Last Wednesday, 9th July, saw us open our doors to the public for a final time before the biggest phase of the redevelopment gets underway.
Tours of the Stores & A last Chance to See was a small event, the 100 available tickets sold out. It was the last time members of the public were admitted to see the museum in its current incarnation, and it was also the first time they were given a guided tour of our bird store and vertebrates store.
Guests enjoyed a glass or two of wine as they milled around the gallery space where some of our rarest artefacts had been specially brought out of storage to go on display, such as the Tasmanian Tiger skins, a sunburst shell collected on Captain Cook’s second circumnavigation, and Newton’s Parakeets, among others.
Richard Preece, Curator of Malacology gave our guests a short and informative talk on the importance of our fundraising efforts to the preservation of the museum’s collections for future generations to come, and the ambitious plans for the new Museum of Zoology we hope to have realised by the time of our reopening in 2016.
Another first for the evening was a small foray into a science-meets-art style photographic exhibition, featuring stunning prints of a selection of specimens from our collections. These prints were also for sale, and proved very popular, with money from purchases going to support the museum redevelopment. There was also an opportunity to take a ‘selfie’ with our Shoebill (in return for a small donation, of course!)
All of this took place against the backdrop of our empty display cases, stacks and stacks of crates full of packed-away fluid specimens and a wonderful projection of time-lapse videos showing (amongst other things) the dismantling of our iconic Finback whale.
The time and effort put in by staff and volunteers to host this event was rewarded by the overwhelmingly positive feedback. As they departed, each guest declared their eager anticipation for a return visit in 2016.
We can’t wait!