The paintings were done by the Scott sisters who created the scientific illustrations at life size, from real specimens of Australian moths and butterflies, at all stages of their life cycle. They were so talented, they were paid for their work for many publications (a fact they tried to hide, as it was quite uncommon for women in the 1850s to be working in any sort of scientific field). While the pictures are scientifically accurate they are works of art also, with exquisite detail.
The exhibition tied in nicely with our current studies of Australian insects. The museum also kindly provided a host of free school holiday activities that tied in with the exhibition. There was a “trail” for the Beauty from Nature exhibition, where you discovered the answer to different question from the information it the exhibit (and other related exhibits in the museum) and could enter a competition with your answers.
The highlight of the day, in my opinion, was the Search and Discover room. The museum had set up a drawing room with instructions on different artistic techniques (such as perspective) and also simpler activities such as stencils and tracing with a light table.
Outside the drawing room was another drawing activity with step by step instructions of how to draw different types of butterflies. We enjoyed it so much, and I was so impressed with the results, that we’ve purchased the “How to Draw Creepy Crawlies” book to help us with our nature journalling.
The permanent displays in the Search and Discover room are just as interesting. There are many (hundreds!) of animals that have been
taxidermied stuffed, on display and able to be touched. There are drawers full of insect specimens, turtle shells to touch and a few live animals too! We easily spent an hour in this room, and probably could have spent most of the day here!
Something else I hope to make use of in the future, is the library of reference books relating to topics relevant to the museum and its exhibtions. You can’t borrow the books, but you can look at them at the museum and photocopy pages as needed.
We also enjoyed making use of the Member’s Lounge. Now that we have membership at a few museums, I’m appreciating the value of a quiet place to rest and recharge during the day.
However, the day was not over yet…