One of 27 hand-coloured species distribution maps used as part of the new interpretation strategy employed by Baldwin Spencer and James Kershaw when the museum re-opened at the Russell Street campus in 1900, These cards and their assigned displays were in McCoy Hall, see attached image of McCoy Hall. the labels can be seen in the glass cabinets.

Printed map and text with hand written species information,

Physical Description

Printed map and text with handwritten species information. Rectangular sepia paper labels with hand-coloured distribution maps used in the gallery to illustrate distribution of species. Red hand-coloured for species area. Fading on bottom where frame may have been.


The labels in the Historic Exhibition Labels Collection illustrate the changing styles in didactic interpretation, aesthetics and approaches to audience engagement throughout the history of Museums Victoria. From the earliest days of the National Museum of Victoria in the mid 1800s through the various incarnations of the Applied Sciences collection through to the amalgamation of all the branches into Museums Victoria, the labels chart a course through the changes in audience needs and desires in Victoria and across the museums' various sites. There are beautiful examples of hand written nineteenth century labels, some examples of extremely long didactic panels from the early twentieth century, and rare and unusual fonts in the mid twentieth century. The collection also illustrates the transition from hand-written labels to the use of typewriters, then lettera set and ultimately printed labels, culminating in the large format digital print room being introduced at Melbourne Museum in 2000.

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