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What's new at the Museum

2 Posts tagged with the sexual_behaviour tag

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.


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.’



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.


They're all at it in this exhibition. But that's to be expected as Sexual Nature is a candid exploration of sex in the natural world.


From bonobos to bunnies, guppies to gorillas, hedgehogs to hyenas and pheasants to penis bones, there is virtually no animal sexual practice, appendage or orientation that doesn't get a look in at this extraordinary science show. Plants and humans feature too, although the emphasis is on the animal kingdom. And the amusing antics of Isabella Rossellini impersonating animals having sex in her Green Porno film series are a real treat.


Today, 11 February, the exhibition opened its doors to the public after a hectic week of VIP events, media previews and press coverage and as I write our first visitors are now getting a taste of this sensuous and beautifully designed gallery experience. The heady mix of specimens, exhibits, films and facts is guartanteed to leave them buzzing by the end of their visit. I feel sure many will be coming back for more.


Before you visit, get a taste of the exhibition in our highlights slideshow on the website.


Glimpse Sexual Nature's highlights in our slideshow


Find out about Sexual Nature and how to book tickets


The exhibition contains frank information and imagery about sex, so it's best to look at the Parents sample content guide on the website first if you're considering bringing kids. A similar brochure is also available in the gallery.


You can visit Sexual  Nature in the evening at our After  Hours monthly events and if you want to take things further, there are sex talks and sexuality debates coming up too at After  Hours.


Read the news story about the Sexual Nature VIP event


Think you know a bit about animal sex lives? Test your knowledge on the BBC Surprises of animal sex quiz


In the meantime, enjoy the exhibition's launch week in pictures. Select the photos to enlarge them.

VIP event images


Ronnie Wood capturing a moment of sex at the exhbiition entrance


Gavin and Stacey's Matthew Horne with his back to the beetles...


Newsreader Emily Maitlis, the lady in red


Jameela Jamil in front of the descriptive panels that adorn the exhibition gallery walls


Mr and Mrs Martin Clunes in front of the Red deer stag


Museum director Mike Dixon gives his opening speech at the Sexual Nature VIP event


Gavin and Claudine (our press officer) on the phones - you can listen to lonely heart ads and choose the one for you


Ronnie Wood on his way out through the Sexual Nature shop with a copy of the pop-up Kama Sutra
Media preview


Admiring the majestic Red deer stag specimen, a centrepiece of the exhibition


Inside the gallery, on the right is the great Argus pheasant specimen


Meeting Guy the gorilla


Watching buffalos compete on one of the large video projections


Inside the gallery, with the foxes mating display to the right


At the final display area, listening to lonely hearts messages on the phones