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Press release

Drumming to a Natural Rhythm

The Natural History Museum celebrates Black History Month, October 2005

The Natural History Museum is well known for celebrating the diversity of nature; this October it will also be celebrating ethnic diversity with a series of Black History Month events. From discovering the botany of Brixton market to creating a nature-themed carnival mask, there promises to be something for everyone. The Natural History Museum's Black History Month celebrations form part of its Diverse City Season, a programme of free cultural events that runs from October to December.

Drawing Together: The Big Draw meets Carnival
Sunday 2 October, 11.00-17.50
Join in the carnival as the Big Draw comes alive on Exhibition Road. Unleash your creativity as this year's Big Draw launches with a colourful and lively programme of drawing events taking place in seven cultural venues on Exhibition Road, culminating in a carnival procession at the end of the day. The Natural History Museum's workshops will look closely at animal design, colours and patterns and use them to create a larger-than-life carnival costume and lively masks. There'll be something for everyone: bold drawing, careful study and flamboyant interpretation.

The Botany of Brixton Market
Monday 3 October, 14.30

Join us in the Darwin Centre to discover the colours, smells and tastes of south London's Caribbean and African market. Explore the natural history of foods sold there - where they come from, what they are and how they are used. This event is suitable for adults and children aged 12+.

Sounds from the Earth
Saturday 29 October, 11.30, 12.30 and 13.30

The steel drum originates from Trinidad. It started with the 'Bamboo Taboo' - a length of bamboo that is pounded on the ground to produce a distinctive rhythmic sound. People subsequently used bin lids, old car parts and even biscuit tins to produce this music. In the 1930s, dented steel barrels were introduced. Come and hear Metronomes Steel Orchestra demonstrate the unique sound of the steel drum. This event is suitable for adults and children of all ages.

Rap, Rhythm and Rhyme
Sunday 30 October, 12.30, 14.30 and 15.30

The Natural History Museum has teamed up with poets from Apples and Snakes to create a series of workshops using musical instruments and performance to explore words and worlds of nature. These sessions are suitable for 7-12 year olds.

From Gourds to Grasses
Saturday 5 November, 12.00 and 14.30
Come to the Darwin Centre to find out how plants and other natural materials like mud, banana and fig tree bark, seeds, pods, clays and plant dyes are used all over Africa to make traditional artefacts and adornments. This event is suitable for adults and children aged seven and over.


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.

Diverse City Season is a three-month programme of free cultural events, for all ages, that celebrates the ethnic diversity of multicultural Britain. The programme encompasses demonstrations, workshops, Darwin Centre Live events and family activities that highlight the important role many cultures play in increasing our understanding of the natural world.

Visitor information
Admission: free
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