The view from the Museum’s upper gallery has always been spectacular; it’s the best place to admire the roof’s decorative iron work or to spot the dinosaurs lurking below. But add a great cup of coffee and a slice of cake to the experience and it steps up to a new level of pleasure. So it’s been fantastic to see so many happy visitors enjoying a break in our brand new café, Mortons at the Museum.
But we know that our visitors are a discerning bunch and are keen to learn, even when they’re enjoying elevenses, so we’ve installed a new display that runs the length of the upper gallery. A-Z is a taster of 26 natural history topics for you to get your teeth into.
From A for Adaptation to Z for Zoogeography, the alphabetical adventure whizzes past terms as diverse as Nocturnal and Living Fossil. It’s designed so that you can take a pick and mix approach to whet your appetite, before devouring the large-scale displays around the Museum.
Zoë Simmons, of the Museum’s Life Collections, curated A-Z. She says that “One of the greatest challenges of the project was working on a display that encompasses such a wide range of subjects and crosses all disciplines of the Museum’s collections. I learnt a lot whilst researching and writing up the text for these displays.
“My favourite case is Iridescence. Not only is it full of beautiful rainbow-hued objects, but it has examples from all areas of the collections. There’s a fossilised ammonite, peacock ore, a Nectarinia bird, a jewel scarab and a Haliotid shell. It’s wonderful to be able to put a truly multi-disciplinary case together, as the opportunity is rare.”
Each case has two levels of interpretation; a shorter, more light-hearted piece of text pitched at an average 10 year old visitor (though enjoyed by big kids too!), plus a more in-depth explanation for those who prefer a bit more science with their snacks.
Tea and Types, cake and Camouflage and sandwiches and Stromatolite seem to sit well together. Next time you’re experiencing museum fatigue, join us for a little nibble of natural history up in our brand new café.
Rachel Parle, Interpretation and Education Officer