While travelling to the destination (Melbourne Museum) of, yet another, solo Sunday exploration, I cut through the Carlton Gardens, home of the immaculate Royal Exhibition Building. The Building hosts many events throughout the year, including but not limited to: university exams (BOO!), bridal expos, design fairs, and car shows. It can be toured (a fact I was unaware of until after planning my day) and you can bet it will be toured, so stay tuned…
The Darwin (#mancrusheveryday) to DNA exhibit is only a small portion of the Melbourne Museum which is home to approximately six permanent galleries, each comprised of up to five sub-galleries, three changing galleries, an IMAX theater, and an amphitheater. The Melbourne Museum is equivalent to the Museum of Natural History in NYC, although, I’m convinced its number of specimens trumps New York’s…easily.
I have never seen as many nor as perfectly preserved insect specimens as I did in the Bugs Alive! exhibit. The exhibit had displays of beetles, butterflies, spiders, ants, and more displayed in shadow boxes standing well over two meters tall. It was an entomologist’s dream come true, to say the least.
While there were no aquariums housing live marine fauna, the preserved animals found in jars and tanks around the Marine Life exhibit offered easier observation of past and present species. Museum guests could approach and get an up-close-and-personal view of a giant squid, Australia’s infamous blue-ringed octopus, a blobfish, and dragon kin (seahorses and pipefishes). My marine biology-loving nerd flourished in this particular section, as I was able to see anglers and other deep sea species that are typically not present in other museums or aquariums.
“Try not to have a good time…this is supposed to be educational.” –Charles M. Schultz
The Melbourne Museum caters to the entomologists, marine biologists, environmentalists, and Norman Bates’s of the world. The Wild exhibit is floor to ceiling, 270-degrees taxidermy heaven. Everything from birds to monkeys to large felines to rhinoceroses (well rhinoceros, but yes, there is one!). It is quite possibly the coolest, most disturbing exhibit I have ever experienced. The Museum has placed several touch screen monitors around the exhibit, on which guests can select animals from an identical image of the wall, and the image of the animal of interest will enlarge with both the scientific and common names.
The Mind and Body Gallery included a look into the anatomy and physiology of the human body, as well as the workings of the human mind. Among other things, interactive exhibits exemplify how the brain varies between mentally healthy and unhealthy individuals, how the brain works to memorize and analyze inputs, and how generations have contributed to the ability to study such instances.
It would not be a trip to the Melbourne Museum without a tribute to the aforementioned city. The Melbourne Gallery gives a brief history lesson from the 1890’s to present-day. More than 1200 collection objects tell the Melbourne Story, including artifacts from the first derby days, Cole’s Book Arcade, and, Australian hard rock band, AC/DC.