One of the many things both the Tiger and I like to do overseas would probably be to visit a museum. So while we were waiting for Alison Bechdel’s session to start, we decided to go to the South Australian Museum for a look-around.
Greeted with a collection of sperm whale skulls and marine animal skeletons, we were in awe at the magnificence of the exhibits. (Let me put it this way, one of the sperm whale skulls we saw spanned beyond the entire length of the museum café)
And while the South Australian Museum had many galleries you could go through (I would reckon spending at least a single, solid day if you would like to see everything in every gallery), I decided that this post will be more focused on this particular approach the museum takes that struck a chord with me – accessibility.
Apart from the fact that the museum is free for tourists and citizens alike (with the exceptions of featured or paid exhibitions), there are regular free tours to introduce and re-introduce visitors to the many aspects of the museum. Don’t know where to start? The guide can help you.
What I also liked was how some backroom work gets posted to the front lines. While we were there, there were a few researchers at the main staircase foyer, working on a few samples and getting people (especially children) involved in finding and identifying mini bones caught in ground samples. As explained by one of the researchers there, they were studying the kinds of animals that used to live around the deserts of Western Australia.
Moving to the higher levels of the museum, there was a lab-like room, adequately-lit and with cupboards and shelves filled with various artefacts. And towards the corner of the room, there was a counter with a researcher behind it, clicking away on the computer or studying some sample.
What was really cool about this was that the South Australian Museum does encourage people to bring photographs or samples of insects, rocks, or artefacts for analysis. While the Tiger and I were there, a lady went up and asked for help in identifying a spider they found in their garden.
So there was some form of knowledge sharing and interaction, such that both parties learnt more.
And lastly, the Tiger and I were presented with a pleasant surprise towards the end of our visit.
While in the museum itself, we heard an announcement about a Professor giving a talk at the front foyer. As we were rather pressed for time, we did not really bother with it. However, when we got to the front foyer, the talk the Professor was supposed to give turned out to be a sing-and-dance session for the kids to learn about dinosaurs (led by the Professor).
It was then when the Tiger mentioned about how it was quite nice that the Professors were so willing to share knowledge with others – through any form of means, as far as we could see.
Like I’ve said before, the Museum is not only a place where exhibits are placed, nice and polished, for people to go “Ooooh” and “Aaaah” over. It’s where knowledge is shared, it’s where stories are told. And what is the soul of humanity but a plethora of knowledge and stories?
So that’s the South Australian Museum for us!
The South Australian Museum is located at North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000. Click here for more information. General entry is free, though there will be ticket prices for featured exhibitions.