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Happy festive season to you all

Posted by Rose Dec 22, 2010

'And so this is Christmas, and what have we done?...'

 

Well tons this year, at the Museum.

 

We had the launch of a great many new events like Dino Snores, Night Safari, Summer After Hours, the Big Nature Debate and Science Uncovered night, and our year-long celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity and the illuminating online Species of the day series, along with the public opening of the Museum's most recent interactive film, Who do you think you really are?

 

And of course there have been three special and successful exhibitions, The Deep Sea, Butterfly Explorers and Amazonia, alongside the usual gallery activities, lectures, talks and shows that kept us buzzing throughout the year.

 

It was exciting too to be on the TV in the Museum of Life BBC series back in March, and we were regularly cheered up by the Wildlife Garden comings and goings in the summer, which included the popular foxcam and bee colony updates.

 

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Now there's snow on the ground, the Ice Rink (seen above from the cafe bar gallery) beckons outside for frosty fun and ice skating, and inside the Museum, the fabulous Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition is on show as well as the dinosaurs, and lots, lots more.

 

Do come and visit over the festive season and remember we're closed from Christmas Eve until and including Boxing Day, 24 - 26 December.

 

Find out what's on over the festive season

 

Look out for the festive Species of the day on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and a very special last species on 31 December.

 

Happy holidays!

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Here is one of my favourite images from the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition this year, from the Ten Years and Under category. 'Bringing back breakfast' by Lucas Marsalle. Beautiful and somehow makes me feel Christmassy.
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Although the gates of the Wildlife Garden are now closed to regular visitors, winter is a busy time for the garden's team. Caroline, the garden's manager, gives us some festive news as the snow was falling in the recent cold spell.

 

'By mid-winter, when all fruits and nuts have been removed by birds and squirrels or fallen and collected by smaller animals, it is time to prune and lay hedges and to coppice small trees and shrubs such as hazel, and willow.

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The view of the Museum's Waterhouse building from the Wildlife Garden's frozen pond

'The cut wood is used for making woven fences around the meadow. We will also be planting small hawthorn and blackthorn shrubs (whips), to thicken up our new hedges.

 

'When the ground is freezing we retreat indoors (to our shed-come-office below) to input data of species recorded during the previous year.

 

'Observations last summer included this colourful longhorn beetle Rutpela maculata (below left) photographed by one of our visitors, Mark Mansfield, in the garden’s meadow, during Open Garden Squares Weekend in June.

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'Other new insect sightings in the Wildlife Garden last year included the small copper butterfly Lycaena phlaeas and 5 moth species, including Elachista obliquella which hasn't been previously recorded elsewhere in Middlesex.

 

'In November, the Wildlife Garden was awarded the Princess Alice Countess of Athlone Award for the Environment by the Brighter Kensington and Chelsea Scheme.

 

'The gates to the garden will open again in April. In the meantime, the garden is open by arrangement, and if you would like a winter visit please enquire at the Information desk inside the Museum. As you can see from the footprints in the snow pictured above, there is still wildlife activity even on the most wintry days!'

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The Wildlife Garden 'office' - a warm retreat when it's freezing outside

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We've been winning awards again!

Posted by Rose Dec 13, 2010

Last week, we joined the likes of Mica Paris and Twiggy at a glitzy awards ceremony to receive 2 top tourism awards for the Best London for Free Experience and the Best Family Fun. We won both these prestigious Evening Standard People's Choice awards, which form part of the BT Visit London Awards, for the second year in a row.

 

The ceremony took place at the theatrical Bloomsbury Big Top (shown below) on 8 December to celebrate the best of tourism in the capital. The event was hosted by TV presenter Neil Fox. Olympic gold-winner Dame Kelly Holmes presented the Outstanding Achievement Award to winner, Twiggy.

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Our head of Visitor Services Sandy Clark and Head of the Formal Learning team Aby Tinkler - pictured here with Mica Paris who performed on the night - were there to accept the awards.

 

Sandy told me: "To be voted by our visitors as the best in these two categories is a fantastic achievement and a great honour. And a huge thank-you should go to all those visitors who voted for the Museum in these awards

 

"For me the People's Choice awards gives approval from our visitors to what we do and how we do it, and that is something that all of us in our industry aim for.

 

"Winning these awards was made all the more rewarding and humbling because we up against such a high calibre of attractions.

 

"The whole of the Natural History Museum team should be congratulated for all their hard work in making the Museum such a popular and exciting place to both work and visit."

 

It's been a great year for the Museum's visitors with a record number of more than 4.5 million people enjoying our galleries so we must be doing something right.

 

Read the news story to find out more the Museum's visitor attractions and the Visit London Awards

 

The week before, the Museum hosted this year's Green Awards ceremony where it was announced that the UN's 2010 International Year of Biodiversity campaign had won the Best Green International Campaign Award. Over 450 organisations including the Natural History Museum are part of the IYB-UK partnership, so this was another honour for us.

 

Read the news story about the Best Green International Campaign Award

 


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Next year's star attractions

Posted by Rose Dec 3, 2010

Last week we announced our big attractions for 2011 to the press.


It's going to be an exciting and busy year for us all - we'll have a new permanent gallery in January, our Sexual Nature exhibition opening in February, and the Age of the Dinosaur family blockbuster knocking us jurassic-wards from April.

 

The new permanent Images of Nature gallery will showcase over 110 images of, strangely enough, nature. Among the diverse paintings, illustrations, photographs and modern scientific images, will be 2 very different dodo paintings.

 

 

Watch this video and discover how Dr Julian Pender Hume's newly-commissioned painting of the dodo, Raphus cucullatus, differs from Roelandt Savery's 17-century masterpiece.

 

Both paintings feature together in the new gallery. You can see this dodo video and explore more fascinating dodo details at one of the interactive kiosks in the gallery.

 

hu-yun-500.jpgImages of Nature will also include a temporary exhibition of Chinese watercolours from the Reeves collection and some beautiful contemporary drawings, shown right, from our Shanghai-based artist-in-residence (inspired by the Chinese collection).

 

Discover more about Images of Nature

 

Moving on from the lovely to the lascivious, Sexual Nature opens just in time for Valentine's Day, on 11 February. As you can imagine we're all getting very steamed up about this one. And very happy to welcome Guy the gorilla to the centre stage of the exhibition - as a 'superb symbol of male masculinity' says the press release.

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Guy was last seen at the Museum on public display in 1982, having been donated to us in 1978, following his death earlier that year. Guy was a hugely popular character at London Zoo for over 30 years.

 

Find out about Sexual Nature and book tickets

 

Read the news story to learn more about Guy the gorilla and the Sexual Nature exhibition

 

We've only just announced Age of the Dinosaur - it doesn't open until the spring - but this is going to be BIG and much more of a themed adventure than some of our usual exhibitons. So watch out for more details.

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In the meantime, catch the current exhibitions before they close. Amazonia finishes next week on 12 December and Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year in early March next year.

Above: Guy the gorilla takes pride of place at our forthcoming Sexual Nature exhibition