What a week indeed. As the dust settles on our reopening celebrations, it’s a chance to step back and regard the blur of activity that has whipped through the Museum since 7am on Saturday 15 February.
As dawn broke on that stormy, flooded, grey and windy morning people were already standing outside in the cold waiting to tuck in to their breakfast bacon bap in the new Museum Café. At first it was a trickle of visitors, but then it was a deluge… People swarmed to the Museum in droves, with more than 5,300 visitors by the end of the first day alone.
The buzz made for a fantastic event, with live music provided by The Alternotives (in full flow in the picture above) and The Knights of Mentis. Staff were on-hand in bright green T-shirts to welcome people and to carry around some intriguing specimens from the collections. There was the ever-popular live bug-handling and generally much merriment occurred.
The frenetic pace continued through the week, with the half-term rush hot on the heels of the reopening day. By the end of the first week more than 30,000 people had been through the doors, which is without a doubt a record for us and way more than we anticipated.
During half term, hundreds of children (and quite possibly a few parents) made Dodo masks and T. rex finger puppets at our Family Friendly activity; then later in the week there was the rather terrifying surprise appearance of creatures from the Dinosaur Zoo stage show. A five metre Australovenator ‘puppet’ marauded through the court, scattering children as it went and earning us a nice spot on the local TV news. The Dinosaur Zoo was visiting the Museum ahead of shows at Oxford’s New Theatre in April, so check that out if you missed the action here.
With around 4,000 visitors a day during the week we have been somewhat taken aback by the enthusiasm that greeted the reopening of the Museum, and at times it has been a struggle to accommodate everyone, especially in the predictably popular café.
And with a faulty lift and some plumbing difficulties in the toilets there have been challenges along the way. If you visited and some things weren’t quite working properly, apologies. We have been busily sorting everything out all week, so hopefully the teething troubles have now passed.
Now it’s back to business – no more scaffolding, no more stories from the roof rafters and no more Darkened not dormant, our closure blog. Instead we’ll be telling you about what’s going on at the Museum here, on our new permanent blog. There are lots of events coming up which you might want to come to, but more than that we want this blog to reveal interesting things about the workings of the Museum, from behind-the-scenes and on the periphery of the more visible public events. So stay tuned for that. And if you don’t already, follow our squawks and drop us a line on Twitter @morethanadodo too.