Headjam portfolio newcastlemuseum explodingheads 2

Case study

Headjam have been collaborating with the Newcastle Museum since 2011 and have a long-standing wonderful creative relationship with the internal team.

In 2020 we were engaged to produce creative campaigns and advertising for all of the City of Newcastle’s facilities after a successful rebrand we produced with City of Newcastle in 2018. Newcastle Museum was one of those and we collaborated with Director Julie Baird to develop a campaign that reflected the organisation in the best possible way.

This campaign is lovingly known as ‘exploding heads’.

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Newcastle Museum is a key part of Newcastle's community. It was founded in 1988 as a major Bicentennial project and has been located in the Honeysuckle Railway Workshops since 2011.

The museum collects, preserves and interprets objects for and about Newcastle in an innovative way, to inspire, entertain and engage.

It has a broad collection that is designed to tell the diverse stories of Newcastle, from massive industrial history machinery like the BHP ladle, to nationally significant objects from our sporting greats, delicate one-off dresses, comprehensive collections like the Royal Newcastle Hospital collection, and fossils.

As well as temporary exhibitions, it hosts the permanent exhibitions below:

  • A Newcastle Story, early Aboriginal life and Newcastle's history
  • Fire and Earth, coal mining and BHP steel production
  • Supernova & Mininova, a hands-on science centre - a kids’ favourite


Re introduce the Newcastle Museum to the world.

Target Audience

Families and those interested in the city's rich history.

Consumer Proposition

Mind-exploding experiences await.

Desired Consumer Response

"I can’t wait to visit Newcastle Museum."

Creative Solution

The insight to the idea for the campaign was, when people visit the Museum they learn, explore, get excited, sad and experience wonderful things. We wanted to ensure that the work we produced would work across all mediums so we worked on a concept based on the above insight across, photography, design and illustrations.

The outcome was to photograph the general public at the Headjam studio showing a variety of expressions, from wonder to shock, contemplation and awe, representing the emotions people feel when visiting the Museum exhibitions. Taking inspiration from past and upcoming exhibits, we proceeded to explode the subjects’ heads and explode a range of items out of them. Finally, retouching the work we placed them on the Museum red background - a colour synonymous with Newcastle Museum - to create a bold and eye-catching campaign to encourage people to visit the Museum.


Since 2011 the Museum has welcomed almost 1.5 million visitors, won 20 state and national awards, displayed 71 exhibitions and held thousands of special events. In 2021 it turned 10 and had a record year for visitors.

Further to this, the project was a winner of the poster level A award at the 2020 Museum Australia Multimedia and Publications Awards (MAPDA).

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