Museum and Zoo Tours
There will be tours of the Melbourne Museum and Zoo the day after the main conference program on Thursday 1 December 2016.
These tours have limited space and participation will be on a first-in basis. Sign up forms will be located at the registration desk, as well as more information about the tours.
Museum Victoria was established in 1856 and has been a research and collecting and public display institution ever since. The Museum only moved from its original 1856 building in 2000 to a new Museum building. The first director of the Museum was Professor Frederick McCoy who actively purchased collections from around the world for Museum Victoria. He often purchased insect specimens/collections through the well-known London insect agent Francis Walker in the 1860s and 1870s. Through Francis Walker we acquired many highly scientific and culturally significant collections. On the tour I will show Australia’s oldest non-fossilised natural history specimen – a butterfly collected in China in 1742. We house the famous English John Curtis Collection (both his main collection and his significant Agricultural collection) which has a specimen dating back to 1796 as well as his hand written diaries which provide the label data for all of his specimens. There are also specimens collected by Alfred Russell Wallace from Indonesia and Micronesia– many of which are now designated as Lecotypes. There are Diptera and Hemiptera specimens identified by Francis Walker. We house the second collection (the first is now lost) of Count F. de Castlenau beetle collection from 1860 when he was the French Consul in Melbourne. Other collections include the Howitt Australian beetle collection, the Reverend Bodley world butterfly collection and specimens from the important Godeffroyi collection. Of course, the bulk of the collection contains Australian fauna with representative from the Lyell moth collection and Blackburn beetle collection ad much more The Museum’s entomology collection houses over 2.5 million specimens in about 4,500 drawers and has a wet collection of over 500,000 specimens with a strong emphasis on Trichoptera. The tour will show insights into these collections and their storage techniques. Finally, I will demonstrate our Leica digital microscope montage image capture system used to produce high quality images of insect specimens.
The Live Exhibits Unit hosts a collection of 120 species of live animals, of which about 70% are invertebrates. These are displayed in exhibits throughout Melbourne Museum, including Bugs Alive, the gallery dedicated to insects, spiders and associated groups. Bugs Alive is a densely themed exhibition, with live invertebrate displays complementing the preserved specimens, models, biofacts and videos that illustrate many of the themes such as reproduction, food chains, life cycles, venoms and poisons, and entomological research. We favour tropical and arid or dryland species as the best examples of how invertebrates adapt to their environments, so behind the scenes you will meet terrestrial, freshwater and marine invertebrates of many different orders. Some of the highlights include several species of funnelwebs, Gargatuan and Lord Howe Island Stick Insects, Leaf Insects and a number of taxa yet to be scientifically named.
For Museum tours: (no charge)
Please arrive at the Museum about 10 minutes before your allocated tour time. Walk in the front door of the Museum and immediately turn left and sit on the provided couches. Ken Walker or Patrick Honan will come down to escort you to the non-public areas where the collections and live exhibits are housed. The Museum is about 10 minutes walk from the Rydges Hotel. The Museum is situated between two streets – Nicholson and Ratthdowne Streets just behind the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens.
The Melbourne Zoo Butterfly House opened in 1985, the concept was to create an exhibit showcasing conservation, recreation and education in a way that would appeal to the public and highlight the relevance of insects in the environment. The huge success of the Butterfly House led to The Melbourne Zoo exhibiting many other species of invertebrates including stick insects, burrowing cockroaches, spiders and mantids. The main role of which are to educate the public on the wonders of invertebrates from school children to adults. In 2003 Melbourne Zoo was chosen to receive a pair of Lord Howe Island stick insects (LHISI) after their discovery on Ball’s Pyramid in 2001. The LHISI are now part of Zoos Victoria’s Fighting Extinction program and in the 13 years since its inception 13,000 nymphs have hatched, the 12th generation has been achieved and they are now in zoos internationally.
Zoo tours can take up to 25 people per tour and run morning 11 – 12pm and afternoon 1:30 – 2:30pm.
Entry will be free for the group. Please arrive at the Rail Gate where staff will have the list of those on the tour and will allow free entry. There is bus parking at that end of the zoo. From there please have the group make their way to the front of the Butterfly House and we will have a staff member meet them there.
Further details to be announced.