On Saturday 10th October, scientists from the Museum’s Natural Sciences Department and Cardiff University came together to mark both National Biology Week and Earth Science Week, and to prove that biology (and geology) does indeed rock! Engaging displays and fun activities filled the Main Hall and were also scattered through the lower natural history galleries and Clore Learning Space. Visitors collected a stamping sheet at the door and could claim a stamp for every activity they completed. Everyone who collected ten stamps had the chance to colour in and make their own natural history badge to take home. Museum scientists wowed visitors with specimens from our collections behind the scenes, including the largest seeds in the world, glow-in-the-dark minerals and huge scarab beetles. Visitors could also explore sea creatures and seaweeds in a rock pool, and have a go at matching fossils to their correct place on a timeline of the Earth’s history. Fans of the game ‘Operation’ had the opportunity to try their hand with an actual size, adult dummy version, courtesy of biologists from Cardiff University, who also presented a range of other fascinating topics, including what we can learn from road kill, how healthy babies are made, how toadstools get their white spots and how to extract DNA from strawberries. Appropriately enough, the University’s team of geologists set up shop at the entrance to the Evolution of Wales gallery, and invited visitors to experiment with what makes an explosive volcano, try to bend rocks and have a go at stepping in the footsteps of dinosaurs. The day also featured several family-friendly events linked to the ‘Reading the Rocks: the remarkable maps of William Smith’ exhibition. Theatr na nÓg gave three performances of a one-man play exploring Smith’s work from the point of view of his young Welsh apprentice, and scientific historian Dr Leucha Veneer gave a family talk looking at early ideas about rocks and fossils.
We were joined this Saturday by three of our I Spy…Nature drawing competition winners and their families. The winners were shown around the shell, marine invertebrate and vertebrate collections as part of their special behind the scenes tour by museum curator Katie Mortimer-Jones. The tour started in the fluid store, where we keep our fluid preserved specimens such as marine bristleworms, starfish, crabs, lobsters and fish specimens. The competition winners saw some of our oldest fluid preserved specimens in the collections – Octopus, squid and cuttlefish specimens worked on by the very first director of the museum, William Evans Hoyle. Next on to the shell collections, one of the largest collections at the museum. Our visitors looked through draws of molluscs, spying Giant Clams, abalone shells and Giant African Land snails. Lastly the tour finished up in the Vertebrate store where we keep some of the Museum’s taxidermy and skeleton specimens. On display were several fox specimens, a crocodile, sheep and fish specimens that will be on display in a house next weekend as part of the ‘Made in Roath Festival’. After the tour, the winners were given their prizes of natural history goodies from the Museum Shop.
The Natural Sciences Department at National Museum Cardiff have once again taken their 'I Spy...Nature' Pop-up museum to the Capitol Shopping Centre in Cardiff during this year's summer holidays.
Our younger visitors were encouraged to utilise their drawing skills to draw some of the fantastic specimens from Amgueddfa Cymru Collections on display as part of a drawing competition. Examples were fossils, minerals, marine creatures, flowers and bugs from all around the world. We had some fantastic entries and it was extremely difficult to pick the winners. However, after much deliberation we eventually managed to pick a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in three age categories (under 6, 6-9 and 10-13 years). Due to the fact that it was so hard to choose winners we also selected a couple of highly commended drawings.
Each winner will receive a natural history inspired prize from the Museum's shop and will receive a special behind the scenes tour of the museum to find out what museum scientists do and where we house the museum's natural history collections, which comprise of over 3 million specimens.
We very much look forward to welcoming our prize-winners and their families to the museum.
Staff from the Museum's Natural Science Department have been popping-up at the Capitol Shopping Centre in Cardiff again this year with their 'I Spy Nature' Pop-up Museum. Museum curators and learning staff showed a plethora of objects and specimens from the Natural History collections at National Museum Cardiff to shoppers over a six day period in July and August. Over 1200 people visited the pop-up museum and saw fossils, minerals, marine invertebrates, a beautiful botanical display of common British species and a variety of insects from around the world. Created for this year’s display was an ingenious dark box for viewing florescent minerals under UV light. Visitors could be seen donning their safety specs to view inside. Our younger visitors were encouraged to utilise their drawing skills to draw some of the specimens on display as part of our drawing competition. Competition winners will be announced shortly and the winning entries will be displayed on the blog. We were even lucky enough to be visited by singer and actress Connie Fisher, whose favourite object was a fossilised fish.
The I Spy Nature exhition at National Museum Cardiff will run until 3rd January 2016.
Cardiff Bay Beach/Traeth Bae Caerdydd wasn’t the only taste of the sea for people visiting Cardiff yesterday. Museum Scientists brought the seashore to museum visitors in one of our Natural Science family workshops. These drop-in sessions aim to give visitors a taste of the wildlife that you can find on your doorstep, in woodland, on meadows…or in this case on the seashore.
More than 140 visitors looked down microscopes at seaweed, found out where on the shore different animals like to live, and sorted through many kinds of molluscs (such as top shells, periwinkles, slipper limpets, whelks, limpets, mussels), sea worms, starfish and sea urchins from the museum’s collections. Few people could resist popping the ‘bubble-wrap seaweed’ (Bladder Wrack) or counting the air bladders on the Egg Wrack to see how old it was. They found out which seaweed is used to make laverbread and which is used in their ice-cream!
With over 870 miles of stunning coastline, Wales is a great place to explore the seashore. We hope that some of our visitors can get outside and discover some of the animals and plants for themselves.
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