Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Morning at the Museum
I have always been interested in natural history and always thought it was a great shame that apart from Stone Science in Anglesey there are no natural history museums in North Wales to help nurture any interest children might have in natural science. This little-known collection is occasionally open to the public and school groups so as you can imagine I was in my element browsing through this collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and fish. The collection started out in the 19th century and continued to grow over the years with donations from zoos, circuses and stately homes. What makes this collection doubly exciting is the way in which the exhibits are displayed. The staff have worked hard to make it both informative and accessible to visitors. It retains the air of a bygone era when conservation was unheard of but the specimens are presented in such away that allows the viewer to get up close, a sure way to maintain interest in the natural world in both children and adults.
The collection is divided into several categories with no corner spared, each one highlighting a creature of some shape or form, marvellous representatives of the wonders of nature. All I could do was say ‘fascinating’ and “oh, wow!” as I wondered around the displays. The second floor (with a view overlooking the first floor) of the museum was equally fascinating as this section was devoted to the specimen jars. Rows of jars and tins each one in no apparent order but each one seemed to belong, and each seemed to have a story to tell. Some items may prove a little too much for some visitors such as the rabbit, hedgehog and cat that had been partially dissected with the organs labelled but I thought it was incredibly interesting! As I write this I really can’t focus on one particular element because selecting my favourite from the collection is quite a challenge! The anteater skeleton perhaps? Or maybe the cabinet containing several species of New Zealand birds (Included a Kakapo, which is now under threat of extinction). I was suitably impressed by the narwhal’s tusk, The Elephant trunk preserved in formaldehyde? I shall cheat and say I liked the whole museum! Before I left I took a moment to examine the various mineral cabinets scattered throughout the museum, which until recently had been in storage I find this interesting as I found the museum itself to be a real hidden gem! My sincere thanks to the University for allowing me this opportunity.
© Arfon Jones 2012. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.