To mark our selection as a Finalist in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 we’re embarking on a unique and ambitious tour of the country – the Dodo Roadshow.
Beginning at Land’s End on 8 June and concluding in John O’Groats one week later, the famous Oxford Dodo will visit more than 20 museums and galleries along the way. At each stop the Dodo will ‘interview’ one of the venue’s star objects.
National Museum Cardiff: Blaschka glass models
So, tell me about yourself – who are you and where do you come from?
I’m a Blaschka glass model of a marine animal called Physophora hydrostatica – a jellyfish-like animal known as a siphonophore. I was originally made in the 1880’s by the Blaschkas for the Science Museum in London who donated me to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in 1927.
What is it that makes you so special?
I am made of glass! The Blaschkas were very skilled glass workers and had a great interest in natural history. Animals like me are difficult to preserve with lifelike shapes and colours. The Blaschkas came up with the idea of making models of such animals in glass so they could show people how we looked in real life. Today we are still greatly admire by artists and scientists alike for the special skills used to make us.
Who looks after you in this place?
The natural science conservators look after me and all the other glass models. Lots of people are fascinated by us so we are regularly going on journeys to be shown in other museums and galleries. This requires lots of careful handling by the conservators!
Do you remember life before the museum?
After being made I was carefully shipped all the way to Britain where I spent many years on display at the Science Museum before moving onwards to Wales.
What does the future hold for you?
At the moment I’m back in store after touring around for a couple of years with lots of other wonderful objects in an art exhibition called ‘Curiosity’. The conservators are currently starting to do a condition check on me and the other models to ensure we remain in good shape, and can continue to inspire people in the future!
However, whilst I may not currently be on display the museum does have a permanent display of some of the other Blaschka models in the natural history galleries, including my wonderful cousin the Portuguese man’o’war. Please visit!