Newcastle Museum will be crawling with spiders and filled with butterflies!

19 Feb 2018

From 24 February to 29 April, Newcastle Museum will showcase two fascinating new exhibitions, Spiders and Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters.

"We're inviting everyone to come along and explore the amazing world of Spiders through interactive hands-on displays, cutting edge science and even live spiders," said Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

Also on exhibition is the remarkable work of Novocastrian sisters Harriet and Helena Scott, who collected, studied and drew the butterflies and botany of New South Wales in precise detail during the mid-1800s.

Spiders are awesome - they can spin webs, climb, swim, dance, parachute and they can even drop a limb when threatened and grow it back. Found on every continent in the world except Antarctica, spiders are one of nature’s great success stories.

"Spiders will be a once in a lifetime experience, with engaging and fun interactives for all ages," said Museum Manager Julie Baird. "It will amuse, educate, and excite you, whether you're already a fan or you're curious to learn more about these remarkable creatures."

Exhibition highlights:

  • Explore many facets of spider ecology, from reproduction to their specialised jaws and silk.
  • Come and see live specimens of some of Australia's most famous spiders. Each spider is housed in its own specialised habitat.
  • As premier invertebrate hunters, spiders possess amazing senses. Find out how they see and feel the world around them, seeking their prey and mates in a massive world.
  • Spiders are found everywhere and in far higher quantities than you might expect. Explore spider distribution in Australia and find out what’s in your backyard.

The Spiders exhibition is developed and toured by the Australian Museum and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre.

When: 24 February to 29 April 2018

Where: Newcastle Museum

Cost: Children (3+) $7 Adults $15 Concession $10 Family (2 adults & 2 kids) $35

Transformations - Art of the Scott Sisters

With their collecting boxes, notebooks and paintbrushes, Harriet and Helena Scott entered the masculine world of science and became two of 19th-century Australia’s most prominent natural history illustrators.

"From the 1850s, the Scott sisters collected, studied and drew the butterflies and botany of New South Wales in precise detail," said Julie Baird. "Together they produced an archive of more than 600 intricate and beautiful paintings and drawings."

"These two women are truly little-known treasures of Newcastle's history," she added.

The family moved from Sydney to their property on Ash Island, part of modern-day Kooragang Island, in the Hunter River in 1846, and both pursued their interest in natural history. Their drawings of Ash Island's flora and fauna have become historically important in the revegetation of Newcastle’s Kooragang Wetlands.

The Scott family was prominent in Newcastle. The sisters' father, Alexander Walker Scott, was a councillor, parliamentarian, farmer and businessman, and our city's Scott Street was named in his honour.

See the collection of their work at Newcastle Museum and learn about the history of these remarkable sisters.

When: 24 February to 29 April 2018
Where: Newcastle Museum
Cost: FREE