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Press release

Have a hair-raising time this summer

Summer holiday events for families
at the Natural History Museum
Wednesday 21 July – Tuesday 31 August 2004

Hear hair-raising stories, discover insects you’ve never seen before, find out what is nature’s Olympian and become an explorer in your own right. All these events and more are taking place at the Natural History Museum this summer. As well as a range of family events focussing on hair, bugs and the Olympics, children can try the Museum’s new Explorer backpacks and become scientists in Investigate.

Unlock the secrets of your hair in this fun, interactive exhibition. Long or short, straight or curly, black or blonde, hair reveals more clues to your personal beliefs, age, habits and lifestyle than any other part of your body. On closer inspection, scientific tests on hair can also offer a personal diary of what you eat and give insights to your overall health. Hair-related events for children under 7 include hair-raising storytelling sessions, and a Hairy Beasts workshop to learn more about hair and make your own hairy book to take home.

A visit to the interactive Creepy Crawlies gallery is a must for mini-beast lovers and this summer a special series of events will reveal more about the wonderful world of insects.

Mini-beast explorers under 7 can visit action stations in the Wildlife Garden to discover the creatures that inhabit the world around them. Families with children of all ages can join in with a music workshop dedicated to insects,
to hear and create music inspired by the extraordinary sounds from the insect world.

For the over 7s, the many bug-related workshops and events this summer include Real Bugs, a puppet theatre with larger-than-life insect puppets, and the Mini-Beast Safari, where children can discover a variety of insects lurking in the Wildlife Garden’s diverse habitats.

This summer, the Museum is staging its own Olympics with a competition to find the most sporting species from the natural world. In a series of daily interactive presentations in the Darwin Centre Live space scientists from the Museum will be arguing the merits of their favourite animals and plants to determine what really is nature’s Olympic champion.

Ongoing activities

Explorers backpacks
Pick up your passport, grab your binoculars and put on your backpack to become an explorer at the Natural History Museum! Filled with pens, paper, games and activities for families with children under seven, these bright red backpacks help you to navigate and explore the Museum’s galleries. Choose from themes including birds, mammals, oceans, primates and monsters.

Get a feel for how scientists work by doing it yourself. Bring your own questions or use some of ours. The Natural History Museum’s hands-on science centre, Investigate, features hundreds of specimens that can be picked up, touched and explored by people of all ages, especially recommended for 7–14 year olds. These specimens form the evidence for your exploration of scientific ideas. Investigate encourages visitors to look closely at real objects from the natural world and provides the tools to ‘become a scientist’.

Gallery characters
Intriguing characters wander the galleries of the Natural History Museum sharing interesting scientific stories with all they meet. You might encounter Charles Darwin discussing his radical scientific ideas, or Walter Rothschild observing his favourite animals. Or palaeontologist Dorothea Bate, who will take you on a journey of discovery with her fossil finds and pioneer fossil hunter Mary Anning will invite you to examine some extraordinary fossil evidence. Sir Hans Sloane discusses his amazing personal collection and might mention his special role in bringing chocolate into our lives! Look out for William Smith, the first person to produce reliable geological maps and is the man considered the ‘father of geology’. You can stroke Zaki the lion and see how he measures up to the other big cats, or ask Carl Linnaeus, a great scientist from the eighteenth century, how he developed a brilliant idea for naming all living things. Young visitors will enjoy meeting Circadian Sam, who will help them to sort out which animals should be asleep and which should be awake.

- Ends -

Notes for editors

Hair events
Hair (exhibition)

Suitable for: all ages
Dates: until 26 September 2004
Admission: £5, £3 concessions, £12 family, FREE to under 5s, NHM Members and Patrons

Hairy Beasts
Suitable for:
children aged 3–7
Dates and times: Monday 26 – Wednesday 28 July,
Monday 9 – Wednesday 11 August, 11.00 and 11.45
Admission: FREE, to book your place in advance please call 020 7942 5555 or reserve a place on the day by visiting the Life Galleries information desk at the Museum’s main entrance. Pre-booking is advised, to avoid disappointment.

Hair-raising stories
Suitable for:
children aged 3–7
Date and times: Sunday 25 July, 12.30 and 14.00
Admission: FREE, please book at the information desks. To book your place in advance, please call 020 7942 5555.
Pre-booking is advised, to avoid disappointment.

Hair – Darwin Centre Live
Suitable for: adults and children aged 10+
Dates and times: Saturday 7 – Friday 13 August, 14.30 (daily)
Admission: FREE

Bug events

  • Mini-Beast Safari
    Suitable for: children aged 7–11
    Dates and times: 24, 25 and 31 July and 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 August, 12.30–13.30 and 15.00–16.00
    Admission: FREE – to reserve a place, please visit the Life Galleries information desk at the Museum’s main entrance on the day.
  • Insect Music
    Suitable for:
    all ages
    Dates and times: Saturdays 14 and 21 August and Tuesday 17 – Thursday 19 August, 11.30 and 13.00
    Admission: FREE, please book at the information desks.
  • Real Bugs
    Suitable for:
    children aged 7–11
    Dates and times: 12–15 August 11.30–12.30 and
    Admission: FREE. To reserve a place in advance please call 020 7942 5555 or visit the Life Galleries information desk at the main entrance on the day. Pre-booking is advised to avoid disappointment.
  • Olympics
    The Natural History Olympics – Darwin Centre Live
    Suitable for: adults and children aged 10+
    Dates and times: Monday 16 – Sunday 22 August, 14.30
    Admission: FREE

Ongoing events

  • Explorer backpacks
    Suitable for:
    children under 7
    Dates and times: Daily (during Museum opening hours)
    Admission: FREE. ID required
  •  Investigate
    Suitable for:
    children aged 7–14
    Dates and times: Monday to Saturday 10.30–17.00, Sundays 11.00–17.00
    Admission: FREE
  • Gallery characters
    Suitable for: adults and children of all ages
    Dates: Mary Anning 26 and 27 July, and 17 and 18 August
    Dorothea Bate 28 and 29 July, 12, 17 and 18 August
    Zaki 28 and 29 July, 24 and 25 August
    Charles Darwin 26 and 27 July, 19 and 20 August
    Walter Rothschild 2, 3, 19 and 20 August
    William Smith 2, 3, 12, 24 and 25 August
    Circadian Sam 4 and 5 August
    Carl Linnaeus 10, 11, 26 and 27 August
    Hans Sloane 10, 11, 26 and 27 August
    Times: 11.30–15.30
    Admission: FREE

Visitor information
Admission: FREE
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00–17.50,
Sunday 11.00–17.50
Visitor enquiries: Monday–Friday 020 7942 5000,
Saturday and Sunday 020 7942 5011
Nearest station: South Kensington

If you would like to request images or further exhibition information, please contact:

Becky Chetley, Sarah Hoyle, Natalie Brooke
Tel: 020 7942 5106/5654
Email: (not for publication)

Issued June 2004