Showing posts with label Taxidermy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxidermy. Show all posts

Friday, 18 July 2014

Taxidermy Tales

There's nothing like taxidermy, and sometimes models of animals,
for creating opportunities to talk with visitors in museums.
I know I love to chat, and talk to visitors, helping them to engage with objects in museums,
but sometimes all you need is a stuffed animal and they're off,
sharing their own experiences with these animals outside the museum.

Taxidermy in the Horniman Museum seems to bring out the storyteller
in the Great British public.

Like the couple, "not from London"
who had Grass snakes mating in their garden.
"They were there for hours. Entwined.
They were still there when we came back from the shops."

Then there was the woman who put her coat on to go out,
 put her hand in her pocket and pulled out a live mouse.

Then there was the lady, and you couldn't tell by looking at her,
who had had enough, she was pee'd off (I use that word advisedly)
with the badgers digging up her garden.

So when they began burrowing into the foundations of her house,
she took matters into her own hands, it was time to act.
She knew exactly what to do.
She wee'd in the hole they were digging.
"At night of course. They never came back!"

Then there's my favourite story, in a previous blog-post.
About the teenager who wasn't terribly complimentary about her brother's girlfriend.

On further reflection, it may have been a compliment.
It depends what you think of Pekinese.

Why not visit the Horniman Museum and see if the stuffed animals in the
Natural History Gallery.
It may inspire you to tell a tale or two.

Details on their website here.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Visitor Responses

When looking at objects with visitors you get such varied responses... 

'I don't want to wee on it!' What did that five year old make of our discussion about foxes wee-ing on hedgehogs to make them uncurl from a ball when trying to attack them?
'Has that hedgehog ever been wee'd on by a fox?' asked his big sister after she'd touched it.
I know a little about the animals in the Hands-On Base at the Horniman Museum, however not the answer to that question.
 'Cute but full of fleas', said his mother.

'It doesn't move anymore!', said a perplexed two and a half year old about this squirrel. Understanding the difference between dead and alive in taxidermy is a difficult concept when you're two and a half.

One kid asked me about a stuffed fox...
'Is it dead?'
'yes', I replied
'but is it dead alive?'
I reassured him that it really was 'dead alive'.
Stuffed foxes can make little children very nervous.

A stuffed fox can be a deal breaker. I've seen little children refuse to come into a gallery because of a curled up taxidermy fox. Or, as is more usual, rush over to it, stroke it and occasionally try and sit on it.  

Perhaps I stressed the importance of safe object handling too much...
'I heard the sea... and I didn't break it', said a really keen visitor age three.

These objects are in the Hands-On Base in the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London. Visit the Discovery For All session on Sunday afternoons. You can touch them and see what you make of them, over 3,000 of them.
You can read more about the handling session here.
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