Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Natural History Museum

Today, for the first time since my childhood, I visited the Natural History Museum in London with the Earth Soc. I won't say much about it, if you want to know more then visit it, you will not regret it. I also recommend the book Dry Store Room No. 1 by Richard Fortey and the recent BBC series Museum of Life. I want to live there. The architecture is phenomenal, resembling a cathedral in many ways, Richard Owen likely did see it as a place to worship the work of the Creator after all. I understand why Darwin takes centre stage, but it is a shame that Richard Owen is tucked away, hidden from the main hall, considering his role in the museum's history.

I need to go back again as I did not have the time to see it all. I went on the behind the scenes tour of the spirit collection which was fascinating. I visited the mammal section where there seemed to be a model of a whale with Down's syndrome. I wasn't too impressed with the cocoon, it seemed like an attempt to be really hi-tech. We spent quite a lot of time in the dinosaur section, admiring the gorgeous dromaeosaurs, the allosaur skeleton, and even an old favourite of mine Tuojiangosaurus (toe-wang-uh-saw-us). For some odd reason we decided to search for the Archaeopteryx lithographica specimen, despite knowing that it was a cast and that the university has casts of it which we see every day. We dawdled in the mineralogy section (which sent us a bit nerdy). Then we rushed through many galleries, attempting to admire Mesozoic marine reptiles whilst practically running, pausing to quickly ogle trilobites and pose next to a big chunk of haematite, until eventually we looked at the cast for about 10 seconds then left for the gift shop. Some day I shall return and dawdle around these sections.

This has been a bit of a ramble, I don't intend to describe my entire visit, everyone should have their own experience of the place. Go! Now!

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