The Indigenous Australians Collection Treasure Case focusses on the theme of Toys and Games.
This theme resonates across all cultures and allows viewers to make personal connections with objects from another culture. The display features contemporary and traditional objects that are visually interesting – from larger pieces to small toys.
World Cultures Treasure Case
The AM’s Anthropology Collection represents over 130 countries, initially driven by a curiosity about other cultures and evolving into comprehensive research programs and extensive engagement with indigenous communities of our region and beyond.
The Anthropology Treasure Case features interesting and unusual objects from West Africa. Our African collection illustrates a search for people and cultures whose influence extends across time and impacts our understanding of humanity itself. On display are some iconic West African objects that were once part of vivid rituals – social and spiritual – that held communities and their identity together.
African artists found a different system of representation that gave them an unprecedented freedom to explore authenticity and expression. Masks, in particular, link to both past practices and living cultures and influenced modernist artists such as Matisse and Picasso.
Archaeology Collection Treasure Case
The Archaeology Collection Treasure Case focus is the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, in western NSW, which contains the world’s largest known collection of ancient fossilized human footprints.
The display features assemblages from this region, the archaeological evidence dates back 50,000 years and the material presented represents the changing human history of the region moving through the last Ice Age.
Since 2003, Australian Museum scientists have been part of a team of Aboriginal Elders, National Parks and Wildlife staff and heritage specialists working to record and preserve the significant footprints.
Archives Collection Treasure Case
The Archives Treasure Case focusses on collecting nature in the 19th century. It highlights the diverse nature of the AM’s Archives collection and compliments the archival material objects featured as Object Treasures on the Ground Floor.
The display features some of the oldest objects in the Archives which date from the time of the Long Gallery’s early years, including:
• fieldwork objects such as binoculars and microscopes
• a newly acquired collecting box
Arachnology Collection Treasure Case
The AM’s Arachnology collection includes arachnids (spiders and their relatives), myriapods (centipedes and millipedes and their relatives), onychophorans (velvet worms), and tardigrades (water bears).
The major portion of the collection – at over 90 per cent – is spiders (Araneae). The emphasis of the collection is on New South Wales fauna, although there are significant holdings from other states and regions.
Highlights include the world’s largest collection of Australian funnel-web spiders and one of the largest collection of harvestmen in Australia. The spider collection also includes examples of the world's most primitive living spiders, the Liphistiids from Southeast Asia.
The Arachnology Collection Treasure Case focusses on Australian Spiders which is a key topic of interest to our visitors. Australia's spiders come in a startling variety of colours, shapes and sizes. The majority of AM research in arachnology is also based around Australian Spiders.
Entomology Collection Treasure Case
Entomology is the study of insects. The AM’s Entomology collection contains mostly Australian species but there is a strong non-Australian representation of beetles, psocids (booklice), flies, butterflies and moths. The collection also has many undescribed species and species found in no other collections.
The Entomology Collection Treasure Case focusses on Christmas Beetles. Christmas beetles in Australia are large and often abundant, although there is strong evidence of a decline in the major cities. Australian Museum scientists have recently studied the Christmas beetles, discovering new species.
Herpetology Collection Treasure Case
The AM’s Herpetology collection contains most known Australian species of amphibian and reptile. Reptiles are the major group represented – over 65 per cent of the total collection – with lizards making up the majority of these specimens.
The amphibian collection is extensive in its coverage of species at both a national and broader Australasian level. It contains representatives of frog species that are now extinct. The AM also has an extensive type collection.
At a regional level the collection is primarily Australian-based. While over a third comes from New South Wales, others come from biodiversity 'hotspots' in northern Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. There are also extensive collections from the Pacific region, most notably from New Guinea and New Caledonia, and from Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam.
The Herpetology Collection Treasure Case features freshwater turtles. Australia is home to over 20 species of freshwater turtles, with 7 in NSW. The display highlights stories about the impact of humans on these animals.
Ichthyology Treasure Case
Ichthyology is the study of fishes including bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and rays.
The AM’s Ichthyology collection, which dates from 1858, contains more than 1.8 million adult and larval fish specimens from around the world.
The scientifically priceless type collection is the fourth largest in the world and contains over 12,000 specimens.
The Ichthyology Treasure Case features a display of spectacular skeletons that focuses on what skeletons reveal about the lifestyle of a fish. Specimens displayed include:
Silver Dory, Cyttus australis
Opah, Lampris guttatus
Common Stargazer, Kathetostoma laeve
Brown Remora, Remora remora
Longfin Eel, Anguilla reinhardtii
Old Wife, Enoplosus armatus
Malacology Collection Treasure Case
Malacology is the study of molluscs such as shellfish, snails, slugs, octopuses and squid.
The AM’s extensive collection includes more than 800,000 specimen lots (two or more specimens of a species stored together) and more than 4 million specimens, as well as recent fossils and a library of scientific papers and books.
Due to the historical depth of the collection, it’s a valuable reference for studying the effects of change over time, such as climate change, which affects the size and distribution of molluscs over time.
The Malacology Collection Treasure Case features a variety of specimens, illustrating the diversity of the collection – dry, wet, large and small.
Mammalogy Collection Treasure Case
The AM’s Mammalogy collection is one of the most comprehensive collections of Australasian mammals in the world. Some of the biggest collections are from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.
Among the most important specimens in the collection are the more than 400 type specimens (types are the original specimens on which the first description of a particular species or subspecies is based). Most are from Australia, although there are also many from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia.
Other important specimens are the extinct species about which little is known, such as the Pig-footed Bandicoot, Eastern Hare-wallaby, and the Thylacine.
The Mammalogy Collection Treasure Case focuses on marine mammals – from sealions to dolphins, whales, dugongs and walruses.
The display showcases their skulls, highlighting their amazing jaws and teeth, and what these reveal about the animal, and also how scientists examine skeletons for clues about lifestyle and diet.
Marine Invertebrates Collection Treasure Case
The AM’s Marine Invertebrates contains specimens from most major marine invertebrate groups including:
• sea stars
• sea urchins
• sea squirts
• sponges and
• polychaetes (marine segmented worms).
It also includes some freshwater and terrestrial examples. The research using this collection provides information to aid fisheries management, environmental impact monitoring, pest control, conservation biology and establishment of marine protected areas or national parks.
The Marine Invertebrates Collection Treasure Case showcases the diversityof the collection through a display of a variety of dry, wet, large and small specimens.
Mineralogy Collection Treasure Case
The AM’s Mineralogyand Petrology collections are the oldest museum geological collections in Australia (dating from the 1830s) and the mineral component is the largest in the country. They contain about 59,700 minerals, 570 gemstones, 19,200 rocks, 770 meteorites and 2500 tektites. There are about 1515 mineral species and 10 type mineral specimens.
Collection highlights include the world-famous Albert Chapman mineral collection (820 specimens), minerals from Broken Hill, New England and Cobar NSW, Chillagoe Qld, Australian gold, sapphires and opals, E Australian zeolites, and Australian and overseas gemstones and carved/polished ornamentals.
The Mineralogy Collection Treasure Case focuses on Broken Hill minerals. The huge 300 million tonne, boomerang-shaped Broken Hill orebody was discovered in 1883. It was one of the world’s richest lead-zinc-silver deposits and also mined for copper. It is one of the great world deposits of exceptional crystallised mineral specimens, many from the oxidized zone of the orebody. It is renowned for its large number of mineral species (at least 280) and for its chemical diversity. Eleven mineral species were discovered there for the first time. Broken Hill minerals are world-famous and are part of Australia’s mining and scientific heritage.
Ornithology Collection Treasure Case
The AM’s Ornithology (birds) collection is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It contains a large variety of bird skins, mounts, skeletons, eggs, nests, spirit specimens and tissue samples, representing approximately 95 per cent of the world's bird families.
The collection has great historical and scientific significance. It contains many rare, endangered and extinct species plus a significant number of type specimens, primarily from Australia and the Pacific Islands. As many specimens date from the mid 1860s, some even earlier, the collection affords us an insight into avian biology, morphology, anatomy and geographical distributions over time.
The Ornithology Collection Treasure Case focusses on Australian Raptors. The display will showcase these impressive animals and will address the confusion about relationships between owls, eagles and falcons (and frogmouths). It will also highlight the AM’s current research innovation on foot morphology in raptors.