Thursday, 29 September 2016

Horniman Museum

It's probably not surprising that London is spoilt for museums - the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the science museum are all world class and famous institutions. And even places that a less popular with tourists, like the Grant Museum of Zoology are worth a visit (http://viewsoftheock.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/grant-museum-of-zoology.html)
But for those who are willing to travel a bit further out of their way, there is another which is well worth visiting - the Horniman Museum in south London
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Founded by Frederick Horniman who used the money from the family business to house his collection of Natural History, Musical Instruments, and Anthropology, it opened to the public in 1901, eventually donating the building and its contents to the people of London, with the London County Council as  it's trustees.
Unlike most Natural History museums, the collection is not structured taxonomically, but in accordance with Horniman's wishes in the form of evolution and adaption in order to educate young people.
Hence, weaver bird nests can be found next to a trap door spider

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And a fossilised tetrabelodon skull is next to one its modern relatives in a fascinating display demonstrating the evolution of elephants.
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And human evolution and migration is explained via a collection of casts of modern and early human skulls:
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As well as the permanent displays, there are also temporary exhibitions.  The current one on how dinosaurs may have raised their young runs until the end of October 2016.
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The museum not only consists of dead stuffed animals, in the basement, there is a recently renovated aquarium, featuring small fish from around the world:
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It not only features exotic species but also a chance to see what is probably Britain's rarest animal - the pool frog.
Once found in a few locations in East Anglia it was thought to be an introduced species and by the time it was discovered to be native it was too late to save it from extinction in the wild.  
But the Horniman museum, along with institutions, are attempting to reintroduce it into the wild.
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And even when the museum closes, the gardens are still open where it is possible to enjoy some fantastic views of the City of London.
Before making the two and half hour journey back to Oxfordshire.



More information on this fascinating place can be found at http://www.horniman.ac.uk/ and on twitter @HornimanMuseum

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