Museums are stuffy places, right? Dusty relics behind glass cases, boring, dull, unless you are a science geek.
Not Melbourne Museum
The building is controversial, a very modern contrast to the Royal Exhibition Building next door. As a lover of Victorian architecture, I can see why one is more pleasing to the eye, just a stroll around it in its beautiful setting, surrounded by parkland and fountains is uplifting. What a great place to escape to from the office at lunch time, with a picnic.
However if you have a few hours to spare, preferably a day, a visit to the Melbourne Museum is a great way to spend a rainy day, or even a blistering hot one when you need to find somewhere cool. And this place is cool, in so many ways.
We joined a free guided tour, once more led by a volunteer, that lasted an hour. This is more of an orientation tour, that points out the highlights. I would highly recommend you join one if you can, as this museum is huge and has so much to see and do.
As has been the case so often in Melbourne, we were part of a small select group of four. I can only presume that the demand rises during the holiday period. Early December, you pretty much get personal tours. Fine by me.
So what’s to see and do? The short version.
There’s Phar Lap, a famous racehorse, a very popular exhibit. Lots of bugs and spiders, real ones, including tarantulas seized by customs and excise.
I was moved to tears to hear and read about the removal of Aboriginal children from their families in order to ‘civilise’ them. I guess this is acknowledged here as is their cultural heritage. Bunjilaka Koori Voices
And the technology would entertain the most determinedly bored child who hates museums. Interactive screens like giant iPads that enable you to discover more about the exhibits, the 3D experience and the lifelike dinosaurs that react to human movement amused us for hours!
And there are models of dinosaurs. Yes, those are antlers. Well it is nearly Christmas.
So if you are in Melbourne, this is a must see! Well worth the ten dollars. If you are a local, buy an annual pass, you won’t regret it. If you spend a day, bring a picnic as there is an outdoor terrace, and frankly the food in the cafe wasn’t very enticing in my opinion. Or have an early lunch in Carlton Gardens, join a tour, then spend the rest of the day exploring the museum. It’s not pretty from the outside. With the Imax theatre tacked on, at an angle, it is all very modern and a little bit ugly. However, put aside all this and cross the threshold. This is a building designed to showcase what’s inside. And it does it very well indeed. Oh, and you can follow them on twitter @melbournemuseum