Announcing the exhibition that will swarm into Melbourne Museum

Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers

Discover the adaptive genius of bugs at Melbourne Museum.

Dragonfly exhibit in Bug Lab.

Melbourne Museum has announced that it will host the Australian premiere of Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers – an immersive exhibition experience as told by a collection of insects from 23 June – 15 October 2017.

A creative collaboration between Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand, and Weta Workshop, Bug Lab will allow visitors to marvel at ultra-detailed large-scale models of bugs, discover cutting-edge science and explore the world as bugs do, through immersive sensory experiences.

A five time Academy Award-winning creative studio, Weta Workshop are best known as the creative wizards behind the vision, costumes and practical effects as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, King Kong, Avatar and District 9.

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 uncovers the adaptive genius of bugs, which over millions of years have evolved to have superpower abilities, including camouflage, mind control, super speed, swarm intelligence and deadly venom.

Bug Lab also highlights how bugs are the leading inspiration for cutting-edge technologies such as fly-like collision-tolerant drones, nanotechnology based on butterfly wings and 3D printed objects created from silk.

Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries said:

"Bug Lab is a great example of what can be created when different creative sectors collaborate. Utilising the techniques, technology and theatricality of one of the world's top special effects houses, the rigour of scientists and fantastic museum design and curation, it will offer an amazing interactive experience for all ages."

Lynley Marshall, CEO, Museums Victoria said the Bug Lab exhibition goes far beyond the realm of a regular natural history exhibition.

"We are delighted that Melbourne Museum is hosting the Australian premiere of Bug Lab. Te Papa and Weta Workshop have created a magical exhibition which allows audiences to zoom in on the incredibly fascinating world of bugs. It is sure to capture the imagination of museum visitors and get young people excited about science and technology."

Richard Taylor, Creative Director, Weta Workshop said Bug Lab was inspired by the bugs themselves.

"For 450 million years, bugs have been getting smarter. From brain surgery to teamwork to the power of flight – they really can do it all. Now they’re sharing their genius to help humans make the world a better place."

Ben Barraud, Head of Design, Te Papa said Bug Lab was an exhibition like no other.

"Bug Lab is a next-level experience with a huge wow factor for visitors. The exhibition is packed with fascinating science content, looking at how humans are adapting bug technology: from drones inspired by the humble housefly, to spider venom being used to treat cancer. We know how important science and technology education is for our future, and Te Papa's vision is to change hearts, minds and lives by presenting subjects in engaging ways. Bug Lab is going to get young people excited about those subjects"

Capturing a vivid glimpse into the genius of bugs, museum visitors will be guided through Bug Lab by four immersive chambers and six extraordinary bugs, 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 will also feature dozens of interactive experiences that offer museum visitors the chance to test their reflexes and practise bug brain surgery. Plus 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.

Visitors to Bug Lab will be able to make the most of a full-day out experience at Melbourne Museum. In partnership with Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers, Melbourne Museum’s IMAX theatre is screening Bugs: Mighty Micro Monsters 3D. This 45 minute documentary takes viewers on an unbelievable tour of the world beneath our feet, from the Kenya savannah to the tropical rainforests of North East Australia and further reveals the superpowers of bugs. Tickets are $10 for all Bug Lab visitors.

Afterwards visitors can head to Melbourne Museum’s permanent exhibition Bugs Alive! to get up close and personal with the real thing – live insects, spiders, snails and other bugs and learn more about their habitats, life cycles, social lives and how much humans depend on them.

Ten large-scale bug puppets including a mantis, wasp, spider and honeybees have been specially commissioned by Melbourne Museum. Unfortunately they have escaped into the city and the Melbourne Museum is hoping to round them up by the time of the opening on 23 June! Keep an eye out for them on Melbourne Museum social media.

Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers exhibition tickets on sale Sunday 7 May.

23 June – 15 October 2017
Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street Carlton
Tickets $13 - $28
Get tickets

Interviews, images, vision and further information is available.

Ben Starick
Starling Communications
0411 029 393
[email protected]

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