The Western Australian Museum are getting ready to build a New Museum for Western Australia, and an initial step in this process is to decant the thousands of specimens and objects from the WA Museum – Perth into safe storage at the Collections and Research Centre (CRC) in Welshpool. This article explores the history and decant of the Mammal Gallery, with insights from Western Australian Museum Mammology Dr Kenny Travouillon.

Western Australian Museum Curator of Mammology, Dr Kenny Travouillon will be overseeing the decant of the Mammal Gallery, starting in February 2016. The mounts in the mammal gallery are quite old, with many prepared over 100 years ago and unable to be replaced, so we have to be very careful when packing them.

“The mammal gallery is significant because of its history, being one of the oldest in the museum, and the collection of mounts include rare and extinct species,” said Kenny Travouillon.

The Mammal Gallery decant team will face some very large challenges throughout the process of removing specimens from the Museum and into safe storage.

Hefty mammals, such as the elephant and bison, will take a lot of manpower to muscle out of the Gallery. Several years ago, the bison was moved to its current position, and this feat took 10 people to achieve. Luckily, the decant team will have help from professional movers this time, but Kenny Travouillon still foresees that these especially big mammals will definitely be a challenge to the team.

There are many other important specimens in the Mammal Gallery aside from the heavyweights. Kenny points to the Thylacine as his favourite item in the gallery.

…he [the Thylacine specimen] is one of the few that remains in museums around the world. It reminds me of our duty to keep species alive through conservation.

The last known individual of the Thylacine died in captivity in Hobart Zoo in 1936, and so mounted specimens are an important link to understanding such species that have disappeared from our planet forever.

Read more about the Mammal Gallery here.