Friday, 2 September 2011

An Exciting Weekend - Part 1, In Which There Is a Bottle of Skulls (and Moles)

I have had a VERY full, and very fun weekend, so will try to break it down into managable chunks.
I got a train to London on Friday, having enjoyed a lazy morning at home. After booking into my accommodation (very cheap; I stayed in one of the LSE's halls of residence - they rent out rooms on a B&B basis, during the university holidays) I headed down the road to the Grant Museum, which is part of UCL and which I've wanted to visit for ages, but have not been able to because it doesn't open at weekends.

It's wonderful. It lives in an old library, and gives the impression of not-quite fitting, so that everything has been squeezed in. I've got cupboards like that, except they don't (mostly) contain the skeletons of extinct animals or jars of skulls. The collection was originally used for teaching (we are talking about 1828, or thereabouts) and those who benefited included one Charles Darwin.

The museum has a lot of bones. And a lot of Things in jars. Such as moles, and foetal pigs, and skulls, and snakes. There are skeletons, including those of a Quagga (albeit one with slightly fewer legs then it ought to have) and of a Tylacine, and a Dodo.
There is a Sabre-Tooth tiger's skull, rather endearingly displayed between a small plastic model of a sabre-tooth, and a plastic box containing a big-cat hairball. Around the galleries of the library are more skeletons - including several primates of different kinds leaning companionably on the bannisters and looking down into the displays.

I was slightly disappointed that there was (as far as I could see) no jar of eyeballs, but one can't have everything.  There were some beautiful glass models of squid, and corals and sea-urchins.
There's a pickled pangolin. (at least I think it was a pangolin) And you can adopt specimens if you want. I rather fancied adopting a bug-eyed monster loris, or maybe the walrus penis bone,  but they seemed to have been adopted already.                                        
 It's a fascinating place. I'm glad I went.

After looking round the museum, I wandered down to the British  Library, to pick up my tickets for Sunday, and to have another quick look around the 'Out of This world' exhibition - (the TARDIS is still there) before heading down to Charing Cross, to Amanda Fucking Palmer's gig . . .

Which I think shoudl ahve a post of it's own, don't you?

1 comment:

spacedlaw said...

Sounds like a brilliant place.