Aquamare

13 December, 2019

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Landesmuseum Joanneum, A-8010 Graz
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Landesmuseum Joanneum, 8010 Graz

From 12 May 2005 to 01 November 2005, the exhibition "Das Meer im Zimmer"- Von Tintenschnecken und Muscheltieren"
took place at the Landesmuseum Joanneum, Museumsgebäude Raubergasse 10, A-8010 Graz.

Registered 17.402 visitors showed great interest and particularly the two octopus (Octopus vulgaris), which were named "Thadäus" und "Tintenfaxl" by children, were favourites of all.

Abb.: "Gewöhnlicher Kalmar", lat. "Loligo Vulgaris". Squid are molluscs with 10 arms. (© Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Bildarchiv)

Nautilus and clam, purple murex and conch: The extensive collection of molluscs housed by the museum is exceptionally beautiful and this exhibition showed both the historical dimension as well as the status quo.

Tintenschnecken

 

A large number of molluscs, such as clams, snails and octopus can be found in the Zoological Department of the museum. Shells were the first pieces that were collected and housed by the Museum Joanneum, which was founded in 1811. Over the course of time, the collection of molluscs grew to many thousand objects, the habitats of the pieces are dispersed around the world.j Besides the world's largest mussel (the shell of "Tridacna gigans" weighs 90 kg) and the largest snail, the collection includes tiny snails that are just a few millimeter in size. Although different in size, all shells impress by the variety of grow habits and colours.

A 4.000 litre mediterranean aquarium, which was reconstructed by aquamare, was the very heart of the exhibition. It represented both the history of the museum and the historical era of the Danube monarchy when Austria had acess to the sea : Gottlieb Marktanner-Turneretscher, then curator of the Museum Joanneum, had financed large mediterranean aquariums with his own resources. The aquariums had been located at the original building of the museum in Raubergasse in Graz and had been seen by thousands of curious visitors between 1899 and 1907. Ventilated tanks had been built to transport sea water and livestock by train from the Zoological Department of Trieste to Graz. It had been quite difficult to move the tanks up to the second floor. In 1907, the aquariums had been removed due to lack of financial resources - the exhibition "Meer im Zimmer" revived those former visitor attractions.

 

Historical forms of presentation as well as historical thought forms were also subject of this exhibition, so to say as a "museum of the museum": objects of the collecion of molluscs were combined with traditional inventory (like coral colonies, a tooth of a narwhal or a processed shell) from so called "Wunderkammern" (Cabinet of Curiosites) and a "portrait" from a collection of conchylia, dating from the 17th century (conchylia is the former biological name of molluscs).