Into the Wilderness

Wildnerness python

Ah, the rough-smooth joy of snakeskin. Who could resist a little stroke? Well, a few people definitely can it seems (ophidiophobics), but certainly not this young chap. Along with hundreds of other visitors, this family stopped by at the Oxford University Museums yurt at this year’s Wilderness Festival where we spent four great days showing off objects from the collections and indulging in a bit of festival craft.

Wilderness signThe weather was kind, and armed with a brilliant team of volunteers and festival-hardy staff we welcomed costumed, painted and be-masked revelers to our tent to learn about the museums and get up close to some great objects. Outside in the sunshine, people whiled away the day making Pitt Rivers Museum-inspired hats, Museum of the History of Science planispheres and our own peacock headdresses.

Peacock headdress
Peacock headdress

We had a really positive response to everyone who came along and joined in with the activities, and although I shouldn’t brag, this is a nice comment from one parent which I will share:

We had a really fantastic time at the Oxford University Museum area. They love making Napoelon style hats which kept them occupied for ages. They also really enjoyed looking at the bugs and inspecting the snake skin. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful – they had a great rapport with the kids and were a friendly team. Please come again next year!” – Mother and two daughters, aged 8 and 6.

As for Wilderness itself, things took a rather stranger and more adult turn after nightfall as the Bacchanalian Masked Ball got into full swing in a hitherto hidden vale amongst the lantern-lit trees. No record exists of that portion of the evening but suffice to say that visions were beheld and morning heads were a little sore.

The camp
Investigating the collections
Insect drawer
The pinned insect drawer
Rock python
The ever-popular rock python skin (so long it didn’t fit in the tent!)

Thanks to everyone who came to help out, and to everyone who visited on the day. And thanks to the Wilderness Festival team for setting us up with a lovely green yurt as our base-camp.

More next year, perhaps…

Scott Billings, Communications coordinator

Thanks to Chris Wood for the photos.

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