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Press release


The Big Draw at the Natural History MuseumSaturday 16 October 2004, 10.00–16.30

Sketch the natural world, inside and out, at this year’s Big Draw at the Natural History Museum. Artists, part-time doodlers and even anyone who claims they can’t draw a straight line will all be welcome at the Museum on Saturday 16 October for a day of drawing activities looking closely at the Museum and its collections. As well as artist-assisted workshops, visitors will be encouraged to stop and draw, wherever the whim takes them.

The theme of this year’s Big Draw is ‘inside-out’. A whole day of events will get visitors looking closely at the ins and outs of the Museum, and its collections. In the workshop Amazing Architecture, artist Jeanette Barnes will help visitors draw the landmark Natural History Museum building by becoming pavement artists, if the weather is fine, or if not by capturing some of the amazing animals that adorn the interior terracotta walls.

Those who want the challenge of creating something on a bigger scale can join artist Louise Clarke in the Central Hall, who will be leading visitors on an exercise in large-scale drawing. Using a selection of visual arts techniques to draw the famous Diplodocus, everyone is urged to make their mark on the giant collaborative piece.

Visitors can get even closer to the Museum’s collections with artist Michelle Avison, who will look at the ins and outs of seashells, corals and other fantastic forms from the deep. Artist Dan Holloway will attempt to piece together different bone drawings of ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles, to create one big skeleton collage.

For those who enjoy doodling away at their own pace, the Museum’s galleries are just the place to stop and draw. Armed with a free sketchpad and art materials, sketchers can explore the galleries to tackle birds, mammals or reptiles. Advice on drawing some of the larger animals in the Mammals gallery will be available from artist-tutors from the City Lit.

The Natural History Museum will also be displaying its own biggest drawing for the first time ever, as part of the Big Draw celebrations. The 246 x 570 cm image features the skeleton of the giant sloth Megatherium, and was drawn by George Scharf in 1842.

Visitors can take a break from drawing and attend Tim Hunkin’s Darwin Centre Live presentation at 12.00. Known variously as engineer, artist or automata maker, Tim has exhibited his work in a wide variety of books and public spaces. This is a rare opportunity to see how he approaches his work and uses drawing to work it all out.

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Notes for editors

  • Winner of the 2004 Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award, the Natural History Museum is also a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in 68 countries. The Museum is committed to encouraging public engagement with science. This has been greatly enhanced by the Darwin Centre, a major new initiative, which offers visitors unique access behind the scenes of the Museum. Phase One of the project opened to the public in 2002 and Phase Two is scheduled to open in 2008.
  • The Big Draw is organised by the Campaign for Drawing, which was initiated in 2000 by The Guild of St. George. The campaign is celebrating a third year of its annual Big Draw with venues across the UK offering an exciting programme of events for adults and children – working with artists, designers, architects, cartoonists, illustrators, scientists and the campaign's own patrons. For more information, please visit
Venue: The Natural History Museum
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00–17.50,
Sunday 11.00–17.50
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000 Monday–Friday,
020 7942 5011 Saturday and Sunday

If you would like to interview event organiser Jane Mainwaring, request images or further information, please contact:

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

Issued September 2004