The Central Hall's famous Diplodocus skeleton has a new furry friend this week. A bactrian camel with two humps and three heads - well actually it's one head in three sections - which stands proudly displaying its inner anatomy in front of the grand staircase and Charles Darwin's statue.
The plastinated camel in the Museum's Central Hall gives us a peek into Animal Inside Out, opening for Easter.
This unmissable plastinated specimen is one of the spectacular creatures from our next big exhibition, Animal Inside Out, which opens its doors to the public on Good Friday, 6 April. The camel points the way to the Waterhouse Gallery where the exhibition is currently being installed. We've adapted Gunther von Hagens' Animal BodyWorlds and this is the first time the show will be seen in the UK.
I asked Paul Gallagher who is managing the installation of Animal Inside Out how things were behind the scenes:
'The exhibition arrived on Saturday 24 March, in six large truck loads from Germany. For this particular unload we had to build an extra sturdy scaffold platform at the front of the Museum capable of withstanding loads up to three tonnes. We also had to use thicker protective wooden boards throughout the unload route into the Museum. And then we laid heavy strong steel plates to help bridge the changing floor levels between the Central Hall mosaic tiles and the fossil gallery wooden floor.
'Some of the larger exhibits such as the shark and the gorilla had to be unpacked outside and brought in piece-by-piece as they were too big to go through the doors.
'The bull arrived wrapped in very tight black plastic which looked really surreal in the fading night light as we fork-lifted it onto the platform. Luckily for us, the huge elephant came in several smaller sections in flight cases on wheels which all fitted through all our doorways easily!
'Walking around the exhibition space, it's clear that the larger creatures will undoubtedly be the stars of the show for their sheer scale and dominance in the gallery. The huge charging bull seemingly frozen in time as a centrepiece really demonstrates the real power and presence of this animal. I wouldn't wave a red flag here. But there are plenty of smaller specimens in the glass showcases that will excite visitors.
'Another really exciting aspect of this show is the newly-designed graphic panels that we’ve produced here in-house by our own resident designer. He has created a stunning series of really dynamic yet elegant sketches using all sorts of animals in various poses that really complement the exhibit descriptions. These really enhance the 3D objects on display. They are so good that I hear some will feature on our merchandise range in the exhibition's shop. So I know I’ll be getting a T shirt!
'The camel plastinate which has just been unveiled in the Central Hall is an attractor for the exhibition. Luckily this is on wheels so even though it weighs over 1 tonne it can be moved quite easily for the many functions that take place there in the evenings unless of course our clients are happy to invite it to their event.
''Having shown a few people round the gallery already, the first thing most say is: ‘these aren’t real animals though are they?’ So it’s really great when you tell them that ‘oh yes, they are real. Their faces change dramatically as they can’t believe it. Then they usually say ‘WOW. How amazing it’s unbelievable’’. So I hope all our visitors will feel the same way too.'
Watch this space for more animal insides news next week.
Find out more about Animal Inside Out on our exhibition website.