Mammoth Mummy MashUp Review

It's a Mammoth invasion…...

It’s a Mammoth invasion……

I have been sitting on this blog for weeks, well it has been the summer holidays, lots to do, kids to entertain, beaches to sit on. Then I suddenly realised one of these exhibitions closes on the 7th Sept 2014, only one week of the holidays left to get your kids down to the Natural History Museum to meet Lubya, the baby woolly mammoth frozen in time. So certainly time for this blog to hatch out and give birth to a Mammoth Mummy Mashup! I enjoyed my Mashup blog so much last time that I had to do it again, two exhibitions in one day, comparing the two for a special blog review. This time I am taking in preserved mammoths at the Natural History Museum and preserved mummies at the British Museum a perfect combination, lots to compare and contrast. Continue reading

Autism in museums – What does it mean for staff?

A welcome return to the Science Museum

A welcome return to the Science Museum

I am back at the Science Museum again, on my own, without the kids. They get very jealous when I come on my own, I have to make a conciliatory visit to the shop every time. Our 8 Sea Monkeys called Dave, bought on my last trip, have unfortunately not survived, but to be honest I am reluctant to buy more, their impromptu funeral is still fresh in my mind. Slightly distracted by the thought of Sea Monkeys, I pull myself back to reality, I am getting used to visiting these days, many years with no visits at all and now I am in and out with surprising frequency.

I have not come to visit for an event or exhibition, I have come to meet the staff who run the ‘Early Birds’ autism friendly programme. I have written about the programme in other posts which you can read on my blog, so I won’t go into much detail here about what happens on their early morning openings. Today I am focussing on the fantastic news that the events are going to be funded for another 3 years by the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation. It is wonderful to hear this, these events are so important, providing a way for many families with autistic children to visit the museum for the first time, so I am really pleased to find out more about their plans going forward. Continue reading

The Great Animal Orchestra – The Horniman Museum July 2014

The Great Animal Orchestra - Horniman Museum

The Great Animal Orchestra – Horniman Museum

I am writing a blog listening to the birds in the trees and the wind blowing the leaves. In the distance I can hear an ice cream van and a police siren, there is chatter from a couple of doors down and the chink and clatter of plates, the faint sound of a train. A suburban symphony, when you stop and listen you can pick out the sounds, the early evening hubbub, the sun is setting on a beautiful July evening.

We don’t often stop to listen, to isolate the different sounds, so often I have headphones crammed in my ears blocking out distractions and interruptions. But yesterday evening I spent time listening to the animals of Sumatra, Zimbabwe, Costa Rica and Borneo – I was enjoying ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’, a new sound installation at the Horniman Museum by Bernie Krause.

Continue reading

Roll up, Roll up, for the Museum of London Archive Lottery

Day of Archaeology

Friday 11th July 2014 Day of Archaeology

This Friday, 11th July, is the Day of Archaeology, a day to find out what archaeologists really do……. I know what you are thinking, you already know what archaeologists do, they dig stuff up. You are right of course, they do dig stuff up, but they also do lots of other stuff too. Just consider Indiana Jones for one minute, he dug stuff up, but he also regularly got his whip out, raced boats through the canals of Venice and ate chilled monkey brains – his average day was rather interesting.

The Day of Archaeology project encourages people working, studying or volunteering in the archaeology world to share their ‘day’ through text, images or video. The resulting website that brings these stories together aims to raise awareness of the relevance and importance of archaeology to the modern world. The Museum of London archaeological archive – LAARC (London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre) celebrate the day by putting on an interactive lottery. Continue reading

Royal Academy of Arts – Family SEN Session – July 2014

I am about to discover the new

I am about to discover the new

I am rushing and I can’t be late, volunteering at Bromley Museum in the morning, a rush to the station, lunch on the train. It is hot and muggy, I have a blister on my heel, I mustn’t be late. I am off to observe a family special educational needs (SEN) session at the Royal Academy of Arts, it is Saturday, busy, bustling, tourists, Londoners, art lovers, the streets are crowded.

I dodge past pedestrianised bullets and into the courtyard at the Royal Academy, my pace quickens, my blistered heel forgotten. I am just about on time to experience a fairly new initiative from this home for art and artists. The fourth in a series of workshops for children with special needs and their families, led by an artist and free to attend. The only snag is the need to pre-book, when I found out about the session it was already fully booked so I feel very privileged today to come along and see what these sessions are all about. I am intrigued to see how they work, who comes on them, how many families there are, all manner of questions are tumbling around in my head. Continue reading

Do we need Kids in Museums? – The Family Friendly Museum Award 2014

Aquarium at the Horniman Museum

The kids are alright – Aquarium at the Horniman Museum

Kids in Museums, they are everywhere now, right? Can’t escape them can you? Not just museums either these days, art galleries too, can’t take two steps towards a Monet or a Renoir without tripping over some small child’s torso sprawled on the floor. You can’t walk from the beginning of one gallery to the next without bumping into some intrepid family working through their family friendly trail or sit for a minute without seeing some small child run past, iPhone or iPad in hand, technology at the forefront of a self led trail of discovery and entertainment, learning and fun meshing together at the cutting edge of our museums of the here and now. Continue reading

Volunteers’ Week – Museum of London – ViP round two

What is going on in LAARC today?

What is going on in LAARC today?

Any excuse, that is all it takes, any excuse to return to the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC) at the Museum of London and I will jump at the chance. I have written about the LAARC many times, it is the largest archaeological archive in the world, it is the heart of the Museum of London, it houses London’s history in bits and pieces in boxes. It is the most deceptive building I know, uninspiring on the outside, but there is London’s history throbbing and humming inside. I have had many happy times within the walls, there is always something amazing to see, some work to be done, some cool stuff to learn. How could I not want to return at any opportunity?

Continue reading