It’s great to get out and about at the weekend, and see you favourite wildlife live in action. Sometimes though, you might not be able to do this – maybe mum and dad are too busy, or you just aren’t up for the cold or rain. This is where an often forgotten source of wildlife adventures can come in extra handy: the museum.
Now, some people, have a fear of any place that ends in the sound “eum”. But these days you really needn’t worry, because museums are vibrant, fun and interactive places to spend a day. If you like wildlife, you want to look for one that has a “Natural History” or “Natural Science” collection. This means it will have lots of interesting artefacts about the natural world for you to look at.
The nearest museum to me that has one of these collections, is the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. I have been a few times, and absolutely love the natural history display, with its three levels of models, skeletons, artefacts and information – you can get totally lost in the beauty and mysteries of the natural world, for hours!
This time though, I deliberately wen to the museum to see an exhibition that I had seen advertised – The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. So, after a quick look around the natural history display, I headed to the exhibition gallery.
I spent the next few hours in a large gallery room, dimly lit so that the photographs could be displayed to their best. Once I had adjusted to the sleepy feeling this initially caused, I got used to the environment and slowly made my way around the pictures, reading the interesting text that came with each one. The photos were though provoking and beautiful in their own right, but some of the stories behind them and how they were taken, increased their impression on me. I’m not usually an art gallery person – I have a quick look around and then get cake. But this was different, I was admiring, learning and being inspired – all at the same time.
You can’t take photos when your are in the gallery, to protect the copyright (quite rightly) of the photographers. However you can buy postcards of some of the photos afterwards, so I bought my favourite, which was called “The Look of a Whale” by Wade Hughes. Once I had finished I decided that I could use a rest and chance to absorb everything I had seen…I was also hungry, so I went and had some cake!
When I got home, I felt like I had explored some of the wildlife from all across the World; I had been on an adventure. And yet to go on that adventure, all I had needed to do was catch a bus into one of the biggest cities in Scotland and go into a museum. You don’t have to be able to physically go to all corners of the World in order to experience it – you just have to go to what is literally on your doorstep, and let the adventure do the rest.
Plan your visit to the National Museum of Scotland by checking out their website here. Other great Natural History museums in the UK include: The Oxford Museum of Natural History; Natural History Museum Tring; Natural History Museum, London; Manchester Museum; Reading Museum.