Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum in the Carlton Gardens
Established 1854
Location Melbourne, Australia
Type History museum

Melbourne Museum is located in the Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia, adjacent the Royal Exhibition Building.

It is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, and is a venue of Museum Victoria, which also operates the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks Museum.

The museum has seven main galleries, a Children's Gallery and a temporary exhibit gallery on three levels, Upper, Ground and Lower Level and was constructed by Baulderstone Hornibrook.

The Touring Hall is where temporary exhibits are displayed. Past exhibits include mummies from Egypt and dinosaurs from China. The Big Box is part of the Children's Gallery.

In addition, the museum has other facilities such as the Sidney Myer Amphitheatre and The Age Theatre. The Discovery Centre, on the Lower Level, is a free public research centre. The museum also has a cafe and a souvenir shop.

The IMAX Theatre, which is situated on the Lower Level is also part of the museum complex. It shows movies, usually documentary films, in 3-D format.



The museum had its earliest beginnings in the Government Assay Office which on 9 March 1854, opened some displays in La Trobe Street. In 1858, Frederick McCoy who was Professor of Natural History at the University of Melbourne was appointed Director of the National Museum.[1]

The Melbourne Museum was originally located (along with the State Library and the old state gallery) in the city block between La Trobe, Swanston, Little Lonsdale and Russell Streets - the nearby Museum underground railway station was originally named after it, although following the move the station was renamed Melbourne Central. The State Library now uses all the space in that building, the gallery also having moved to the NGV site.

The current museum was opened on October 21, 2000 by the Premier of Victoria of the time Steve Bracks.

Main permanent exhibits

Natural history exhibit at Melbourne Museum (center specimen is an Orange Roughy)

The main permanent exhibits include:

In 2010 a new exhibit called 600 million years of Victoria that includes some more prehistoric animals such as:

    • Muttaburrasaurus
    • Tiktaalik
    • Anomalocaris
    • and many other prehistoric animals.
    • The Science & Life Gallery also contains the exhibitions: Bugs Alive!, Marine Life: Exploring our seas and two more exhibitions soon to open in 2010.
  • Melbourne Gallery - where the mounted hide of Phar Lap, a race horse that won the Melbourne Cup during the depression era, is exhibited.
    • It also features an exhibition about the history of Melbourne from the early 19th century through to present day (called The Melbourne Story).
  • Large skeleton of a Pygmy Blue Whale
  • Mind and Body Gallery - a gallery regarding the human body. It also features a world first exhibition about the mind (called The Mind: enter the labyrinth).
  • Evolution Gallery - the upper level features the exhibition 'Darwin to DNA'. The lower level feature Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world exhibition.
  • Forest Gallery - a living temperate Victorian forest environment, complete with live birds, reptiles, and other fauna
  • Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre - a gallery with exhibitions about the Aborigines of Victoria
  • Te Pasifika Gallery - an exhibition which highlights the history and watercrafts of Pacific Islanders
  • Children's Gallery - exhibitions aimed at 3 to 8 year olds.
  • Touring Hall - is where international touring exhibitions are displayed. A Day In Pompeii which was on display at Melbourne Museum from 26 June - 25 October 2009 was Melbourne Museum's most popular temporary exhibition. Past Touring Hall exhibitions include Hatching the Past: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies (30 May 2008 to 24 August 2008), The Great Wall of China: Dynasties, dragons and warriors (23 March 2007 to 22 July 2007), Spirit of the Games: the Opening Ceremony revealed (18 March to 23 July 2006), Dinosaurs from China (2005).
  • Public spaces - Outside the main galleries are various displays relating to Victoria's and Australia's history, including CSIRAC (an early computer built in Australia) and a Pygmy Blue Whale.

Festival Melbourne 2006

Melbourne Museum was one of the venues of Festival Melbourne 2006, a city-wide art festival held in conjunction of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which was held in Melbourne. Among the exhibitions held in the museum were 'Common Goods:Cultures Meet Through Craft', which featured crafts made by artists from various Commonwealth countries and 'CARVE:Indigenous carving practices', a series of demonstrations of traditional indigenous carving practices and techniques from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Besides that, there was a producers' market, 'Victorian Producers' Market', where the best produces from regional Victoria such as wine, cheese and others were sold. A cooking competition, 'Culinary Pro Am of the Commonwealth' was also held between top Melbourne chefs, each representing a Commonwealth country.

Another crowd drawer was the large screen on museum grounds where live actions of the Games were shown.


External links / References

Coordinates: 37°48′12″S 144°58′17″E / 37.803337°S 144.971445°E / -37.803337; 144.971445

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