Friday, 4 May 2012

Dinosaurs in Oxford

Okay, so it's not really called the Dinosaur museum, but the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. However, the museum does feature dinosaurs heads and and whatnot, so that's what we call it.

Whenever we're in Oxford visiting my family and it rains (i.e. whenever we're in Oxford), we always visit to this museum. It is crammed full of fascinating objects: skeletons, fossils, stuffed animals (which you're instructed to stroke), live stick insects and other weird bugs, luminous rocks, carved busts of famous scientists, and much more, all exhibited in rather antiquated glass cabinets.

It is not just the exhibits that are interesting. The architecture of the building is quite something. Built in 1861, the design of the museum was an open competition initiated by Henry Acland, an anatomist who believed that everybody should have a chance to learn from science. From the 32 entries, an Irish architecture firm, Deane & Woodward, Dublin, won. The design is neo gothic and was greatly influenced by John Ruskin, an art critic who believed that architecture should be shaped by the energies of the natural world. Well I think we could say this particular objective was achieved.

The most striking feature of the museum is the glass roof. For a building constructed 150 years ago I find it amazing how light and delicate the roof structure is.

And then there are the elaborate details, influenced by nature.

As we left the museum imagine my surprise when we spotted this...RWAAARRRRRRR!

Further information about the architecture of the Oxford museum can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.