|Hope - the Blue Whale in the magnificent main hall|
- a symbol of humanity's power to create a
|The scale of the NHM collection is almost unbeleivable!|
So plans were made and Mum, Dad and I got ourselves to London and then set off early on Saturday to see Erica McAlister (aka @flygirlNHM). As we'd got there a bit earlier than expected Erica met us at the entrance around 15 minutes before public opening time and we were really amazed to be able to get in and have a look around some of the public halls without anyone else there. The most spectacular part of the museum for me is the Main Hall, I always loved being there, seeing this huge space and the enormous dinosaur.
|There are some incredible creatures!|
Obviously we knew about the new Blue Whale (Hope) they had put in Dippy's place and she is an incredible sight. It is quite a breathtaking sight to come so close even to the remains of the world's largest mammal. She's posed in a dive and it's an amazing sight in an amazing building that must have taken years to build. Erica was telling us all about how it was built specifically for a Victorian collector, well at least to house his collection as a condition of him donating it. They made such a good job of the building, the decorations and carvings around it are as incredible as the contents of the building - even the floor - mosaics throughout - it`s absolutely mind-blowing the work that has gone into this building!
|It holds specimens from the time of Darwin|
There were some specimens from centuries back when people were first going to foreign countries to collect. One of the amazing things we saw there was a shelf with some specimens that Darwin himself and his crew collected on the Beagle!
|Erica's favourite - Robberflies|
These two were caught carrying
this huge grasshopper!
Then, there were the pickles! A huge room essentially filled with preserved animals of all shapes and sizes, ranging from ticks to a giant squid that was so long I had to get a video instead of a picture! It was so big it has to be kept in a specially made tank - made by Damian Hurst as it was so big! See the video to see what I mean! One of my favourites was the pickled Angler Fish! It was interesting to see one of the creatures of the deep and how it had evolved to live there, and how it uses bioluminescence to attract its prey. Have you ever seen a pickled badger, fox, rat, or boa constrictor - no, well neither had I - but thanks to Erica now I have!
In complete contrast to the display we saw in the main hall, ‘Hope’ the Blue Whale diving, Erica also showed us a jar with a tiny Blue Whale foetus! It’s amazing how something so vast comes from something so tiny and fragile.
One of the fascinating things I got to see was the dimorphism between species of scorpion. There’s a quite small species that wasn’t even the length of one of my fingers, to a much larger Emperor Scorpion that spanned my whole hand! The little one is interestingly the most dangerous, much more venomous - and uses stealth. The big Emperor is all about show (and bravado so mum says) and scaring off predators. I also found out that all scorpions glow in ultraviolet light!
The main thing that I couldn’t get over, though, was the sheer number of specimens they had, it was crazy how many there was just on the floor we went around, and to know they had 6 more floors for insects and another building entirely for plants! I learnt a lot about what curators do and how collections are kept. One of the things I found amazing though is they now have the task of digitising the whole collection! A great opportunity for some overtime or maybe holiday jobs for students I would think!
|Thank you for an amazing visit Erica!|
Thank you Erica, I'm so glad they keep you in this institution :-)
Hope you enjoyed,