Opening of Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers

Orchid Mantis in bug lab, Image Credit: Joel Checkley

Experience the latest international touring exhibition at Melbourne Museum and journey through the world of bugs as imagined by the creative team behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

From now until 15 October 2017, Melbourne Museum has opened the doors to the Australian premiere of Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers – an exquisitely crafted and spectacular world of bugs where museum visitors can immerse themselves in the fascinating science of entomology and learn how these little creatures have inspired cutting-edge science and technology.

Imagined and conceived by Weta Workshop, the five time Academy Award-winning creative studio behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar and District 9, and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in New Zealand, Bug Lab opens museum visitors eyes to the micro world beneath our feet through ultra-detailed large-scale bug models and interactive experiences, activity tables and real specimens.

Featuring six large-scale bugs – orchid mantis, bombardier beetle, jewel wasp, dragonfly, japanese honeybees and katipō (New Zealand’s most dangerous native spider) – Bug Lab lifts the lid on the genius of bugs, which over millions of years have evolved to have superpower-like abilities, including camouflage, mind control, super speed, swarm intelligence and deadly venom.

With more than 2,000 individual pieces that took almost 200 Weta Workshop technicians over 40,000 hours of work over six months, Bug Lab also highlights how bugs are inspiring cutting-edge technologies such as fly-like collision-tolerant drones, nanotechnology based on butterfly wings and 3D printed objects created from silk.

Over winter and spring, there will be a hive of bug related activity at Melbourne Museum – as well as experiencing Bug Lab, museum visitors can also see the permanent exhibition Bugs Alive! and for an extra $10, can head to IMAX Melbourne to view Bugs: Might Micro Monsters 3D.

Bugs Alive! allows museum visitors to get up close and personal with real bugs including stick insects, beetles, snails, spiders and learn about their habitats, life cycles, social lives and how much humans depend on them.

Bugs: Might Micro Monsters 3D is a 45 minute documentary which takes viewers on an unbelievable tour of the world beneath our feet, from the Kenya savannah to the tropical rainforests of North East Australia, to further revel in the superpowers of bugs.

Specially commissioned by Melbourne Museum, a group of large-scale bug puppets that represent each of the bugs featured in Bug Lab will be let loose in the museum on Sundays in August 2017 and September 2017 between 1 –3pm.

Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers

Guided by the bugs themselves, museum visitors can experience four immersive chambers and meet six extraordinary bugs crafted by the creative wizards at Weta Workshop, including the orchid mantis, an insect which hunts prey disguised as a beautiful flower; the bombardier beetle with its incredible ability to defend by firing a near-boiling spray at aggressors; and the jewel wasp which can use its venom to paralyse and control its prey.

Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers will also feature dozens of interactive experiences, activity tables and real specimens accompanied by a wealth of layered secrets. Smaller visitors will be provided for with pre-school friendly activity tables and a beetle slide with coloured lights and sound effects.

23 June – 15 October 2017

Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street Carlton

Tickets $13 – $28

Source: Museums Victoria

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