Monday, July 12, 2010

Getting all Natural History on You!

So today I had a plan of having a look at some of the shops in Adelaide off the beaten path of Rundle Mall. I was going to take some snaps and write up a blog. When I stepped off the tram and tried taking a picture I was met with the all to familiar sight of "REPLACE BATTERY PACK". Needless to say I changed my plans and decided instead to go for a little walk to the Museum of South Australia, accompanied by my good friends Belle and Sebasian, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Nicholas Roy.

It was a bit of a strange experience walking through the museum by myself with the music in my ears blocking out the screams of the children all around me. The museum opened their new Biodiversity section in February of this year, I've been excited to go see it because the animals are always my favourite part of the museum. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it all has a very Australian feel to it. I started off in the marine section with whales and fish and all sorts of strange creatures. There was multimedia screens all around the place and if you got up close enough it almost felt like you were actually swimming around the reef. It really ignited a desire to go diving again!

The whole section really flows, you move from under the sea, to beachside, to backyard, to outback. The thing I loved about the display is that it wasn't just about showing animals, you have to explore a bit to actually discover everything that the museum has done. One example was a display of nocturnal animals, I looked up and noticed that a hidden owl was looking down at me, when a little girl noticed me doing this she too looked up and was so excited by the sight. There were crawl spaces that only children could fit through so I don't know if these were just for entertainment or if there were even more things hidden here. One of my favourites was the "backyard" animals.

Doesn't it just look like a scene from Animals of Farthing Wood or something similar?

One thing I noticed was the strong environmental consciousness of all of the displays, this wasn't about showing you animals it was also about bringing attention to the fact that many of these were having their habitats destroyed, or that the animals themselves were the destroyers. There was a section for extinct Australian animals and I'll admit that I got a bit teary here. I did a bit of research into museums at university last year and whether they should be delivering simply information or whether curators should tell a story based on their own beliefs. I still don't know where I stand, but it was just so obvious to me today and it made me glad that they were trying to educate rather than just display. If you get a chance take the day off and grab some music and make your way through the museum in your own little world just like I did!

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