Touring exhibition: Spiders – From Fear to Fascination
Come face-to-face with over 250 real spider specimens and live exhibits!
Spiders – From Fear to Fascination is a face-to-face interactive encounter with over 250 real spider specimens, live exhibits and rigorous contemporary science. This combination of immersion and information showcases the latest spider science that allows the visitor an up-close glimpse into the fascinating world of spiders.
Scope & themes
Spiders is divided into five engaging key areas, guiding visitors through the habits and instincts of these fascinating arachnids in detail. To demonstrate the information in each section, a combination of text, graphics, specimens, multimedia and interactives have been carefully curated.
Live spiders are displayed throughout the exhibition, giving audiences an opportunity to see spiders that they may not encounter in day to day life up close. See the golden silk orbweaver, known for its shining gold-coloured web; observe the western black widow, infamous for its potent venom; or stand directly under the domed structure of a tent-web spider’s real web.
In addition to live specimens, there are a multitude of preserved specimens which have been collected specifically for this show. Hundreds of immaculately dried spiders are presented under microscopes and in scenery.
Audiences can watch videos and explore touchscreens interactives to discover information at their own pace. Watch a time-lapse of a tarantula spider moulting its skin or listen to Australian Aboriginal artist and Bush Doctor Illuwanti Ken describe the medical uses of spider webs.
To animate the exhibition, a variety of augmented reality and interactives components bring activity and movement to the show. Upon entering, walk across a forest floor filled with scattering spiders. See how they crawl towards you or run away from your step! Bring an animated spider to life with augmented reality, or colour in a spider illustration and watch it crawl about on the big screen. Visitors can also compete to attract a spider mate by dancing like a jumping spider in the Dance Off interactive – there can only be one winner!
The exhibition also features a programming space at its centre, the Venom Lab. This unique multi-functional area can be a space for visitors to get up-close to watch venom milking demonstrations, arachnologists at work or handling of live spiders.
Spiders has information accessible for people across all ages and interests. Games are designed for engaging learning and multi-player use. Robust contemporary science is conveyed through models, microscopic images and a variety of clearly designed text panels. Visitors can learn about the culture and context around spiders and our fascination with them, and whether or not they really should be so feared.
Visitors can personalise their experience by also downloading the Spiders mobile phone app. Using augmented reality, bring animated spiders to life throughout the exhibition and keep playing even after you leave!
What are spiders?
The visitor to Spiders – From Fear to Fascination is dared to enter into the world of hunting, burrowing and weaving spiders and learn the origin of arachnids from a time before dinosaurs.
Where are spiders?
The diversity of spiders is a major theme of the exhibition and a family tree begins the journey into understanding some of the 48,000 + species from around the world. Spiders inhabit just about every corner of the globe and the range of habitats can be explored through touchscreens with audio visual content and interactive spider environments.
Reproduction & growth
Stunning world first footage of the phenomenal 3mm long Peacock Spider and his mating ritual introduce the visitor to the dangerous world of spider reproduction.
Diet, jaws & venom
Just how these creatures have survived millions of years all over the world is unveiled through an explanation of venom, silk, movement, vision and vibrations. This content involves hands-on interactives, models and live exhibits.
Spider science discoveries
There is a constant stream of new science discoveries in the field of arachnology and venom and silk technologies that are highlighted in the exhibition with interviews with scientists and remarkable film footage. Traditional Indigenous knowledge systems are also included to add to our understanding of spiders, silk and venom.
Venue gallery size: 5,000 – 8,000 sq ft. Flexible configuration
Venue veiling height: 14 ft recommended
Conservation & security: staff required to maintain the care & display of the live exhibits
Standard rental length: 3 month minimum
Install and de-install time: up to 10 working days for each
Freight: exhibition travels in 3 x 53 ft trailers & 1 x 20 ft climate-controlled vehicle for specimens. Crates require storage.
Language: British English and French. Language translations are available.
Educate and engage your audiences with these exciting education programs.
Borrow our Spiders Museum in a Box®. Each box contains a collection of real Museum specimens and objects, education resources, dioramas and information.
- 16 June 2018 to 6 January 2019 – Royal Ontario Museum
- 18 April to 2 September 2019 – Montreal Science Centre
- 17 June to 8 October 2023 – North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
- 10 February to 5 May 2024 - Booked
- 28 September 2024 to 5 January 2025 - Booked
Watch the spiders come to life!
Scan spiders and image tokens using the app to bring them to life.Download the app
Make an enquiry
For more information on the Australian Museum touring exhibitions, please contact:
Louise Teteris, Touring Exhibitions Coordinator, Australian Museum
Christi Klingelhefer, Evergreen Exhibitions via email or call +1 210 582 0015