Monday, December 30, 2013

The South Australian Museum ... Part Two

Destination: the South Australian Museum...
The T-Rex standing vigil on the door --
The Baleen Cafe, with the museum's "little shop" just to the left...
The view from the foyer, across the gardens to North Terrace. Hot out there, cool inside!
An allosaurus skeleton poises, ready to pounce, above the information desk
The other end of the beautiful glass foyer ... let the exhibits begin!
The Polynesian collection is vast and fascination --
-- you could spend an hour on this display alone.
It wouldn't be a museum without an Egyptian room, right? Mummies and all!
The fossil collection is reminiscent of fractal artwork... 
Whale baleen on display down by the Baleen Cafe.
Amazing malachite ... this piece of from Burra, which we visited back in April of 2013.
The bronze in the foyer --
-- and the "Thunder Egg" geode in the geology display, not to mention...
...the crystal that looks like it came right from Mars!
The skeleton of a sea turtle is very old, but not as old as --
-- a perfect fossilized trilobite, one of many species that abounded in our waters.
A couple of years ago the museum hosted the Wildlife of Gondwana exhibition --

Thanks for visiting the South Australian museum ... come back soon!
Every time you visit the museum, you wonder where four hours vanished to -- it's so easy to lose track of time. These images were gathered on several visits, most notably the Wildlife of Gondwana display of 2010, for which a massive hardcover book was produced. We indulged in a copy at the "little shop" on the way out. Copies are still circulating -- give Amazon a shot. The display/show was designed by Monash University, and in fact has a permanent page on their site. For a cool sixty grand, in Aussie dollars, you can hire it, complete with three specialist technicians who come out to install it, including setup and takedown. It really was amazing.

And of course, what you see above doesn't even scratch the surface of what's actually in the museum on a permanent basis. One of the most fascinating displays is of the history of Antarctic exploration and settlement, but the light levels there are prohibitively low. Photography is allowed inside the museum, but flash isn't (duh), and with the flash turned off, it's very difficult to get images at all, much less good ones.

(The cameras we use are Fuji, ranged over several generations of development, and it's interesting to see how different cameras handle the challenge of low-light different ways. Most images on this post were captured with the Fuji Finepix HS10, which is now waaay obsolete, of course. The HS50EXR is the current model ... with 16 MPs, 3" LCD, 42x Optical Zoom ... droool!)

Soon enough, you find yourself making your way back to the tram ... rush hour traffic is starting, with the sun angling down and the streets hot, dusty. Or you might have visited the museum in the dead of winter, and you'll be rushing through the rain to get back to the tram stop. Then, a ride back to Glenelg with the early commuters. Might even have learned a thing or two!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Heading downtown to the South Australian Museum ... by tram! Part One

The South Australian Museum ... great place to be on a hot day!
Ten thousand fascinating things ... plus fantastic air conditioning!
The T-Rex gatekeeper: welcome to the museum! But first ... gotta get there. So --
Catch the tram from Glenelg, over on the coast. You don't want to drive downtown!
Watch out for the tram. They come along every 10 minutes, but when you're waiting it seems sooo long.
Aha, here comes a tram! Too bad it's on the wrong track. It'll go down to the Bay -- the seashore -- and return...
...there it goes, heading down Jetty Road to Moseley Square, near the sea -- about a kilometer away. Patience!
A half hour later, here we are getting off the tram, on Adelaide's North Terrace --
Get ready for traffic! This is why you don't want to be driving downtown --
-- though, the buses are colorful. That's the Tour Downunder advertisement. And see where this bus is going?!
North Terrace is a visual feast of classical architecture --
-- as you walk down to the museum and art gallery, remember to look up.
There's also a wealth of statuary. This cavalry memorial is photogenic from any angle. 
The statue of Aphrodite was the first piece of public art
ever presented to the City of Adelaide ... considered scandalous in its day!
Matthew Flinders, RN. From 1801 to 1803 he commanded the first ship to
circumnavigate Australia.
Victorian era bronze statuary ... wish I'd taken notes!
Advance Australia ... just so you know where you are, right?
The National War Memorial ... the image hardly does it justice.
At last, the museum! And after that hike, the first priority is lunch...
The Baleen Cafe is right there in the museum frontage ...
Nice menu, good prices, and great a/c ... the Baleen Cafe at the museum.
Ooooh, smell that coffee! But we didn't come here just for lunch -- we wanted to see stuff, like...
Dinosaur skeletons: cryolophosaurus, an Antarctic dinosaur... 
...the largest ammonite ever discovered...
...amazing geology from all over the state and country...
...and the wonderful, exotic South Pacific collection. 

There's no better way to escape the heat than to spend a day at the museum ... the only challenge being, you have to get there first. There's a good bus service, but the tram is actually better, and "different." Adelaide has one of the last tram services left in the world. It's a pity they're disappearing, because they're a marvelous cross between bus and train.

The images in this post (and Part Two, tomorrow) are actually from several trips and visits to the museum. Some of the exhibits might have changed, but much doesn't -- can't -- change; and certainly the tram ride is pretty much the same no matter when you do it.

The new trams are very quiet. One has memories of "the old rattlers" which we rode for -- how many decades? Some of those trams were running for most of a century. They probably needed retiring, but they'll be missed. Here was the original, now antique tram --

--and not for nothing were they known as "rattlers!" The new trams are smooth, silent, and actually a pleasure to ride in, but they haven't the character of the old ones. Give 'em fifty years!

You can catch the tram from any part of the route from Glenelg onward. We usually find parking in Glenelg and watch for the next one at the tram stop at the top end of Jetty Road, Glenelg. From there, it must be something like twenty minutes to downtown, and then a hike down North Terrace. The State Library, museum, art gallery, University of Adelaide, Royal, Adelaide Hospital and the botanic gardens are all laid out in a neat row on the north side of the Terrace ... you can't get lost.

First: lunch at the Baleen Cafe: coffee, soup of the day or fish'n'chips, or a Greek salad perhaps, and cool off before heading onward and inward.

In tomorrow's post we'll go inside the museum: dinosaurs, geology, and coolness, while outside it's sizzling...
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