Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Wild Planet

Sheldon Teare, natural science conservator at the Australian Museum working on a young emu specimen. Source: The SMH. Photo: Tony Walters.

Peter Munro, Australian Museum’s Wild Planet exhibition brings dead beasts to life, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 June 2015

The small frozen emu is getting heavy in his hands, so Sheldon Teare puts it down while we wait for the elevator. The little critter has spent the week at minus 18 degrees and looks kinda peaceful, all stiff and cold, with its head fixed low as if foraging for food.

“I will be cleaning a sperm whale skeleton on Monday,” says Teare, making small talk. He’ll use a vacuum and big brush on its bones. “It could take maybe three, four hours to dust it,” he says. “I must admit, I have never done it.”

Condensation forms on the emu’s plastic wrapping as we go upstairs, along bright-lit corridors that stink of moth balls, to the conservation room, where there’s a cabinet crammed with curiosities: an expired armadillo, pangolin, giant forest scorpion and an underwhelming ibis.

A scruffy stuffed thylacine lies on a table, awaiting repairs.

The animals are being assembled, thawed, dusted, mended and spruced for the Australian Museum‘s new permanent Wild Planet exhibition, which will feature more than 400 beasties from around the world.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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