Packing them in

My thanks to Matt van Rooijen of the Optimistic Painting blog for this photo from the Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum in Australia. As you can see they have one hell of a pile of dinosaurs here and have maximised the amount of floorspace to stuff them in. From the perspective of the average museum visitor this is pretty nice – when I was young I’d have been delighted to see this many dinosaurs in one small space and I do appreciate the spectacle of things like this. However, the researcher in me is rather frustrated. You can’t see the details which have become bread and butter to me but which the average visitor would not care about, and nor is it easy to take photos of skeletons in isolation. Obviously I’m hardly suggesting that museums should lay out their exhibits to benefit the odd researcher for every ten thousand visitors they get, but it can be annoying. I (obviously) prefer the more open plan ones, but on balance I’d rather see 10 dinosaurs crammed in than 3 well spaced out.


6 Responses to “Packing them in”


  1. 1 mattvr 14/01/2011 at 10:08 am

    Yes, my shots of individual animals were a little crammed and hard to make out. To be fair the Museum is undergoing renovations.
    On the up side I kept discovering new skeletons, skulls and life sized models tucked away all over the place, it was stunning as my local museum has a single mounted skeleton.

  2. 2 adam yates 14/01/2011 at 1:57 pm

    To be fair on the museum, none of those are original specimens, they are casts of skeletons that are widely displayed elsewhere. I’ts hard to imagine a researcher making their way to tassie to look at casts of Amargasaurus or Muttaburrasaurus so why not go for visual impact to impress the average museum visitor?

    • 3 David Hone 14/01/2011 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Adam! Long time no see!

      I wasn’t trying to be critical of the museum, but merely make a point. When any place crams them in like this it’s awkward and tricky to see details (Tokyo has the same issue for example, as does the IVPP for that matter). And I’m really only talking about self-interest as an academic rather than research: when *I* go to places like this, sure I’m not on a research gig, but if I see something like Amargasaurus there then I would like to get a good photo of it or check out a few details out pf idle interest and that’s not possible in this kind of set-up without getting permission to clamber in. While most museums are happy for researchers to do it, I’d feel bad about asking for all that hassle for something that’s little more than professional curiosity than actual research.

      I *like* exhibits like this. Just on occasion it can frustrate me as well.

      • 4 mattvr 15/01/2011 at 1:02 am

        I can’t speak for the two big Australian capitals but in the smaller capitals this many mounted Archosaurs is exceptional in a Museum.
        Our museums tend to be pretty light on in the dinosaur department, possibly because dinosaur fossils are so rarely found here and funds aren’t around as much.
        It was nice to see a Muttaburrasaurus mounted as a quadruped for once.

  3. 5 Tom 14/01/2011 at 11:36 pm

    My closest museum, The Melbourne museum (also Australaia), is also just like this.

  4. 6 Marcus Good 17/01/2011 at 10:24 am

    Firstly, OMG. I used to live in Launceston as a kid, and it looks the museum has had a MAJOR makeover (admittedly, we moved some 23 years ago.)

    The WA Museum in Perth has a cast of Sue’s skull, an Albertosaurus, and a Muttaburrasaurus. The only other skeletal mounts in the gallery are a Diprotodon, Simosthenerus and a moa. (Oh, and a Hypsilophodon in a case on the wall.)


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