I had seen that the Natural History Museum  had an exhibition called ‘Dark’. We bought tickets online.

Many creatures are nocturnal, such as foxes, badgers and bats. We were encouraged to stroke a stuffed fox by the unusual sign ‘Please touch’. The writer of the newspaper article had described the bat cave exhibit as having little gusts of air that made you feel as if a bat had just flown by. Perhaps they were all asleep when I passed beneath. I had no idea that so many creatures have adapted to life in caves, such as pythons, spiders, fish, shrimps etc. I hope the 12 Thai boys just recently rescued met less wildlife than we saw.

The display about the amount  of equipment a cave diver wears was interesting in the light of that incident deep underground.

On leaving, we decided to look at the butterfly collection. The signage was non existant and so simplified that it told us nothing, Red zone, yellow zone, blue zone… past the enormous and imposing statue of Darwin, past signs to the new Darwin centre. Was Darwin the only British naturalist? Did he found the museum?

Asked various guides. We could see live butterflies in the new butterfly house for another fee. No, thanks. After wandering around and getting nowhere we learnt that the old cases of thousands of beautiful butterflies had been removed! How disappointing! Especially as the posters outside the museum feature one of my favourite  butterflies, the fist sized Owl butterfly from South America. The ‘eye’ design on its wings bears close examination. When an artist wants to make an eye look rounded and alive, he or she adds a little stroke of white to represent the light reflecting off the eye. That little flash of white doesn’t exist as part of the colours found in eyes. It is the touch that an artist knows how to use to create the impression of a rounded alive eye. Yet that little touch is found on a butterfly’s wing whose own eye is covered in stripes! How did that happen Darwin?




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