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8 Posts tagged with the sexual_nature tag
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This week we heard the exciting news that last year's summer exhibition, Sexual Nature, has won the Museum + Heritage 2012 Award for best Temporary or Touring Exhibition. The team who conceived, produced and curated the exhibition were at the Awards Ceremony to celebrate. Among them was Mike Sarna, the Museum's Head of Exhibition Interpretation:

 

'Like everything the Natural History Museum does, the Sexual Nature exhibition helped to enthuse more people about the natural world. We are thrilled that the exhibition has been recognised for its excellence and we hope to build on that in the future with more eye-opening, thought-provoking exhibitions.

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Museum staff celebrate Sexual Nature's award for best Temporary Exhibition at the prestigious Museums + Heritage 2012 Awards ceremony at Earls Court on Wednesday 16 May.

'Over 100 specimens from the Museum’s scientific research collections provided the main basis for the displays. Cases were filled with colourful birds for attracting, antlers for battling and my favourite "love darts” that certain snails shoot at each other as a sort of foreplay. Film was also key to bringing these specimens to life and demonstrating their sexual behaviours. Watching the many birds of paradise dance and manipulate their feathers for females was so fascinating to watch.

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'We also included Isabella Rossellini’s humorous short Green Porno films. Of course museums are known for interactivity and I was delighted to see how many visitors smelt Jaguar spray, though those visitors might not be delighted with me.

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'But the exhibition was also about us - very special sexual animals. The exhibition concluded with a reflective interactive section about human sexual diversity. These displays were in effect curated by you through our Facebook page where we asked people provocative questions about what true love and sex meant to them.

 

'Sexual Nature’s prime objective was to attract new audiences to the Museum. With the exhibition we asked visitors to leave their pre-conceptions at the door and aimed to shift perceptions by delivering engaging science on a core Natural History Museum subject, evolution. We tackled evolution through one of its most important drivers, sexual selection, in a way that was fun, humorous and informative. The Museum is all about transformation and the exhibition was a wonderful catalyst for wider discussion, including our public programmes. The topic was one of our most retweeted topics, so we know you loved talking about it too.

 

'The Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence celebrate best practice within museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions and attract hundreds of entries from across the sector. Categories range from best permanent exhibition to innovation. The judges cited our amazing interpretation, our reaching out to new audiences and the bravery of the Museum to tackle a challenging topic. We are thrilled at its success and look forward to it's tour around the globe. If you missed the exhibition you might want to go to Paris in October for the opening of its international tour.'

 

The Temporary or Touring Exhibition Award category was hotly contended and we were up against strong competition including Derby Museums & Art Gallery's Down the Back of the Sofa, the Museum of London's Dickens and London and the National Army Museum's War Horse.

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Read the news story about Sexual Nature opening in February 2011

 

Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence 2012

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Our Sexual Nature exhibition peeps out of its gallery shell and darts onto the streets in August, with the help of the Q20 Theatre group's musical Snail Courtship Show on the South Bank.

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The Snail Courtship Show rehearsing here on the Darwin Centre Coutyard before moving to the South Bank. Select images to enlarge them

Snail courtship is one of the many weird and wonderful examples of animal mating rituals that are currently on display in our Sexual Nature exhibition.

 

'The courtship ritual of the snail can be an unusual affair,' explains the exhibition's Interpretation Developer Tate Greenhalgh. ‘Roman snails shoot darts at one another in s&m-style foreplay. These darts stimulate the partners and aid fertilisation.’

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Incidentally, Roman snails (right) - so called because it is believed that they were introduced into the UK by the Romans - are now an endangered species and have legal protection from collection, killing and trade here.

 

The live snail show performance at South Bank combines music, theatre and science to tell its sticky love story, and is an example of how the Museum is bringing the science of its exhibitions to life. Each performance runs for about 20 minutes.

 

At the show, lucky onlookers will get the chance to grab an exclusive 2-for-1 deal on tickets to the Sexual Nature exhibition.

 

You can catch the gastropod peep show on the South Bank by the Q20 Theatre group on:

 

  • Friday 12 August, from 15.00 - 22.00
  • Sunday 21 August, from 12.00 - 17.00
  • Monday 29 August, from 12.00 - 17.00

 

As well as the Roman snail, visitors to our Sexual Nature exhibition here can learn about a cacophony of other animal mating habits and discover the surprising scientific truth behind sex in the natural world .The exhibition contains frank information and imagery about sex.

 

The 2-for-1 ticket offer will be available to Snail Courtship Show audiences until the close of the exhibition on 2 October 2011. The tickets are only usuable on weekdays.

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Who's the daddy of them all?

Posted by Rose Jun 17, 2011

It's Father's Day this Sunday, and so time to salute the male of the species who go the extra mile in parenthood and childcare.

 

Top of the list must be the Pregnant male seahorse, Hippocampus angustus. This new-age man goes further than any other to get involved with parenting. The female seahorse impregnates the male, pumping him full of her eggs, which he fertilises and nurtures, giving birth to 100s of fully formed tiny babies. His reward is guaranteed paternity.

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Homemakers and hunters: Adelie penguins (left) and Swedish wolves (right) set great examples as dedicated dads.

Other dedicated dads are the Adelie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae, (above left) who are house-proud homemakers. The males arrive at breeding grounds early and build nests from stones, often stealing from each other. When females arrive, the males invite them in and present them with pebbles to demonstrate their position on the propery ladder.

 

There was even a pair of male penguins at New York Central Zoo that hatched an egg and raised the chick together.

 

Then there's the super-heroes like the Midwife toad, Ayltes obstetricans, who keeps his kids tied to his apron strings by wrapping the eggs round his legs until he can take them safely to the water, when the tadpoles are ready to hatch. Or the Swedish wolf, Canis lupus (pictured above right from Sexual Nature exhibition) whose tireless hunting skills are crucial in the rearing of his wolf pups. The pups are born blind and deaf and utterly dependent on dad and mum.

 

For more insights into the world of parenting in the animal kingdom, visit the Sexual Nature exhibition showing now at the Museum.

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Been wondering why there are seahorses adorning the entrance to our Sexual Nature exhibition? Maybe it's because the males are so unique,

In the meantime, Happy Father's Day, human dads!


Find out about the Sexual Nature exhibition on our websiteor

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As I write this blog, I see visions of kids everywhere in schools and nurseries sticking bits of glitter and paper flowers to collage cards, while many of us try to remember not to forget to send a card to our mums everwhere. Yes, it's Mother's Day on Sunday, but spare a thought for the other mothers in Nature.

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Elephas maximus to Elephas maximus minor, 'Where's my card? I told you an elephant never forgets'

Both the Indian elephant (above) and African elephant mums' pregnancies last about 22 months and a calf weighs around 120 kg at birth - twins are also common. Then there's the calf rearing and suckling, which is long and slow for 2 to 3 years - a task that falls entirely to the females. But all the females in a group are involved in a calf's upbringing and protection. Elephant mums are definitely worth making cards for.

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Sexual Nature exhibition's prolific ocean sunfish mum (left) and the oldest pregnant female on display: 375-million-year-old placoderm fish fossil (right). Select images to enlarge them

Orang-utan mothers spend 4 years caring for each offspring. Sperm whale mothers and their calves live together in groups called nursery pods. In striped hyena families, the females raise their offspring alone and definitely don't encourage long-term support from the males. And ocean sunfish (above) produce 300 million eggs each time they spawn.

 

if you're interested in knowing more of this mumsy stuff and how the female of the species end up becoming mums in the first place, then come along to our Sexual Nature exhibition.You'll also encounter the oldest internally fertilised mother. The pregnant placoderm fish fossil (above) on display in the exhibition gallery is 375 million years old!

 

See the Sexual Nature exhibition video trailer for more highlights

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And on Sunday if you're out enjoying the spring flowers, see if the bluebells are out near you and tell us in our just-launched bluebell survey

 

Read the latest news story about the bluebell survey

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Just one week to go 'till our Sexual Nature exhibitions opens on 11 February. I popped in to the gallery this week to see how it's going and, despite many exhibits still waiting to be installed, the space looks incredible. I can see already that this exhibition has the wow factor.

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Of course, I can't give away much more yet, but the examples of dominant males, Guy the gorilla (below) and the beautiful Red deer stag (above), have definitely taken their pride of place. The three specially commissioned taxidermy mating displays of rabbits, hedgehogs and foxes were just arriving when I peeped in, and these are also bound to attract attention when it opens.

 

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You'll be hearing more about the exhibition in the press and media and on our website next week.

 

Watch this space for more images and behind the scenes.

 

Find out about the Sexual Nature exhibition

 

Click on the images to enlarge them.

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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.

 

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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
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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
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Sexual Nature is a forthcoming exhibition about sex in the natural world that's opening at the Museum in Spring.

 

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We’d like to ask your help with the final section which is about human sexuality.

 

For example, we’d like to know which objects you think signify a sexually attractive trait.

 

Now, I'd probably say he's got to be cool and so suggest a pair of sunglasses to symbolise this. Others might opt for a finely-honed torso and suggest some dumbells, or the lads among us might go for... well who knows, you tell us!

 

If you want to take part in the survey, you have to be over 16. It’s completely anonymous. And bear in mind this is a Natural History Museum exhibition.

 

Take part in the online Sexual Nature survey

 

At the end of the week that Wills and Kate announced their wedding plans, what better time to be thinking about your perfect mate.

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