to silent film, animation to puppetry, live-action cinema, videogames, CGI, 3D, and beyond. Among the films featured; Norman Z McLeod’s 1933 version featuring a young Cary Grant; Lou Bunin’s Alice Au Pays des Merveilles (1949) which almost did not make it to the screen; Jan Švankmajer’s acclaimed Alice (1988); the Quay Brothers’ experimental Alice in Not So Wonderland (2007); and television versions by the BBC and NBC, and many more.

Made in Melbourne by ACMI, this exhibition offers a theatrical experience complete with playful environments and bespoke digital activities that draw upon the wonder and curiosity of Carroll’s stories.

Together with ACMI curators Jessica Bram and Sarah Tutton, exhibition and theatrical designer Anna Tregloan, digital creative studios Sandpit, Grumpy Sailor, and Mosster Studio, sound designer Byron Scullin and composer Cornel Wilczek, as well as lighting designer Niklas Pajanti, have designed this interactive world.

The exhibition at Te Papa illustrates an ongoing fascination with new visual technologies over more than a century. From the earliest optical toys to silent film, animation, puppetry, live-action cinema, videogames, CGI, 3D, and beyond, Wonderland explores how the moving image has kept Alice and her stories in the public consciousness, reinvented in contemporary contexts and mediums.

Wonderland premiered in Melbourne in 2018 and attracted 165,000 visitors in six months. The exhibition is currently being exhibited at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, and runs until 22 Sep.

For more information about Wonderland at Te Papa, visit tepapa.nz/wonderland.


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Ellie Campbell
Senior Communications Adviser
029 601 0120