January 29, 2012
Whilst up in Liverpool for Christmas managed to sneak in another visit to the World Museum. I wanted to have a look around the actual exhibits and see if i remembered any of it from my childhood. I did not. Avoiding the big blockbuster show: Age of the Dinosaurs, we meandered our way round the vertebrate collections. Whilst clearly in need of a serious cash injection, amongst the displays were some wonderful jems…
And of course a woodpecker – the European Pic Noir
However the show stopper I believe for this genteel old lady of a museum was a brilliantly modern, hands on study lab, the Natural History Centre! I first spied it from across the iron gantry and practically ran to get to it. It made you want to be a child again, it was amazing – I didn’t know where to look first. All subjects of the natural world were here : bugs, birds, mammals, plantlife, sealife, rocks and fossils. Specimens were everywhere, there was drawer after drawer of jewel-like beetles and butterflies, birds and eggs, cases of skeletons and skins, table tops of objects to handle and explore.
One drawer revealed this very rare little chap – the Spoon-billed Sandpiper – a bird very much in the press at the moment for the urgent international efforts being made to save the species, which is on the brink of extinction.
What a wonderful educational resource for young and old alike. I had never seen anything quite like this before. I later discovered that Liverpool Museum was the first to have this type of hands on centre, which has since been imitated across the world. Wow.
It is not a surprise to learn then, that in 1884 the museum initiated a school loan service, the first in any museum, circulating 16 boxes of exhibits to 64 schools in its first year.How cool, I wonder what was in those boxes? Anyway all rather impressive me thinks.
Of course we could not visit Liverpool town centre without stopping by the brand new Museum of Liverpool on the waterfront, which opened late summer of 2011. A very modern animal indeed, covering all aspects of the city’s history and makeup. I refer to the official line: “The Museum of Liverpool reflects the city’s global significance through its unique geography, history and culture. Visitors can explore how the port, its people, their creative and sporting history have shaped the city”
All very impressive and definitely something to interest everyone from all walks of life. I was also pleased to see some of Clem Fisher’s feathered and furry friends had found a few relevant places amongst the new contemporary layout. Lord Derby ‘s treasures still live on! Not to be missed, her amusing display of birds clambering to take ownership of the title – the ‘real Liver Bird’, situated a little unkindly, but very conveniently by the Gents loos!