Skip navigation
0

Five years ago a female bottlenose whale found her way into the River Thames. At 6 metres long, the whale was unmissable and her every move was followed by the public and the media.  Sadly, despite human efforts, she died towards the end of a rescue attempt, under the gaze of the world’s media.

whale-skull-900.jpg

Last weekend, the whale's skeleton went on display at our Tring Museum in a new free exhibition, The Thames Whale Story.

 

I asked Alice Dowsell, the exhibition's interpretation manager, to tell us about the final installation:

 

'It’s been an exciting week at Tring since the enormous Thames whale skeleton was installed on 18 January. After a lot of hard work and planning in transporting the whale and its custom-built case out to Tring and into the only gallery large enough to hold it, we’ve been enjoying everyone’s reaction to the display. It seems lots of you out there have fond memories of the whale and its journey in the Thames back in January 2006 – hard to believe that was five years ago. Alongside the whale skeleton we also have other specimens carefully chosen from our 3,000-strong research collection.

 

'There's been fun for the younger visitors too this week who have enjoyed dressing up in lab coats to play our Prepare Yourself game. They’ve been working out just how scientists go about turning a big dead whale into a nice skeleton for our collections. We’ve also had young and old trying their hand at Body Detectives, learning that there’s a lot about an animal’s life that you can find out after it’s dead.'

 

thames-whale-sabin.jpg

Richard Sabin, the Museum's Senior Curator of Mammals, seen here preparing the skeleton, adds:


'It’s great to get the Thames Whale out on display in the Natural History Museum at Tring. The setting in gallery 5 is superb. There is still so much public and media interest in this story after five years, and the exhibition will really give us a chance to put the use of Museum research collections into context.'

 

Find out about visiting the Natural History Museum at Tring


Read the news story about the Thames Whale Story exhibition

3

This orang-utan has a smirk on her face, don't you think? You can find out why on our fabulous Sexual Nature website which we've just launched for the new exhibition.

 

orangutan-image-900.jpg

In fact, you'll be seeing quite a lot of this foxy-looking orang-utan over the coming weeks as she's one of the stars in the exhibition's publicity posters.

 

Our Sexual Nature exhibition is guaranteed to be a real eye-opener, so make sure you make a note in your diary that it opens on 11 February, just in time for Valentine's Day.

 

We'd also like to say a special thanks to those of you who helped us with the final display of the exhibition. In an earlier blog, and on Facebook and Twitter, we asked you to suggest an object that signified what you considered to be the most sexually attractive trait.

 

You sent in many entertaining suggestions and here are the 3 traits that will feature with their related objects in the conclusion area of the exhibition.casablanca.jpg

 

No 1. Sexual chemistry -  represented by chemistry glassware

No. 2.  A good sense of humour - represented by the Donna Summer 7-inch record, 'Never Lose Your Sense of Humor'

No. 3. Smelling good - represented by a bottle of perfume

 

I can't wait to get a glimpse of the exhibition. I know that production has started in the gallery space and the preparation of some of the rare Museum specimens is well underway.

'Never Lose Your Sense of Humor' - a duet between Paul  Jabara and Donna Summer was released as a single in late 1979
0

We have just announced the call for entries for our prestigious wildlife photography competition.

 

It’s the 47th competition and the third time Veolia Environnement are sponsoring it. The competition is open to professional and amateur photographers and searches for the most inspirational and evocative images of nature.

 

This time round we have a new set of digital guidelines for entrants (to help with the technicalities of producing and submitting images.) It’s essential anyone entering has a good look at these as well as the all-important competition rules.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-www/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/swpy/2010/popup/109.jpg

Golden moment: this shot of a bearded tit was captured by a young Dane, Malte Parmo, one of 2010's highly commended 10 years and under award winners

There are more specific rules for the young photographers' competition this year. As Mark Carwardine, the chair of the judging panel, says in his foreword: ‘one of the most rewarding aspects of the competition is the number of youngsters proving themselves to be every bit as capable as their older peers.'

 

Over the last two years, my favourite winning images have been by the young photographers. I love the spontaneity and joyful character that often shines through their pictures. It always amazes me how difficult it is to tell the age of the photographer who took an image. Our young competition entrants are certainly giving the pros a run for their money.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-www/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/swpy/2010/popup/22.jpg

It's just an animal by Mark Leong, the 2010 Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year. His extraordinary sequence of 6 images follows episodes in the illegal trade of animal parts

 

Although there are no new categories to highlight for 2011, it is only the second year the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year award has run, so the competition team are encouraging more photographers to consider entering a broad range of portfolios for this award.

 

In 2010 there was no winner in the Urban Wildlife category, and that is something for people to aim for in this year’s round.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-www/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/swpy/2010/popup/15.jpg

For the special awards, the competition team are keen to attract more positive imagery in the One Earth Award, such as the story connected to this year’s winner, Turtle in trouble by Jordi Chias (above), which saw him release the animal from the net he found it trapped in. They are also hoping for a greater variety of the eligible species on the IUCN Red List in the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife.

 

New judges are joining the 2011 competition panel. Keep up to date with the Judges on the website as we’ll be adding their biographies shortly.

 

Find out how to enter the competition. You've got 2 months to get those images submitted, the closing date is 18 March 2011.

 

See last year's competition winners in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition which is open until 11 March

0

New year, new gallery

Posted by Rose Jan 7, 2011

What nicer way to start the new year than with the unveiling of a lovely new permanent gallery at the Museum.

dodo-gallery.jpg

Images of Nature opens in 2 weeks time on 21 January and I've just had a sneak peek at the elegantly refurbished gallery, pictured here.

 

Many of the displays and paintings are now in place, the lighting is getting its final adjustments and, although the John Reeves Collection of Chinese watercolours is yet to be installed in its impressive cabinets, the gallery space is looking beautfully grand and nearly complete.

 

Keulemans-bustards700.jpg

'We're just finishing the installation of the touch objects which have to be anchored to the gallery surfaces, and testing is underway for the interactive kiosks' says Peronel Craddock, Interpretation Manager for the gallery, explaining that 'because the John Reeves Collection paintings are so sensitive to light, these will only be added at the last minute.'

 

As I wander the length of the gallery, I pass by themed areas on either side, such as Inspiring, Recording, Observing, Mapping, Draw it, Modelling, and the majestic cabinets that will house the Reeves Collection.

 

One amazing oil canvas stands out, the huge Great Bustards, Little Bustards (left) by the prolific bird illustrator John Gerrard Keulemans. It literally reaches up from the bottom to the top of the gallery wall.

 

Here are a few more installation snaps of the work in progress in the gallery. Select them to enlarge.
gallery-wall-1000.jpg

recording-3.jpg

installing-pictures.jpg

gallery-fit-out-1000.jpg