The iconic exhibition, first opened in 2009, gave audiences a rare opportunity to get up close to a stunning range of animal specimens from across the globe and to reflect on the diversity and fragility of life around us.
Replacing Wild will be the recently announced Museums Victoria acquisition of a 67-million-year-old adult Triceratops horridus, one of the most globally significant dinosaur discoveries ever made and the most complete dinosaur fossil ever acquired by an Australasian museum.
At 87% complete, the specimen is the most complete and most finely preserved Triceratops ever found, comprising of most of the known bones in the Triceratops skeleton, including a 99% complete skull and the entire vertebral column, as well as skin impressions and tendons. This exciting new exhibition will call Melbourne Museum home in late 2021.
Over 780 preserved animal specimens have been displayed in Wild, creating a unique showcase of global mammal, bird and reptile diversity. Some historically significant specimens have been in the museum’s collection for over a century, while some species displayed are now extinct such as the Thylacine and Pig-footed Bandicoot.
Recent additions to the collection highlight Victoria’s changing ecosystems and environment, such as Sam the Koala, who became a symbol of hope and resilience amidst the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires.
Some animals on display in Wild have become celebrities, including the affectionately known ‘Sad Otter’. With a somewhat mournful expression, this 120-year-old taxidermied Giant Otter specimen found notoriety and its nickname after featuring on the website ‘Bad Taxidermy’ in 2012, becoming a popular meme that still does the rounds on social media to this day, gaining loyal and loving fans along the way.
“Millions of visitors have enjoyed this much-loved exhibition, many returning time and time again, and I’m sure that the extraordinary creatures of WILD have captivated us with the wonder of the diversity of life on our planet – especially our youngest visitors, who in connecting with and appreciating our natural world will be inspired to help protect and care for it,” said Museums Victoria CEO & Director Lynley Crosswell.
The closure of this exhibition will allow Museums Victoria Collections and Conservation staff to assess the condition of specimens which have been on display for many years, ensuring that vitally important collections that highlight biodiversity and the factors that threaten it, such as Museums Victoria’s vertebrate collections, are preserved for scientific, cultural and historical research for many generations to come.
The last day to visit Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world is Tuesday 26 January, with the Darwin to DNA gallery closing from 18 January. To make sure you don’t miss out, book your tickets to Melbourne Museum – or take a virtual tour of Wild via Museum at Home.
Image: Wild Gallery at Melbourne Museum – photo by Dianna Snape