Natural History Museum, London.
When you think about museums, what do you normally imagine? What do you normally see hanging in frames, lining the walls, or staring up at you from the finger-print dotted cases? How do they sound, and how do they visually entice you?
For me, I always imagine informative yet somewhat dull halls. Often quiet and stifling, but also JAM PACKED with other souls looking to kill a rainy day. Staring blankly into the curves of the oil lines and taking in nothing, thinking nothing and leaving with a somewhat unimpressionable experience.
They’re not an activity I normally seek out, and not somewhere I would travel to with the sole purpose of visiting.
BUT, the Natural History Museum in London was different, and far exceeded my expectations in every way shape and form.
Every hall, every room, packed with displays that make you feel like a child again. Perhaps it’s because its not merely historical (those boring old oil paintings and roman statues) but plays on our human fascination to understand the world around us and how it works, and how everything interrelates.
There’s DINOSAURS for goodness sake. REAL! DINOSAUR! BONES! Life size T-rex’s that look down and you and make you feel part of the food chain. A life size Blue Whale along with full whale skeletons – where you can’t help but imagine being inside those great masses of ribs, whole!
The exhibits are interactive. You can touch items, open up ‘secret’ compartments, peer through telescopes, ride the escalator into ‘hell’ (centre of the earth), or watch videos and listen to AV recordings. Constantly encouraging you to ‘check-in’ to the items around you and become engaged in what you should be learning at ALL museums.
The building was stunning and historic, perfectly maintained and incorporating a perfect blend of the old and new. You can lose whole days in the maze of this world without realizing.
And believe it or not, the most interesting and exciting part of the offerings for me was… rocks! ROCKS!!! (You’re joking right?)
Gems stones of every variety. Hundreds and hundreds of displays. Diamonds, rubys, opals, fools gold, crystal stalagmites and stalactites of every colour, shape and texture. EVEN KRYPTONITE! How on earth (silly pun) does this stuff form in the ground beneath our very feet as a result of heat and pressure? I have a friend who is a geologist and now I have a whole new respect for what he does.
So – if you want your mind blown, and an activity for all varieties of the human species, get down to the Natural History Museum and get amongst it!!!
Free except for the super special exhibitions.
1 piece of advise – go early in the day to avoid lines, and school holidays/public holidays it should be avoided at all costs unless you want 1hr + waits in the rain!