The Museum has many years' experience in the preparation of large specimens, particularly whales, dating back to the 1880s. In the early 1980s a custom-built preparation facility was opened at the sewerage works at Bolivar. This is the best equipped facility for preparing large skeletons in the Southern Hemisphere. At present the Museum processes up to 40 marine mammals each year and in addition, does contract preparation for other institutions and private firms. The Facility is also available for hire.
About the Facility
In 1996 a large building was added to the Bolivar Facility to accommodate the whale and dolphin collections of skulls, skeletons and baleen. The massive size of the bones and sheer number of specimens are always a ‘hit’ when showing visitors around the Facility.
The facility was custom designed and built for the Museum in 1983 with a new collection storage area added in 1995. Among the many special features at the facility are heated macerating vats, gantry cranes and large animal dissecting equipment.
The facility is ideally situated just twenty kilometres north of Adelaide on the property of SA Water/United Water sewerage treatment works at Bolivar.
Potential Users of the Facility
Organisations or individuals who may require the services provided by the facility include: taxidermists, veterinarians, zoos, museums, fauna parks, horse-racing, game-fishing and film industries, government departments, providers of scientific resources, biology departments of colleges, universities and schools.
Contract Services Offered
The South Australian Museum offers a range of services at its skeleton preparation facility:
- Flensing animal carcasses (mammals, reptiles, birds and fish);
- Macerating (soaking in water for long periods) and cleaning skeletons;
- Scientific study of large vertebrates is carried out if requested, including measurements, photographs, dissections and removal of some internal organs.
Depending on the type and amount of material to be prepared, contracts can be completed in two to six months. Very large or difficult specimens and special requirements may take longer.
Work at the skeleton preparation facility is carried out by the Museum's Division of Science and is under the direction of the Collection Manager of Mammals.
Note: The facility is not licensed to prepare human skeletons.
Charges are based on the size of the object and the type and amount of preparation requested. Units of approximately 40 kg, or 60 x 40 x 40 cm, are used to estimate size and costs.
For further information on the S.A. Museum Skeleton Preparation Facility or for quotes, please contact the Mammals Collection Manager.