The Melbourne Museum is big. So big, that we didn't get to see all of it in the time we had allocated.
Firstly, the dinosaur exhibit.
We read all the information and looked at all the bones. The displays were very well made, with information about the era each dinosaur lived in, what they ate, and how they lived. We must have spent the first hour just reading all the information.
My thoughts and comments to my daughter Megan were that the timelines of the dinosaur age are just unfathomable when compared to the human timeline. We have been around for the blink of an eye, and managed to stuff up the environment in only a couple of hundred years. The dinosaurs were around for hundreds of millions of years and didn't manage to stuff anything up. Kudos to the dinosaurs!
We then looked at how old the earth was. It was old, like 4.5 billion years old. It surprised Ben, but I had already learnt this when I was his age!
From a globe of red hot magma, to a planet with water and continents supporting life. An amazing transformation, and somewhere amongst it all was life. Precious in all its forms.
Then into the mammal exhibition. Walking into a room full of preserved animals made me feel very sad. To think that many of these beasts are nearly extinct, because of our disregard for our actions, with no thought of the consequences. A barrel of fun to take to the museum, aren't I?
I spent a lot of time here looking and looking, with moist eyes. I didn't let the kids see though, as I didn't want to spoil their day out.
What did make me shed a tear was an exhibit at the entrance to this room. It was the Human Population Growth Exhibit. Here is a video of it.
It really made me think, because I have never seen it represented so graphically. I stood there for a good ten minutes watching it over and over again. Observe the years (AD) and the dots which represent a million people grow exponentially after 1900. The good thing was that the exhibit had text below it that talked about overpopulation, resource depletion and climate change, and the impact upon the planet that we are causing.
You know, if someone from outer space was observing this, it would appear that we are a virus on the face of the earth, multiplying until we kill the host. Quite shocking really, all driven by cheap energy and the surplus of food via the green revolution. If we didn't have access to oil or coal, our growth may have slowly increased to a steady state. We may have lived lighter on the planet (or not).
Anyway, I explained this to Ben, but I think it went over his head.
We wandered through the human body display for a while, then into the forest. The forest was full of insects, tortoises, frogs, and I am sure many other animals. This really cheered me up, and was most peaceful.
So what did I learn from my trip to the museum? Well, I learnt that if we don't stop our system of economic growth soon, our civilization will be the one that alien archaeologists will be digging up in a few hundred thousand years (we may not be around any more), trying to figure out where we went wrong and how we were so short-sighted. They would probably think that we were a monumentally stupid race, expanding and destroying until we, like a virus, killed our own habitat.
It makes me shudder. Am I the only one who visits a museum and thinks like this during a visit? Sometimes I think all this truth and reality is doing my head in.