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The Natural History Museum celebrates Roald Dahl Day with James and the Giant Weekend

This September, the Natural History Museum is joining forces with the Roald Dahl Story Company to deliver a family festival, James and the Giant Weekend, ahead of Roald Dahl Day - the annual global celebrations which mark the author’s birthday on September 13th.

Taking place on Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September, the Museum, home to the most scientifically important collection of its kind anywhere in the world, will offer a range of exciting activities and events for families to explore the natural world. All the events are inspired by Roald Dahl’s beloved James and the Giant Peach which charts James Henry Trotter’s encounters with a range of insects, including the Old Green Grasshopper, aboard a giant magical peach.

Explore the Darwin Centre, meet our scientists and learn about the real, wild and wonderful lives of James’ insect friends through the Museum’s collections. Venture into the Wildlife Garden with the Museum’s expert minibeast detectives to discover some of James’s real life friends and many more creatures that share our world.

Back inside the Museum, head to the Attenborough Studio where Museum scientists will take you on a journey through the collections and their research to discover what is stranger – fact or fiction. Come face to face with specimens from our world-leading Collection of over 34 million insects and see that the charm and beauty depicted in the story is more-than matched by the magnificence of the natural world.

Join the visiting team from the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre for a “Whizzbanging Words” session* and reveal Dahl’s original ideas for the story, take the “What Bug Am I?” quiz, and create your own wearable antennae to take home. Then enjoy a well-earned rest with some entertainment provided by a three-piece musical band, Roald Dahl's Giant Bugs.

Once back in school, join us as the Museum plays host to the Puffin Virtually Live: Roald Dahl Day Show. Follow Museum scientists as they delve deeper into the Collection revealing more about the natural world. The show will be broadcast into thousands of schools both nationally and internationally at 14.00 GMT on September 13, Roald Dahl Day itself.

Beth Stone, Head of Learning and Audiences at the Natural History Museum says:
‘We’re delighted to be working with the Roald Dahl Story Company to excite the next generation of scientists and story-tellers. The Museum exists to inspire a love the natural world, and to encourage others to protect it.

'Through James and the Giant Weekend, families will experience first-hand some of the activities our scientists are involved in, learn more about the creatures in the story and leave with an ignited curiosity for the natural world. As the Old Green Grasshopper says, "There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours that you haven't started wondering about yet.'"

Bernie Hall, Marketing Director of the Roald Dahl Story Company says:
‘We are thrilled to be joining forces with the inspiring team at the Natural History Museum, who are global experts in the natural world. This year, the focus of Roald Dahl Day is on James and the Giant Peach. It’s a story of how unexpected friends can transform your life and take you to amazing places.

'We think the Natural History Museum counts as one of those amazing places and we couldn’t be happier to count the team there as our friends, helping children and families to explore the natural world, as celebrated in Roald Dahl’s iconic first story.’

To really thrill the family, meet creatures from the story in the shadows of darkness in the Museum’s blockbuster exhibition Life in the Dark, free for children aged 16 and under. Test your senses to find an earthworm, crawl through caves to catch a glimpse of the giant centipede and scurry away from the spiders. Or be transported far away, like the characters in the story, as you wonder through Sensational Butterflies where hundreds of tropical butterflies flutter around you.

Dates and times:                   8-9 September 2018, 11.00 - 16.50
Admission:                            Free
                                                *The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre’s ’Whizzbanging Words’ sessions are free, but ticketed. Reserve your place online.
Location:                               Orange Zone
Nearest tube:                        South Kensington

Notes for editors

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Media contact: Tel: +44 (0) 20 7942 5654/+44 (0)7799 690151 Email:

  • The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome more than 4.5 million visitors each year and our website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and learning activities through innovative programmes such as citizen science and family festivals.

  • Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and many more of the world’s best-loved children’s stories. He remains one of the world’s greatest storytellers and is celebrated annually by the world’s biggest author-based event, Roald Dahl Day – which is recognised across the globe on 13th September. His first children’s story, James and the Giant Peach, published in 1961 was a huge hit. Every subsequent book became a best-seller. Today, his stories are available in 61 languages and, by a conservative estimate, he has sold more than 250 million books. Many of these stories have also been adapted for stage and screen, including the 1971 film classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wes Anderson’s acclaimed Fantastic Mr Fox, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi-award-winning production of Matilda The Musical.