MD and I ventured into the Museum of Natural History to see its famous collection of dinosaurs, but we also found a series of contrasts in the museum itself. The main building is magnificent. It could rival many cathedrals throughout Europe for grandeur. Built in 1881, the museum houses an extensive set of natural collections from around the world.
But as we wandered around, we discovered a new wing with the curious addition of a giant cocoon with exhibit space inside. This annex also houses many working scientific departments, all behind giant glass walls, making me wonder how much these working professionals appreciate being the subject of intense observation by school children and other tourists. Rather puts the shoe on the other foot. Wedged between these two opposite architectural styles were also very ordinary-looking hallways. As I said, the museum is a series of contrasts.
The dinosaur exhibit was both extensive and meant to be terrifying.
The rooms are kept dark-ish, presumably to protect the bones and other artifacts from light damage.
This also means that the spotlights on each set of remains cast eery shadows on the walls. Then there are the animatronic dinosaurs, many of which sported bloody jaws, sinister looks and blood-curdling screeches. We got it: dinosaurs were dangerous. In spite of the hysteria, the museum has some great pieces here.
After the dinosaur section, we wandered through the gems and minerals – case after case of rare and common elements of every conceivable shape and color. When I was a kid, my dad (AKA the Bruce) was particularly keen to wander the countryside near my grandparents’ farm and often took whichever kids were around on his wanderings. He could spot a fossil or arrowhead at 50 paces, probably still can. He would never have organized his findings in pristine cases like these, but this room reminded me of him and those adventures.
Title quote: Cera in the The Land Before Time