Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > lharmour > Lates > People > Laura Harmour > Lates
1 2 3 Previous Next

Lates

37 Posts
0

Today, instead of ‘Summertime’ playing in my head as it was at May's After Hours, Victoria Wood’s ‘Let’s Do It' is ringing out loud and clear. Why? Because we hope you will enthusiastically embrace the late-night opening of our Sexual Nature summer exhibition.

sexual-nature-after-hours-1000.jpg

I asked Mike Sarna, our cheerful American head of exhibition planning, to tell me how After Hours visitors might consider Sexual Nature. Mike told me that the exhibition is about animals and us – as we are human animals - and seeing the Sexual Nature exhibition (pictured above) is a good way to learn about ourselves and our loved ones.

darcy.jpg

 

‘People can take a very active approach to the exhibition or a passive approach, they can leave comments, discuss it with their friends, anonymously vote if they believe in true love or not. The range in the sexual spectrum mirrors itself in the animal kingdom.’

 

To get you even more in the mood for Sexual Nature, tonight we also have our smoky-eyed roving troubadour Sebastian Darcy-Heathcliff (right), aka Jack Merivale, who will be smoulderig near the exhibition gallery with his guitar. Sebastian will be reciting some of your favourite lurve songs with more than a glint of humour in his roving troubadour eye. And if you are lucky, he may even compose a new one just for you

finger-printing-tools-1000.jpg

Left: Fingerprinting kit for tonight's Crime Scene NHM special event at After Hours

Switching seamlessly from sex to death, we have a really fascinating event, Crime Scene: NHM, at this Friday's After Hours. At this you’ll get the chance to learn some of our world class forensic experts’ tricks of the trade as you take part in a ‘forensic investigation’ here at the Museum. The event culminates in a ‘trial’ where real barristers, police officers and a judge will demonstrate just how important forensic evidence is to a verdict. But there are only a few tickets left so hurry to get in on the crime scene.

picnic-bag-atrium-1000.jpg

 

Switching less seamlessly to dinosaurs, don’t forget that our equally immersive dinosaur experience, the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition, is also available for you to experience after hours.

 

With apologies, our Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace will only have limited access this Friday due to construction work, but you can still enjoy your Pimms out there. Mini picnics should be picked up from the Darwin Centre atrium as usual.

 

Right: Pick up your Mini picnic in the Darwin Centre atrium, where you can also sip Pimms from the bar.

 

Find out more about After Hours

0

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrragh!  That’s my very accurate impersonation of the Tarbosaurus (pictured below) in our fabulous Age of the Dinosaur exhibition, now open late at After Hours for the very first time.

tarby-2-1000.jpg

The Age of the Dinosaur exhibition is proving extremely popular during the daytime, so for a chance to visit it without fighting for elbow room with our younger visitors, why not book yourself a ticket now? There are some great specimens, such as the beautiful multi-million year old piece of conifer that has turned to opal, and some very impressive animatronic dinosaurs. If nothing else, you can test out how long you last before jumping out of your skin when a dinosaur makes a lunge at you. I’ve just taken the throbbing path around the exhibition again, and the Jurassic forest and Cretaceous desert dinosaur experiences are really immersive. And sometimes pretty scary!  The Camarasaurus in the forest is particularly realistic.

 

You can of course still catch our Sexual Nature exhibition at After Hours, and we have another of our sell-out discussion events in the restaurant, this time all about how to live happily ever after in long-term relationships.

courtyard-landscape-490-2.jpg

 

This Friday kicks off the first of our summer season of After Hours.  Those of you who came to last year’s summer season will remember that we like to give you an al fresco eating and drinking experience out on our Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace (above). We’ve been holding intense discussions over the past weeks about the new menu for summer After Hours, and we have come up with some great new mini picnics for you to pre-order. There’ll be picnic rugs for you to borrow as well.

 

You can go for three tasty menus, including the super healthy option of superfood and fruit salad, or the ‘who cares, it's Friday' option of hot salmon salad and double chocolate cheesecake, and as I am in a long-standing relationship with chocolate cheesecake I think I know which one I will be having. Don’t forget to get your picnic order in by 13.00 on 26 May.

 

iStock_000003907376XSmall.jpgWe’ll have a bar out on the Courtyard terrace, where you can soak up the Mediterranean-style sunshine to go with your Mediterranean chicken (we can guarantee the chicken if not the sunshine – my galoshes are on order just in case) and enjoy a glass of wine or champagne or a chilled beer.

 

We’ll have Pimms by the glass and the jug, and ice cream as an extra indulgence.

 

So with ‘summer time and the living is easy’ playing in our heads (and indeed, in the Central Hall), we look forward to welcoming you this Friday to summer time After Hours.

 

Find out about After Hours

Book your Minic picninc online

0
With a fabulous long weekend ahead of us of pure hedonism, romance and barbeque weather (hope springs eternal) what better way to round off Royal Wedding Day this Friday, 29 April, than by joining us at After Hours?

central-hall-1000-2.jpgdiniosaur-gallery-1000.jpg

Left: Central Hall, the place to be on Royal Wedding night. Right, Dinosaurs gallery - specially open for After Hours. Select images to enlarge them

We have our amazing Sexual Nature exhibition open late for you to explore and a fascinating romance-themed event in our restaurant, where you can hear all about the many strategies humans, and other animals, have to bring us closer to the object of our desires in the Laws of Attraction special talk.

happy-hedgehogs-1000.jpgattraction-objects-1000-2.jpg

What attracts animals and humans to each other? Find out in the weird and wonderful displays at the Sexual Nature exhibition

We’ll also have our bars open late, live music in the Central Hall and the beautiful Cora Sun-drop diamond on show in the Vault.

 

There is also a very special opportunity to visit our Dinosaurs gallery, pictured above, open late for only the second time ever at After Hours. If you haven’t seen our dinosaurs since you were young, why not catch up with some old friends this Friday?!

 

Achocolate-hearts.jpgnd as well as our usual delicious food and drink, to mark the great day, we will have sparkling Kir Royale cocktails available at the Blue and Red Bars at the effervescent price of £7.00.

 

There’ll also be some free chocolate hearts scattered around our bars for you to nibble on. You’ll have to be quick to enjoy those though, as I intend to polish off quite a few myself.

 

We shot some vox pops of people who’d visited our Sexual Nature exhibition at last month’s After Hours. You can see the footage here to hear what people say about the Sexual Nature exhibition and After Hours. I loved the 'even though hedgehogs are having sex on my night out' comment.


It’s great that people are enjoying the exhibition and making the Museum part of their Friday night going out.


0

Spring is almost here, judging by the sudden sallying of daffodils in southern gardens and last week’s rattle of hooves from far-off Cheltenham, but Spring means we have said a sad farewell to Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year for this season.

 

However, that is absolutely no reason not to join us on Friday night for After Hours, when we are opening up the highly engaging Sexual Nature exhibition until 22.30.

gallery-wide-shot-deer.jpg
Feel the buzz of the Sexual Nature exhibition (above) and the Central Hall (below right) at our After Hours on Friday 25 March. Select images to enlarge them.

central-hall-after-hours.jpgWe’ll have our usual bars and jazz in the Central Hall for you to enjoy a wind-down at the end of the week, and Sexual Nature is the perfect exhibition to visit at night.

 

There’s also an opportunity to view our new Images of Nature gallery and the stunning Cora Sun-drop diamond, on display for a limited time in the Vault. And you can take part in an intriguing discussion in the restaurant – ‘The Science of the Sexual Spectrum’ At the discussion you can enjoy a drink and join speakers Peter Tatchell, Jeffrey Weeks and Qazi Rahman to try to unravel some of the science behind our sexuality and the social implications and history of its study. I've just heard this event is now sold out, so put the next After Hours Discussing Nature event in your diary, The Laws of Attraction on 29 April.

foxes-2.jpg

 

At February's After Hours, I tripped around (OK, stalked) some groups of late night visitors to our Sexual Nature exhibition, to see how they were finding it. I was thrilled to see just how much they were enjoying the exhibits, particularly one fascinated group stood around the mounted foxes (left), trying to work out (with air diagrams) how the two foxes had got themselves physically into their position. ‘I think he mounts her doggy style and then turns around to secure his place as primary mate’ was the confident if baffling view of one young gentleman.

 

I spotted another couple standing arm-in-arm contemplatively and romantically in front of the female spotted hyaena, who is certainly geared up to be primary mate in her own love life as well as in her pack. Other people were thinking very deeply about animals’ sexual behaviour in a way they hadn’t before. ‘It’s just the more you know, the more your childhood thoughts of animals change,’ end-display.jpgwas the view from a group of young women who were having an animated discussion in front of one display, possibly now conscious that the prototypes for Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and indeed Eeyore, amongst others, all had potential love lives of which their readers were previously unaware.

 

So why not come along for yourself this Friday evening and get yourself up to speed on such matters as well!

 

Sexual Nature exhibition images: Mating foxes taxidermy display (above left) and the human sexuality display at the end of the gallery (right). Select images to enlarge them

 

Take a peek at some of the displays in our Sexual Nature highlights slideshow

0

Says Isabella Rossellini - in her video 'Seduce me', showing at our Sexual Nature exhibition.

 

This Friday we say goodbye to this season’s run of late nights for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year and an enthusiastic ‘helloooo’ to our Sexual Nature exhibition, being unveiled late for the first time at After Hours.

isabella-rossellini-slide.jpg

 

Tickets for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours have now all gone, but do grab a ticket for Sexual Nature if you are planning to visit us on Friday night. You’ll have topics of conversation for days to come afterwards. As the glowing entrance panel to the exhibition has it – ‘sex has been around for a billion years. Now most animals and plants are at it’. How comprehensively they are at it you will find out on your trip around the gallery.

 

I would say that, for a Friday night dating experience, it would be difficult to beat Sexual Nature. It is entertaining, highly amusing, temperature raising, and you will see things in it that you are not going to see anywhere else on a Friday or indeed, any other night.

Whether it is to find out such interesting nuggets as that the paper nautilus’s arm breaks off during sex and swims to the female; or that orchids got their name from the Greek for testes; to laugh out loud at Isabella Rossellini’s magnificently hilarious filmed interpretations of animal reproduction; to be stopped dead in your tracks by the video of bonobos; to contribute to the amusing chat up lines that our visitors are leaving on the rear wall of the exhibition or to indulge in the eye-popping retail experience where you can pick up a copy of the Kama Sutra, Delta of Venus, some chocolate body paint and some of the most unusual cuddly toys I’ve ever seen – why not give Sexual Nature a whirl at this After Hours? You’ll see some specimens that have never been on display before, and you’ll be taking more than one amazed look at some of them, if my recent trip around the exhibition is anything to go by.

 

SN-exhibition.jpgThis Friday, we’ve also got ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’, the first in our sexually-related Discussing Nature debates, taking place in the restaurant at 7pm. We’ll have a panel of experts ready to address some of your probing questions about sex. There’s also the opportunity at the event to have your questions answered in our anonymous ‘sex surgery’, which could be an opportunity if you are a paper nautilus to find out why your arm breaks off when you are having sex.

 

Thank you to everyone who came along to see Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at this season’s run.

0

If you were fast enough off the mark to have got a Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition ticket at this Friday’s After Hours on 28 January (tickets have now all gone), you will have the opportunity to see some spectacular wildlife photography.

 

But there are more ways than one to capture images of the natural world – and people have tried to represent the natural world for thousands of years, going all the way back to early cave paintings. The Museum holds the finest natural history art collection in the world,  more than 500,000 pieces. Now for the first time, we are putting some  of our collection on permanent public display, in our brand new Images of Nature gallery which opened to the public on 21 January, and you can experience some of these unique images in this gallery at After Hours. Entry is free.

ruffed-lemur-900.jpg

Located near the entrance to the Darwin Centre, past our Dinosaurs galleries, Images of Nature is sited in what used to be the Spencer Gallery, now beautifully refurbished and back as a public space for the first time in some 20 years. You can cut through it to access the Darwin Centre by the Attenborough Studio and Interactive wall, although I am sure you will want to linger in the space.

 

Dodo_raphus_cucullatus_by_Julian_Hume---copyright-NHM-1000.jpg

I asked Peronel Craddock, the Senior Interpretation Developer responsible for the Images of Nature interpretation to tell us more about what you will find in the gallery.

 

‘Images of Nature is a beautiful, visual exploration of how artists and scientists see the natural world. We're displaying highlights from our world-famous natural history art collection, from 17th century oil paintings, to exquisite watercolours, to contemporary illustration - many of which have never been on display before. Alongside these are images from modern science, showing the enormous range of tools and techniques scientists now have to observe and capture nature.’

 

Peronel says that one of her favourite stories in the gallery features the dodo - two paintings side-by-side, one 17th century, one 21st century that challenges our preconceptions of the dodo as a clumsy, slow-moving bird..The 21st century dodo painting by Museum scientist and artist Dr Julian Hume is shown here.

 

‘Many staff from the Museum have been involved in this project - from renovating the gallery space to planning and building the exhibition, so it's fantastic to see the doors now open and visitors enjoying the gallery. I hope that it will open people's eyes to the diversity of the collections held here, and the fascinating scientific stories behind the art.’

 

camellia-800.jpg

We have the first in our rolling temporary displays within the gallery – some of the beautiful illustrations from the collection of John Reeves, the East India Company’s China based tea inspector and amateur naturalist who commissioned Chinese artists to paint the natural history around them.There are many botanical illustrations included such as this Camellia japonica, 1812-1831, pictured left.

 

Unlike the always charmingly calm and collected Peronel, the Images of Nature launch and the upcoming launch of our new bonkbuster exhibition Sexual Nature (catch it at After Hours from February) have left me with the same ‘in the headlights’ expression sported by the ruffled lemur in the Reeves collection (main image, above). I am looking forward to restoring myself this Friday with one of our new green apple, passion fruit or banana bellinis, available at all of our bars at After Hours. Do join us if you can.

 

Find out what's on at After Hours

.

Besides Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Images of Nature, we are running two showings of our very new and very special interactive film, Who do you think you really are? in the Attenborough Studio. And the gloves are off at Science Fight Club, the last in our fascinating Discussing Nature events as our scientists do battle on some important topics. Who will you back to win?

0

Our November After Hours is here already and we are looking forward to a great night out (or in for us).

 

Tickets have been selling like hot cakes (useful in this cold snap) for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours.

After-Hours-vewpy-winter-2010.jpg

We’ve got great food and drink on the menu at our bars; live jazz, the opportunity for a look around our amazing Cocoon, and the second in our Discussing Nature series of events in our restaurant. This Discussing Nature event, ‘Exploring the Final Frontiers’ will be a fascinating ‘balloon debate’, with 3 of our top scientists putting forward their case for a fictional funding pot to explore the unchartered areas of the world or solar system, and the audience voting to find the winner.

 

It’s great to see that Veolia Wildlife Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is so popular. Behind this year's exhibition, as behind all our exhibitions, there is a hard-working project team that puts together the design, production, interpretation, marketing, press, interactive and online elements of that exhibition.

 

Inside-VEWPY-gallery.jpgGrant Reid is the exhibition’s project director and Paul Gallagher is the project manager. I managed to extract Grant from the avalanche of tender applications he is currently working his way through for other exhibitions for 2011, so he could tell me a bit more about this year’s exhibition and how we are working to make Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer environmentally sustainable. Here's what he has to say:


‘The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is one of the Museum’s most popular events, and it’s definitely the longest running exhibition at the Museum. It attracted over 130,000 visitors last year, and people have been returning for over 20 years to see it.

 

'Last year, the exhibition moved from the Jerwood gallery into the Waterhouse gallery. We re-designed the exhibition for this and built it with the latest technology, sustainability and flexibility in mind. This year, we've used the same 2009 gallery framework with some improvements and a different fabric.

 

‘This large structural framework guides the visitor through the central space of the exhibition, opening up individual, gallery-like rooms and culminating in a striking black monolith which dramatically displays the winning photographs (shown above) from the 2010 competition.’

Inside-panels-vewpy-2010.jpg

 

The exhibition's support framework is made from aluminium - shown right, before the fabric was applied. This metal is lightweight, reusable, strong and hard-wearing. At the end of its intended 5-6 year life, the aluminium structure will be recycled into new aluminium stock.

 

Sustainability has become an important aspect in planning our exhibitions, Grant explains:

 

‘Historically before 2009 the exhibition photographs were shown on fluorescence tube light boxes. These have now been recycled, and the images hang this year on slim, almost invisible LED light panels, which provide a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption. These LED strips have life-cycles of approximately 100,000 hours.

 

'We've applied the same philosophy of sustainability to other elements of the exhibition such as the furniture and the photographic film and cinematic equipment – we reused all equipment where possible. A specialist print company was selected for their extremely high quality of reproduction. The film transparencies will be recycled and the chemicals embodied in the film will be extracted and recycled by a specialist company.

 

'For the first time in the exhibition's history, we are planning to measure all the power consumption and benchmark the 2010 exhibition to measure it against future ones. We hope to continue to present a high quality photographic exhibition with the same sustainable materials, while subtly renovating the overall aesthetic each year.’

 

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition closes earlier than usual this year on 11 March. So be sure to catch while you can. Enjoy it next year at 2 more After Hours on 28 January and 25 February.

0

Baby it’s cold outside, but there is a warm glow in my heart because I’ve just been around the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. 

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opened to the public last Friday, 22 October. And the exhibition is certainly looking grand from the entrance this year. The arrival area has been opened up and there is a clear view to a vista of photographs, glowing like jewels in the gallery. 

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-www/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/swpy/2010/popup/44.jpg

Andrew Parkinson's 'The drop', Animals in their Environment - highly commended

There are beautiful, memorable and skilfully-executed photographs in the exhibition, but for my money none so memorable as the One Earth category award winner, taken by Spanish photographer Jordi Chias Pujol, entitled ‘Turtle in Trouble’. 

Sailing between Barcelona and the Balearics, Mr Pujol was hoping to photograph dolphins, but instead, spotting an abandoned net drifting along, he dived down, and found a loggerhead sea turtle trapped in the net.  Mr Pujol notes ‘the poor creature must have been trapped for some days so knotted up was it…I felt as though it were looking at me for help as it tried to bite through the netting’.

The photograph shows the turtle, head on to the camera, flippers outstretched through the tangled blue shroud of fishing net.  And there is something about the way it is loosely holding a small length of the net in its mouth, fathomless dark eyes looking at the photographer that is really quite upsetting. It is only when I went down to the exhibition and read the commentary that I found the story had a happy ending.  I will leave to you to find out what that was.

I could only approach that stretch of the exhibition, the One Earth Award category tentatively. You will see some extraordinary photographs there. And in the new Wildlife Photojournalist category.

But I also laughed at the photographs of bird bottoms – the bottom of a fulmar launching off high sea cliffs in the Shetlands; the bottom of a mute swan on the Rhine seen from beneath; the bottom of an Arctic tern flying in to feed its chicks in Iceland.

 

There is something about these bottoms that warmed the cockles of my heart!
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-www/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/swpy/2010/popup/120.jpg

Johan Gehrisch's 'Chick delight', 15-17 years Young award, highly commended

Anyway, After Hours kicks off again this Friday night, and you can experience all this and more for yourself. There is also the opportunity to take part in an exciting new series of biodiversity-focused discussion events in our Restaurant, ‘Biodiversity: the Next Step’ is the first one of these Discussing Nature events, with some great guest speakers. 

We will be rolling out a new ‘dining around Dippy’ experience, in addition to the normal set up in the Central Hall Blue Bar. So do come and join us for a meal, a drink, an exploration of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer or the Darwin Centre. Or to take part in a vital discussion on the future of global diversity.

And take away a new view on the world. From the bottom up.

0

ah-science-zoom.jpgTonight's the big night. After Hours: Science Uncovered is about to happen.


‘Did you know you have sent me 185 emails in the last two days?’ asked Nigel Mullins, my invaluable operations manager yesterday as we went on our final operational walk through of the event. I’m not surprised to hear that as this has been an insanely busy week for those of us organising this huge public event. Some of us have given up on clean laundry, I’ve been living on biscuits for the past 2 days, and yesterday I didn't even managed a quick Hob Nob!

Central-Hall-and-Dippy-Natural-History-Museum-900.jpg

This evening the Central Hall should be packed with visitors enjoying the science stations on either side and on their way to The Science Bar and other attractions at Science Uncovered

We’ve had endless operational meetings; sat in the Central Hall Café, thrashing out the best placings of the drinks dispensaries for the Science Bar and how best to get people in and out without tangling them up like bindweed. We held briefings and walkthroughs, sorted out how we are going to feed the 120+ staff working on the night (sandwiches and salads); and briefed our event security.

 

There have been endless discussions with our contractors, Event Concept, who are doing the ‘rigging’ of power cables from our Central Hall balconies to power up the Science Stations; and Blitz Communications who are putting together the laptops and monitors and plasmas and microscopes with and without cameras for the Science Stations so that our visitors can get really up close and personal with our science.

Aleksandra Aleksic.JPG

 

Nigel has had a nightmare trying to track down microscopes, and we now know that compound microscopes can’t be had for love nor money in the whole of London. We've sorted out wifi access for our scientists, finalised all the signage, decided where exactly all the tours will be departing from; and not seen much of our homes for about two weeks!

 

I've finally completed the Operations Plan, which nearly killed me; refereed an argument between Event Concept and our signmakers over who is going to be rigging the Science Station signage tonight; sorted out our volunteers with their duties on the welcome desk and tour booking points; had complicated discussions about whether when you turn the lights off in Dinosaurs (for the torchlight tours), the animatronic dinosaurs stop working; written up an equipment spreadsheet for all our technical requirements and a furniture spreadsheet showing where exactly all the 6-foot tables (all 31 of them), the 3-foot tables and the chairs that we will be using for our Science Stations have to go.

 

I've pondered ridiculously long over the colour that the front of the Museum will be lit up tonight (light blood orange) and the colour of the tablecloths for the night (purple and dark lilac); written up the briefings for Front of House staff which were delivered this morning at the crack of 9.30am, a time I certainly did not make.

 

But now we are pretty much set to go, and as the event goes ‘live’ in a few hours, that is probably just as well.

 

We hope that you enjoy everything that After Hours: Science Uncovered has to offer. Our scientists are very much looking forward to the event, and so are we. It should be a great night out.

 

And remember you can follow all the conservations from the night, catch up on blogs, media coverage, and more online in our Science Uncovered community

 

Science Uncovered is part of the Europe-wide European Researchers' Night 2010.

 

Over and out

0

Our winter After Hours begin on 29 October, but first, on Friday 24 September we are throwing open our doors until 22.00 for After Hours: Science Uncovered.

museum-floodlit.jpg

Don't miss our biggest-ever after hours event on Friday 24 September as we join a Europe-wide festival

All across Europe, in over 200 cities, final preparations to kindred events that take place on that night are being made and harrowed-looking event managers (if we are anything to go by) will be crossing their fingers that all will go well.


Stephen Roberts, our Nature Live Manager, who with his colleague Ivvet Modinou, has worked extremely hard on the event (along with the rest of the project team), and was responsible for bringing it to the Museum in the first place, says that London needs an event like this and the Museum must be the best place for it.

 

‘Over 4 million people come to the Museum every year and we have over 300 science staff but, until the opening of the Darwin Centre last year, relatively few of them get to see our scientists, let alone chat.

 

Jon-Ablett_400.jpg

'After Hours: Science Uncovered changes the balance when an astonishing 60 of our own scientists as well as others from across London have pulled out all the stops to join in a European festival of science called Researchers' Night. We have watched with interest as this initiative, now involving over  500,000 members of the public in Europe, has grown and this year we have thrown ourselves in lock, stock and barrel.'

 

At our event there are over 50 different activities going on, ranging from 30 minute tours and Nature Live events in the Attenborough Studio to our Natural History Roadshow and science stations covering an astounding breadth of our science and collections that you can pop by for a few moments. In The Science Bar you can discuss the hot science of the day, from climate change to life on Mars and everything inbetween or, if you like, just kick back and enjoy a drink and soak up the atmosphere.’

 

Jon Ablett, pictured left, is one of the several zoologists you can meet on the night. He'll be introducing us to The Giant Squid in his Nature Live talk.

 

You can also enjoy a glass of champagne or wine in our Red Bar in Fossil Way, and if you have an interesting specimen, or a story related to the natural world, you can go along to the Hendrick's Bar of Curious Concoctions in the Darwin Centre, and get a free gin and tonic!

champagne--500.jpg


I also wanted to get a quote from my boss, the Director of Public Engagement, Sharon Ament, about what After Hours: Science Uncovered means to her. As things have been so madly busy here with the event, I ended up having to trail her with a notebook down in the lift as she left for the day. Here's what she said:

 

‘It’s fun, it’s insightful, it’s never been done before. Science is international, and this shows the effort that goes into high quality science in the European Union. After Hours: Science Uncovered will be exciting for everyone taking part in it, our scientists and our visitors. There is nothing like getting up close with science, and this is a brilliant opportunity to do just that.  It is great that we are participating in a Europe-wide event.  Imagine how across Europe, scientists will be engaging with over half a million people on the same night – it has been a fantastic opportunity for us to take part in this’.


It really has been a fantastic opportunity working on this After Hours, and we are looking forward to a feast of science and great craic with our visitors, as the Irish say.


I went to a seminar today when one of our research scientists, Dr Greg Edgecombe, talked with us about his field work in Greenland on Micrognathozoa. I am no scientist, and this was an area of science utterly unknown to me. But it was truly fascinating to learn something perfectly new – and I hope that those of you who come to After Hours: Science Uncovered, will experience something similar.

ah-science-zoom.jpg

 

Join our NaturePlus Science Uncovered community to follow more of the hot science discussions and read the latest blogs.

 

Find out more about the night's activities and scientists in our What's on blog

0

Last Friday saw the last of our summer After Hours for this year, at which we were descended upon by some 150 enthusiastic knitters and stitchers for Stitch London’s Stitch a Squid event.

knitted-squid-head.jpg
Squidius knittius observes the great stitch up in the Museum's Central Hall

After an initial scrum in the Central Hall that reminded me of the wild pony round-up in Misty of Chincoteague, the stitchers settled down to a quiet hum of activity that lasted for the rest of the night.

 

stitched-squid-tall.jpg

There were 3 workshops for those who wanted to learn to knit, and Stitch London brought in their amazing Giant Stitched Squid (Squidius knittius as they term it, pictured above and right) which we put out on display in the Hall. Stitch London organiser Lauren O’Farrell gave me some fascinating facts about the squid. Some 162 orange recycled plastic bags had been turned into the 1,080 metres (3543 feet) of yarn from which Squidius knittius was crafted; and it took approximately 80 hours to knit on size 12mm needles. 

I’d cadged some specimen jars in various shapes and sizes from Clare Valentine, our Head of Collections, and Stitch London used these to display their cute knitted interpretations of a coleaocanth, viper fish (see below), snipe eel and oar fish, all created from specimens in our Deep Sea exhibition.

Tony Rice, the equally enthusiastic deep sea expert, gave an extremely entertaining talk in the Attenborough Studio on the HMS Challenger voyage.  Curator Andrew Cabrinovic from Zoology kindly brought along some specimens collected on the voyage as a bonus.

 

From 6 September, we start to dismantle the Deep Sea exhibition. It always seems sad after you have lived with an exhibition for so long, to see it taken down and an echoing empty gallery left behind. You can still catch The Deep Sea though if you are quick - it is on until 5 September.

But of course, unless they take down The Deep Sea we won’t be able to put Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year on, and I know that 1000s of you will want to be visiting that at winter After Hours, which begin on Friday 29 October.

Ahead of that, coming up fast apace like that herd of Chincoteague ponies out of the surf, is our massive After Hours: Science Uncovered night, our biggest ever after hours event.

knitted-viper-fish.jpg
More than 50 of our scientists will be in action on this night, and you can be a part of this intriguing event, like the half a million people across Europe who will be engaging with science in 200 cities on 24 September. Take a look at our website and see just what is on offer at the Museum.

Knitted viper fsh in specimen jar - my favourite of the tiny sea creatures Lauren and her team created
1

Looking out of my office window at the grey fug of rain cloud hanging over the London skyline I am rather hoping that the last of our first ever summer After Hours, tonight 27 August, doesn't turn out weather-wise to be a bit of a damp squid.

Stitch-London-small-squid.jpg

If it does rain, we’ll shift the bar and food offer into the Darwin Centre atrium but as I’ve been assured that the forecast is for fine weather I am keeping my fingers crossed we can bask in the last of the summer After Hours sunshine(!)

 

blue-sea-creature-800.jpgAs well as the last chance to visit The Deep Sea exhibition in the evening, we are very much looking forward to having Stitch London here for Stitch a Squid, a 3-hour knitting event. If you would like to create the rather cute mini squid shown above, then come along any time from 18.30 and Stitch London will be very happy to teach you this very simple pattern. And you can take mini squid home with you.

pink-sea-animal-800.jpg

I'm sure you'll enjoy the artistry of Stitch London’s organiser Lauren O’Farrell and her team. Lauren has knitted a life-size model (8 metres) of our giant squid, Archie, out of recycled plastic bags, a truly amazing feat, bearing in mind that when we met up 2 weeks ago, when Lauren came in for a photo shoot, she’d only knitted about 2 foot of it!

 

Knitted Archie will be on display in our Central Hall, and is truly a sight not to be missed. The Stitch Londoners are also displaying some amazing tiny knitted marine specimens dotted around the hall, so look out for these. Here's Lauren busy photographing one of the tiny specimens, on the right.

 

Ricardo Curbelo, an amazing Columbian harpist of international renown will be playing some of his Latin American rhythms in the Darwin Centre atrium so do try to catch him.

 

 

We're hoping Archie the knitted giant squid will make an appearance back at the Museum in the near future.

 

At our last August After Hours, we've also got a fascinating talk about the historic HMS Challenger journey by marine expert Tony Rice, in the Attenborough Studio.

 

We've enjoyed this first season of summer After Hours, and we will soon planning our winter run of After Hours - the late night opening of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

 

In the meantime, watch out for our special After Hours science festival coming next on 24 September.

0

The sun is shining, at least in my head, which is good news for the second of our summer After Hours.

summer-after-hours-outside-bar.jpg

 

Tonight, as well as the late night opening of the Deep Sea exhibition and the Darwin Centre, we have a special free event out on the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace – Round the World Ping, which is part of Ping! London.

 

We’ve had a ping pong table out on our East Lawn for the past week now, but tonight it’ll be out on the Courtyard Terrace for what promises to be a highly entertaining experience. Come along and have a bash, or just have a drink and watch the sun go down.

 

Last Saturday, our ping pong table was in action for the very amusing Passport to Pingland challenge, at which a national table tennis coach and a colleague came along to oversee several hours of ping action from our visitors. We had all styles of play then, most uniquely from the keen little 2-year old boy, see below, who had to stand on the table to see over the top of it!

 

passport-pingland-1.jpg

Table tennis is a great fun game. Although following my tragic failure this week to reignite my previous Olympic-level talent, I shall be giving the table a miss. But I look forward to seeing everyone else having a good time this evening. Find out more about Ping! at the Museum on our website.

 

Our After Hours Up Close & Personal Tours of the Deep Sea exhibition and the Wildlife Garden are proving popular. Caroline Ware, our Wildlife Garden manager tells me that she is looking forward already to the August tours, when there might be some bats in in the garden as the later tour, 20.00, will be around sunset. And do drop in on Adrian Rundle’s fascinating Fossil workshop in the Central Hall – we had some very enthusiastic comments from participants at the June After Hours.

 

Watch this space next week for some news about an exciting new After Hours event on the last Friday in September, After Hours: Science Uncovered.

 

This takes place on the night of 24 September, when all across Europe, millions of people will be attending an amazing science festival night. It's an annual EU event, and we are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to take part this year. Make a date in your diary now.

1

Enjoy some of the latest photos from our first-ever Summer After Hours last month.

NHM-Courtyard-gathering-summer-after-hours-900-2.jpg
Relaxing out on the new Darwin Centre Courtyard amphitheatre-style terrace as the sun set on our first Summer After Hours in June

Highlights of the evening for visitors were the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace - the tables looked great with small hurricane lamps on them - and the Victorian-style Hendricks bar out on the terrace offering some fab summer cocktails.

 

Adrian Rundle's microsossil workshop in Central Hall was also popular, and those who went on the Up Close and Personal guided tour of The Deep Sea exhibition and the Wildlife Garden really enjoyed themselves.

 

James Maclaine, our affable fish curator, who led The Deep Sea tour, got some nice comments from those on the tour, like “I really enjoyed the tour and found the part about what happens to a whale when it dies very interesting!” Catching a magical glimpse of one of our normally shy resident fox cubs, who popped up  from the undergrowth to take a look at the unexpected evening visitors, was a special treat for those on the Wildlife Garden tour.

 

We have another treat lined up for you at the After Hours event on 30 July - Round the World Ping. This is part of Ping London, a month-long festival of table tennis-related events. So if you fancy a little sporting activity on your Friday night, why not make a date in your diary? Bats and balls are provided! Watch this space for more news.

Click on the photos in the gallery to enlarge them

NHM-courtyard-chairs-900.jpg

Outside tables and chairs to enjoy a drink and the picnic-style meu from the Darwin Centre bar, by lamp light

summer-deep.jpg

At the start of the After Hours Up Close and Personal tour, visitors gather round ready to plunge into The Deep Sea exhibition. After Hours guided tours of the exhibition are led by the Museum's Fish Curator, James Maclaine

 

NHM-The-Deep-whale-after-hours-900.jpg

After Hours visitors on their guided tour of The Deep Sea exhibition stop at the whale fall display - the centrepiece of the exhibition

 

NHM-Hendricks-bar-summer-after-hours-900.jpg

The quirky Hendrick's Kiosk of Curious Concoctions bar out on the Courtyard terrace proved a huge hit with its cool summer cocktails. Bellinis, gin fizz, Hendrick's Buck and beer...

 

NHM-summer-after-hours-musicians.jpg

Jazz guitar in the Darwin Centre's atrium was performed by Michael Winawer and John Barwood from the Royal College of Music

 

NHM-wildlife-garden-tour-summer-after-hours.jpg

Up Close and Personal Tour: Caroline Ware, the Wildlife Garden Manager, showing visitors around our lovely wildlife garden at dusk, where they caught a magical glimpse of one of our normally shy resident fox cubs who popped up to take a look at the visitors and baby moorhens on the pond

 

NHM-summer-after-hours-microfossil-workshop2.jpg

Adrian Rundle's fun microfossil workshop in the Museum's Central Hall attracted a lot of interest. Fact: Bill Wyman took part in this workshop when we put it on at the recent VIP launch of The Deep Sea exhibition

0

courtyard-900.jpg

Superbly timed to coincide with the World Cup and Wimbledon, but don’t let that put you off coming, our first ever summer After Hours is happening on Friday 25 June.

 

Fortunately the sun is shining in the sky, in the immortal words of the Electric Light Orchestra, so brilliantly rendered by Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer on his banjolele at Exhibition Road Music Day on Sunday. At least the sun was shining when I started writing this blog.

 

So come along for a unique urban picnic experience at the Museum and also get acquainted with our summer blockbuster exhibition The Deep Sea, pictured below. We will be open until 21.30 on Friday.

 

We'll have an interesting Victorian-style bar out on the Darwin Centre Courtyard terrace, shown left, where you can have a bellini, beer or gin fizz and reminisce about how Kitchener knew your father. We have live jazz, picnic rugs for hire, and a suitably summery food menu for you to try out.

 

The Darwin Centre will be open if you want to visit the Cocoon and you can also take part in the Up Close & Personal expert guided tours of The Deep Sea exhibition and the Wildlife Garden.hanging-whale.jpg

 

During the evening, we will have a free microfossil workshop in the Central Hall.

 

Bill Wyman took part in this workshop when we put it on at the recent VIP launch of The Deep Sea – much to my astonishment! The workshop is great fun, so do take a look at it.


There are more After Hours to come on 30 July and 27 August.


1 2 3 Previous Next