Jaguar, Panthera onca.
Image: Jo Philo
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: I have seen some work going on in the Discovery Centre – have new displays been installed?
Answer: Yes – over the last few weeks the Discovery Centre has seen a few exciting display changes. The object display drawers located at the back of the centre showcase many interesting and unusual objects from our reference collection. Discovery Centre staff often use this collection as a starting point for helping visitors with identification enquiries, and encourage visitors to begin their own research here.
The History & Technology collections in the drawers include samples of the natural history illustrations commissioned by Sir Frederick McCoy, and a number of objects from the Museum Victoria numismatic collections. The drawers display a collection of coins from Pompeii, Italy, as well as the collection of medals awarded to Sir Frederick McCoy for his work in the natural sciences in Victoria.
Three of the drawers have been recently updated to display a collection of medals from the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880 and the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition of 1888, both held at the Royal Exhibition Building opposite Melbourne Museum. The Centennial International Exhibition attracted over two million people before its official close on 31 January, 1889, and cost the Victorian government £250,000, which was ten times the amount estimated. The third new drawer showcases a collection of medals awarded to Hans William Henry Irvine, a successful Victorian vigneron and politician, for his outstanding local wines.
Read more about the installation of the medals by the Museum’s Conservation staff on the Discovery Centre blog.
In addition to the new medal collections in the object drawers, the Discovery Centre is also actively involved in supporting the new Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world exhibition, now showing in the Science & Life Gallery at Melbourne Museum. A female jaguar (Panthera onca) was installed in the centre on Wednesday morning. The jaguar came to Museum Victoria in 1924 from Melbourne Zoo where she died. At her time of death, it was estimated that she was about 30 years old.
To keep the jaguar company, the Discovery Centre is also due to receive a specimen of an Eastern Barred Bandicoot (Perameles gunnii). Once widespread throughout Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, there are now only about two hundred Eastern Barred Bandicoots on the mainland of Australia. The Discovery Centre’s specimen will be located in the display case near the front desk that currently houses a collection of objects from the Pompeii collection.
And don’t forget to visit the centre’s resident live animal, Leon the Chameleon – you can keep up-to-date with Leon’s exploits on the Discovery Centre blog.