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Exhibition Review: Life in the Dark at the Natural History Museum – 13th July 2018 to 6th January 2019

The Natural History Museum presents a new exhibition entitled Life in the Dark which explores the darkest corners of our world to find the remarkable animals that flourish in conditions that humans would struggle to survive.

The exhibition begins with a large animated display that invites visitors to recognise a familiar nocturnal world populated by owls, foxes and badgers. Unusually a number of the exhibits are there for people to touch and feel. Underlying the exhibition is how creatures have developed extraordinary senses and behaviours in order to survive and thrive in the dark.

Many will be familiar with some of the strategies that woodland creatures use to hunt at night especially bats use of echo location, however as you progress into the exhibition you descend into the more unfamiliar nocturnal worlds of caves, deep seas and oceans.

The exhibition recreates a bat cave with its distinctive aromas and sounds. It is within caves that hundreds of incredible creatures, some brand new to science have been discovered. This has been made possible with technological advances in diving equipment and knowledge of some of the most remote caves.

One of the highlights of the exhibition are live Mexican blind cave fish that have evolved other senses, so don’t need eyes to navigate. Film footage illustrates that cave diving can be very dangerous as recent events in Thailand have shown.

Technology has also played a part in allowing devices to descend deeper and deeper into the deep sea. Video screens show remarkable footage of unusual creatures including the rather comical Dumbo octopus.

At these depths, the use of light is often used to attract prey or fight off predators, one of the last galleries offers a bioluminescence display that recreates some of the extraordinary light displays that can be found in the dark abyss.

The final room brings visitors up to date with some of the latest research regarding creatures that have been discovered in the deep which is providing some answers  into their strategies and behaviour.

This fascinating exhibition takes the visitors into the shadowy nocturnal worlds of the natural world. Using innovative installations, multimedia footage and specimens, the exhibition illustrates the astounding diversity of the natural world in areas that are often off limits to human beings. It is only recently that some of the secrets of the deep have been discovered and the exhibition provides some real insights into the exciting developments in this area.

Life in the Dark has been designed to be as interactive as possible and appeal to both adults and families, the exhibition is free for children 16 years and under with an adult.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the National History Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Exhibition Review : Colour and Vision at the Natural History Museum – 15th July to 6th November 2016

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The Natural History Museum explores the way that nature perceives the world around them with its Colour and Vision exhibition that opens on 15 July 2016. The exhibition takes visitors through a 565 million year journey with hundreds of rarely displayed specimens, immersive art and digital imaging. Museum scientists have used the fossil record and genetic tools to document the earliest eyes, reconstruct the evolution of colour vision, and learn about the genes that produce pigments. The exhibition also offers insights into why humans and other animals perceive the world differently, and how colour has been used in a variety of ways to increase the success of particular species.

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Entering the exhibition, visitors will be faced with Our Spectral Vision, a light installation by Liz West in which rays of light from every colour of the rainbow will beam through seven prisms made from special colour filter glass.

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The rest of the exhibition uses rarely seen items from the vast Natural History Museum collection and the latest digital technology to tell the story about how the first creatures developed image-forming eyes and how colour vision changed the world over millions of years.

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In the exhibition, there is Wall of Eyes which celebrates the diversity of vertebrate sight with more than 100 eyeballs from across the animal kingdom.

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Some examples of colour and iridescence, from jewel beetles, butterflies and birds to fish, reptiles and shells are displayed in a five metre tall tower of specimens.

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Many of the older specimens on show have been collected by famous naturalists including an octopus that was collected by Charles Darwin.

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The exhibition considers that the human world is driven by colour and sight which influences design and fashion, even through to our possible choice of mates. This illustrates how evolution is still playing a part in our everyday lives.

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This intriguing and entertaining exhibition uses a variety of media to ask visitors to look at colour and vision in a way that will allow them to understand  the story of its development over millions of years. Colour and vision is so fundamental to most humans existence that we rarely consider how it developed. The Natural History Museum will be offering a series of events that complement the exhibition and have worked closely with LG to use the latest OLED technology to display some of the beautiful and colourful images of the natural world.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Dates and times: 15 July – 6 November 2016, 10.00 – 17.50

Admission: Adult £10.80, child and concession £5.40, family £27.00.

Free for Members, Patrons and children under four.

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the National History Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum until 11th September 2016

Sensational Buttrflies 2016

 Explore the world of Butterflies at the Sensational Butterflies attraction at the Natural History Museum.

This living exhibition includes a large number of colourful species usually found in the tropical forests of Central and South America, Africa and Asia.

Visitors wander through the free-flying butterflies in a tropical habitat of flowers, vines and foliage, you can use magnifiers to study the remarkable details and features.

Sensational Buttrflies 2016

Highlights include:

Watching butterflies hatch from delicate chrysalises, unfolding their wings for the first tim

Looking for munching caterpillars hidden in the foliage and at different life stages and sizes

Seeing butterflies feeding, pausing their flight to enjoy nectar and fruit

 Butterfly friendly tips and advice from the Butterfly House Manager

 The exhibition is inspired by the Museum’s world-leading butterfly and moth collection of more than 10 million specimens assembled over 200 years. The collection is used by scientists around the world studying the diversity of species and how they are affected by environmental changes.

Dates and times: 24 March – 11 September 2016, 10.00–17.50

Adult, child and concession £5.85, school £3.50, family £19.80

Free for Members, Patrons and children under four

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the National History Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review – Otherworlds: Visions of our Solar System at the Natural History Museum from 22nd January until 15th May 2016

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A meeting of art and science takes place with Otherworlds: Visions of our Solar System, a new photographic exhibition at the Natural History Museum, running from 22nd January until 15th May 2016.

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Michael Benson and Dr Joe Michalski

The Museum has worked with artist, curator and writer, Michael Benson to bring these images to London for the first time. The 77 composite images represent a joining together of art and science. Benson processes data from NASA and ESA missions to assemble the photographs for display and the exhibition highlights the complex interaction from the data sent from satellites or spacecraft to earth and the way that photographs are often built up by specialists to increase the amount of visual information. The award winning Michael Benson takes the whole process one stage further to create stunning images to replicate what we might see if we could travel across the universe. The exhibition also features a soundscape of original music by Brian Eno who is best known for his collaborations with Roxy Music, David Bowie and Talking Heads.

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Highlights include:

A Plutonian haze – When NASA’s New Horizon’s spacecraft flew by Pluto in July 2015, it uncovered a dwarf planet of immense scientific complexity. In a world-first, a colourised image of Pluto will be on public display, revealing the mysteries of our System’s best known dwarf planet.

Enceladus vents water into space – In 2009 NASA’s Cassini mission captured images of Saturn’s sixth largest moon Enceladus spraying water into space from its southern polar region.

A Warming Comet – The oddly twin-lobed Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko vents gas and dust, captured by ESA’s Rosetta probe flyby last July. Outflows and jets of cometary material can be seen as the comet heats up.

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Museum researchers have joined with Benson to bring additional science background to the images and the exhibition has developed an audio commentary which includes some insights into the work of leading Museum scientists such as Dr Joe Michalski, who is investigating the geological processes that shaped Mars .

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This visually stunning exhibition illustrates the beauty and diversity of our own and other planets, unmanned spacecraft have provided information and photographs that are leading scientists to question some long-held assumptions and look for new answers. This is an exciting way for art and science to come together and will be of interest to a wide range of people with an interest in space and the universe.

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Visitor Information

Dates : 22 January – 15 May 2016

Times: 10.00 – 17.50

Admission: Adult £9.90, child and concession £5.40, family £26.10.

Free for Members, Patrons and children under four.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the National History Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Science Uncovered at the Natural History Museum – 25th September 2015

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© The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

If you have wanted to know more about The Natural History Museum’s unique collection, visit Science Uncovered which is the Natural History Museum’s biggest after-hours event of the year that takes place on Friday 25 September 2015.  More than 300 scientists, who normally undertake cutting-edge research behind the scenes at the Museum, will be available to talk about their work and to showcase rarely-seen highlights of the Museum’s collection of 80 million specimens.

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© The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

The Museum scientists will discussing their research and the life of the modern scientist and will guide you through some of the 200 different activities on the night, from Science Bars and nature games to debates with our scientists. The evening is also a chance to see some of the extraordinary specimens from the Museum’s collections not normally on display.

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© The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Some of the highlights include:

Meet our ancestors – handle casts of Homo naledi, the latest addition to the human family tree that was discovered this month in South Africa.

Find out the truth about False Widow spiders and killer hornets – Experts from the Museum’s Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity will be on hand with specimens of wasps, hornets and spiders to dispel myths about these animals.

Visit the ocean floor – use microscopes to explore the bizarre biology of boiling hydrothermal vents, where life thrives in some of the most hostile environments we know.

Whale of a time – marvel at the remains of some of the whales that have become stranded around the UK coast in the past centuries, including the skull of the pilot whale stranded in Essex that made headlines last year.

Have an enlightening drink – join our scientists at three Science Bars across the Museum to discuss some of the most pressing questions in science, including how to cope with a growing population and whether we should focus on exploring other planets or look for answers here on Earth.

Come face to face with parasites – see some of the Museum’s collection of tapeworms, including one over 6 metres long – longer than a luxury car. Discover the life cycles of parasitic worms, and see examples of ones that can infest hedgehogs or birds in your back garden.

Witness the fight against neglected tropical diseases – Ebola is not the only disease scientists are working to eradicate in Africa. Many tropical diseases, such as guinea worm disease and schistosomiasis, claim thousands of lives every year and we are still learning how to combat many of them.

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© The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Science Uncovered is part of EU Researchers’ Night, when institutions in more than 360 cities across Europe reveal the exciting scientific research taking place and celebrate the people who make it possible. This year marks the 10th anniversary of European Researchers’ Night.

There will be activities for visitors of all ages but from 18.00, the event is most suitable for adults. Space is limited for some activities and free tickets for certain events will be available on the night on a first-come, first-served basis.

Date and times:

25 September 2015, 15.00 – 22.30

Admission:  Free

For  more information, visit the Natural History Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review – Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea at the Natural History Museum from 27 March to 13 Sept 2015

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The Natural History Museum may be famous for its Dinosaurs, however its latest exhibition Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea explores some of the world’s smallest creatures who create the Coral reefs around the world.
Although Coral reefs cover less than one per cent of the Earth’s surface, life on the reef is incredibly diverse – more than a quarter of all marine species live on coral reefs. It is not only marine species that rely on the reefs, it estimated that they provide food and livelihoods for more than 500 million people around the world. Communities, towns and ports are protected from storms and the waves of open seas by corals, which act as natural protective barriers.

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The exhibition using over 250 specimens from the Museum’s coral, fish and marine invertebrate collection illustrates some of this great diversity and explains how coral reefs develop over a period of time.

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One of the first scientists to take a serious interest in Coral reefs was Charles Darwin who developed his first ever scientific theory investigating coral reef formation. There are some corals collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836 in the exhibition as well as a explanation of his theory.

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Large pieces of Coral are dotted around the exhibition, however to admire the real beauty of the species in their natural habitat there is a series of screens using spectacular 180 degree panoramic imagery, the Liquid Galaxy Google Earth experience  guides you along the Great Barrier Reef, Tubbahata Reef (Philippines), Hourglass Reef (Bermuda), and Komodo Island (Indonesia).

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The images are provided by the Catlin Seaview Survey, which is a pioneering scientific expedition whose mapping of the reefs is revealing the impact of environmental changes. The Survey currently focusing on the Indian Ocean, having previously completed scientific studies of the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Triangle and the Caribbean. Recognising that the majority of people will never visit a coral reef, the Catlin Seaview Survey have developed online virtual dive experiences on Google maps.

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As well as this virtual experience, there is an example of the real thing with over 100 fish and 26 corals in an aquarium that is a  reminder of the incredible diversity of the Coral reefs.

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Whilst the exhibition portrays the beauty of the reefs, it also raises the question of how they are threatened by overfishing, pollution, ocean warming and acidification. It is estimated that coral reefs are deteriorating at the rate of one to two percent per year and  fifty percent of corals have been lost in the last 30 years.

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This interesting and informative exhibition highlights the importance and beauty of the Coral reefs, using a variety of multi media it enables the visitor to understand how Coral is made up of small colonies of tiny animals called polyps. Hundreds of individual polyps make up a coral colony, and multiple coral colonies form coral reefs. The exhibition also illustrates that Coral reefs are complex ecosystems that are the focus of amazing diversity which are vital for many people s livelihoods but are also threatened by human activity.

Visiting  London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

 Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea Exhibition

 27 March – 13 September 2015

Opening Times 10.00 – 17.50

Admission:  Adult £10*, child and concession £4.50*, family £24*.

Free for Members, Patrons and children under four.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

The Top 30 London Attractions in 2014

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London’s British Museum is  the most popular visitor attraction in the UK, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).  The National Gallery remains the second, the Southbank Centre comes in third.

The list of the top 10 most visited sites contains only one attraction outside London, with the new Library of Birmingham at number 10. Edinburgh Castle and Chester Zoo are the only other non-London attractions in the top 20.

Museums and Galleries across the UK saw an increase of more than 6% on visitor numbers on the previous year, however there is some concern that domestic visitors to some museums and galleries is actually falling.

Many of the top attractions are free, but tend to hold paid exhibitions  to raise revenue. In recent years there has been an enormous growth in attractions developing education programmes to attract and keep the younger generations.

Although London’s Imperial War Museum which saw the most significant increase in visitor numbers across the year, that was mostly due to the fact that large parts of the museum were closed in 2013 to prepare for the museum’s new World War One galleries, which opened in July 2014.

London’s Top 30 according to Association of Leading Visitor Attractions figures:
1 British Museum 6,695,213
2 The National Gallery 6,416,724
3 Southbank Centre 6,255,799
4 Tate Modern 5,785,427
5 Natural History Museum 5,388,295
6 Science Museum 3,356,072
7 V&A South Kensington 3,180,450
8 Tower of London 3,075,950
9 Somerset House 2,463,201
10 National Portrait Gallery 2,062,502
11 St Paul’s Cathedral 1,782,741
12 Old Royal Naval College 1,749,708
13 British Library 1,627,599
14 National Maritime Museum 1,516,258
15 Kew 1,368,565
16 Tate Britain 1,357,878
17 ZSL London Zoo 1,318,621
18 Houses of Parliament 1,253,326
19 Westminster Abbey 1,190,737
20 Museum of London 1,167,070
21 Imperial War Museum London 914,774
22 Royal Academy of Arts 824,793
23 Royal Observatory Greenwich 785,963
24 Tower Bridge Exhibition 649,361
25 Churchill War Rooms 472,746
26 V&A Museum of Childhood 471,000
27 Kensington Palace 401,353
28 Shakespeare’s Globe 357,886
29 HMS Belfast 346,331
30 Cutty Sark 265,202

Source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

It is worth remembering that although ALVA’s 57 members are the UK’s most popular  attractions, there are a number of Attractions that are not members and therefore not included.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here