Seen anything unusual in town recently? If you’re a resident or visitor in Oxford you may have noticed that some strange things have popped up around the city centre. A naked ape-man on the corner of Broad Street and Cornmarket, for example; or a Utahraptor dinosaur in Blackwell’s children’s section. You see, the Museum has had some escapees while we’ve been closed, in a project we’ve called Goes to Town.
Every night, as everyone knows, the specimens in the Museum come alive. And they got talking. And they soon realised they were jealous of their colleagues who had escaped to gallivant around town. In fact, they got so restless being pent up inside the closed Museum, that in the end we thought it best to take them out for a pint.
So, over the past four weeks, members of the Education team and some super volunteers have been heading out to local Oxford pubs, armed with some great specimens to show off to unsuspecting pub-goers. But that’s not all – for Museum Goes for a Pint we’ve also been hosting our very own natural history-themed pub quiz!
Each week, we have either joined a pub’s regular quiz, or compiled our own special event. We arrive around 7pm and chat to people in the bar about the Museum and its collections, before diving into the quiz around 8pm. Quiz rounds have been roughly based on the pubs themselves (‘rusty’ coloured animals at the Rusty Bicycle; oak tree teasers at the Royal Oak…you get the idea). We’ve had just as much fun writing the quizzes as we hope the quiz-goers have taking part.
The idea for Museum Goes for a Pint came from Kathy Clough, a project volunteer, shortly before the Museum closed for the roof repairs. It fit perfectly into our plans to get out and about in the city during the year.
We would like to thank the wonderful pubs who have hosted us so far: The Rusty Bicycle, Far From the Madding Crowd, James St Tavern, The Royal Oak and The Royal Blenheim.
But we’re still only half way through. We’ve got three pubs left to visit. So if you find yourself in the Eagle & Child next Wednesday, the Cape of Good Hope on Tuesday 26 November, or the Big Society on Monday 2 December, look out for some pink t-shirted individuals juggling barn owls and entomology trays.
If you’ve no other plans then do come along and join us. The quizzes are free, and different each week. And where else are you going to get a pint and a puffin?
Simone Dogherty, Education officer