Sunday, 30 April 2017
Visiting Oxford University Museum of Natural History
"There are moments when one feels a desperate gratitude for museums, whatever their own ambiguous histories. Their objects from lost cities lead us back to who we are".
Eddie has been asking me to take him to the Natural History Museum for a while, so during the last Easter break we jumped on the bus to Oxford for a visit. Sash had an activity day with Barnardo's, so it was just two of us who went to the museum.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History was founded in 1860 as the centre for scientific study at the University of Oxford. It holds amazing significant collections of geological and zoological specimens.
In the days when a lot of children-friendly venues cost a lot of money, you appreciate places like Museum of Natural History, which you may attend for free. There are donations boxes at the entrance, but nobody pesters you to pay.
When a couple of weeks ago Eddie mentioned to a family friend that we planned to visit the Museum, she asked if he knew what he would see at the entrance hall. He was curious to know, but I said "Wait and see". It was worth the wait.
The room as you enter is truly magnificent. The layout of the Museum is unique, all the exhibits are well displayed. What is even more exciting for children, a lot of these exhibits can be touched.
Eddie was thrilled by everything he has seen.
The dinosaurs' skeletons make you think of The Night at the Museum movie.
If your children love dinosaurs, this is a great place to visit.
Eddie's recent hobby is collecting minerals and rocks. Going to see the extensive geological collection and buy a few minerals was our big plan. Regrettably, this fossil was not on sale. Eddie was much taken with it.
He loved the fluorescent minerals in a small dark room with curtains (a pity about the smell inside).
The layout and displays are quite old-fashioned, it's like stepping back in time. There are modern gadgety displays around as well, with interactive screens, but they are discreetly tucked into corners or appear in the first floor galleries.
Natural History Museum would appeal to children and grown-ups alike. If you are interested in history and science, this is a must visit.
The architecture of the building and the interior design are worth a separate mention. The ornaments and iron pillars are exquisite. The building itself is an outstanding example of Gothic Revival.
We spent around two and a half hours in the Museum, with a quick run through the Pitt Rivers Museum (which should be explored in a separate visit).
When we visited the Museum, it was very busy, thanks to school holidays and swarms of tourists.
After the Museum, Eddie begged me to go to McDonald's to buy a Happy Meal. It's a big treat for him, as we rarely happen to go there. We also met with a friend for coffee, and bothered Papa in his office.
Papa was happy to take a break and have a game of table tennis with Eddie.
It was an eventful day, and on the way back home, Eddie nodded off on the bus.