Wednesday, July 21, 2010

and a sunday?

sunday didn't turn out quite like i expected. i had high, high hopes of visiting the rob ryan shop but was completely and utterly thwarted by the transportation system. okay, realistically, i could have taken a bus i think, but as soon as the tube employee said "bus" i shut down. there is only one place i take buses, and that is rome. feeling a little dejected, i altered my route to visit the natural history museum, which i've been really excited about, despite being 28 years old and not exactly in their intended demographic. dinosaurs? YES. stuffed (real) animals. YES. specimens in formaldehyde. YES. life-size models of whales? YES. petrified trees? YES. strange creatures i never knew existed? YES. i was pumped. and so were the five million small children surrounding me. that number may not be exaggerated. so downsides of the natural history museum: extremely wild children with no idea how to behave combined with lack of air conditioning. upside of the natural history museum, besides the specimens: hearing small children talk about what they were seeing, especially the ones with british accents. 'that's a quite large fox, isn't it, daddy? i saw a fox once whilst i was dreaming.' newsflash: small british children say 'whilst.' TO DIE FOR. but for serious, the museum was stunning, i just wish mommerdoodle was there to see it, since she's responsible for my love of natural history museums. (please forgive the poor quality images, most specimens were behind glass.)

slinking tiger

check out those antlers (note human to antler ratio). these were grown and shed every year.
how do you even hold up your head with that much antler?

this, apparently, is a type of possum.

i don't know what this is, but i liked his facial expression.
maybe a wolverine?

it's sort of like a hedgehog...

this is a vampire bat from the flying mammals case, which also included:

i don't know what the hell this is, but it was freaky.

it's a mole! cute and unsettling all at the same time!

this is some sort of fairy armadillo or something.


well, hello, mr. seal.

god, i love warthogs. and as you may have noticed, i was really into the
charming and bizarre facial expressions the animals ended up with.

speaking of, how great is this activity area?

can you spot the narwhal?

everything was going well until...

this was fascinating and sad. it was a massive case of hummingbirds all mounted as if in the wild, hundreds in one case. as the label next to it said, this would be considered unethical now. the case dates from ca. 1819.

and this is a MONDO slice of a sequoia that was felled in 1892.
look at the diameter of that thing!

once you get to the top, where the sequoia is, this is the view. not too shabby indeed.

unfortunately this is as close to a hedgehog i've come here in the hedgie homeland. and this one was behind glass, behind glass, in some lab.

natural history museums are in some ways a thing of the past, the collection of their specimens no longer an accepted practice. it was interesting to note the fading and signs of wear on many of the specimens in this museum, which labels noted was due to their having been collected in the 19th and early 20th centuries. the museum still hosts an active research institute, but the research takes place according to 21st-century ethical standards. they're tricky places, these natural history museums, but my childhood was built around one so i'm partial to their efforts. and i really like seeing animals i didn't know existed.


  1. i really enjoyed reading this, and i wish i could be there to see it all with you.