Treasures of the Natural World
It’s hard to imagine a land filled with wooden ships of explorers and tigers all around. We’ve never had any experience of the swashbuckling life, much less a life without our smartphones. But with Treasures of the Natural World, an exhibition by ArtScience Museum, you’ll be transported back into a time when dodo birds and cursed amethysts existed.
There are over 200 rare artefacts and specimens to interest anyone, from the history buff who wants to see Charles Darwin’s cursive script up close to the bug-lover who wants to see the vibrant colours of butterfly wings.
Here's what you can look out for at Treasures of the Natural World's 5 themed galleries before it closes on 29 April.
Gallery 1: Building nature’s treasure house
Thanks to the Natural History Museum of London, we’re privy to some of the world’s mysteries up close. When we say mysteries, that’s exactly what we mean. The first gallery showcases ancient trinkets from mysterious tales which are still left unsolved.
One of the glass cases holds a “cursed” amethyst. How cursed, we don’t know, but since stolen from India’s Rebellion in 1857, its previous owner insisted on locking it in a vault within seven locked boxes. It was donated to the museum, with an ominous message saying that it’s “trebly accursed”. Translation from Old English - it’s bad luck, indeed.
For the curious ones, explore the multi-sensory cabinet filled with drawers, peep holes, a light box, and even an excavation drawer.
Another artefact worth gawking over in pure curiosity, is the Egyptian mummified cat. It was excavated between 1900 and 1907, and is estimated to be around 2000 years old.
Gallery 2: Treasures of the mind
Work from scholars like Charles Darwin, Henry Walter Bates, and Alfred Russel Wallace.
It’s all about the mind with the second gallery. Here, scientists are starting to answer some of the questions that remained unanswered for centuries. You’ve got the works of brilliant scholars on display - take a glance at a handwritten page from the manuscript of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, in which he first suggested the idea of natural selection.
If you’re more interested in insects, there’s a showcase of beetles, all of varying colours and size. Scientist Alfred Wallace scoured Southeast Asia to find these, from electric blue ones to massive cockroach-doppelgangers, the size of your fist.
With a large graphic wall nearby, you can play Where’s Wallace to spot him and his 18 collectibles.
Gallery 3: Treasures of exploration
Back in the day, explorers weren’t armed with much more than thick clothes and rationed food - a feat to be applauded, considering their perilous journey across seas. There are plenty of curious artefacts on display here from their journeys, things that explorers found worthy enough to lug back home.
Remember, these aren’t your regular souvenirs since they couldn’t exactly hop on a plane during their search for far-flung lands - these were artefacts worth the treacherous journey.
A piece of Antarctic fossil wood will leave you scratching your head, after all, who knew that the continent of ice and snow was once warm enough to have trees? It was brought back from the Terra Nova expedition - the conditions were so harsh that there were no survivors from this particular trip.
Other interesting artefacts to look out for include an Emperor Penguin chick's skin and an old Christmas card dated back from 1912, made up entirely of microfossils. There’s also a ship for you to clamber on to pretend you’re an explorer exploring a far-flung land.
Gallery 4: Treasures of life are everywhere
Slightly more foreboding than The Lion King’s Circle of Life, the fourth gallery reminds us that extinction is a life-threatening problem - literally. Take the time to stroll through to see how animals like the dodo and the sabre-toothed cat became extinct. Skeletal figures of these animals are on display: the sheer size of the sabre-toothed cat is comparable to that of a lion, with massive fangs jutting out of its mouth.
Also, create your own colourful papercraft tigers or orangutans here. There’ll be ready-made stencils for you to follow - then add them to the rainforest mural or bring them home.
Gallery 5: A museum for a modern world
In the final gallery, you’ll see how scientists and researchers are tackling modern-day problems. There’s a digital lab here based on the Natural History Museum’s ‘Tank Room’ - a space filled with 20 million specimens stored in jars. You can learn about the world we live in through a touchscreen game that’s based on the research of Natural History Museum.
Make your way around the exhibits where you’ll see a massive gold nugget from an Australian mine and a display of vibrant butterfly wings from South America whose colours will never fade.
Fans of Superman, head straight to the chunk of Jadarite. It’s supposedly similar to Kryptonite in structure, as shown in Superman Returns.
1-for-1 ticket promotion for Treasures of the Natural World
London’s a far, far trip but there’s no need to jet there when we’ve got the Treasures of the National World exhibition right at ArtScience Museum. With this special 1-for-1 ticket offer*, head down from 13 to 29 April 2018 to explore gems of the past - displays of animals long gone or artefacts of treacherous expedition journeys.
For people interested in cool street art, check out Art from the Streets, a showcase featuring over 200 edgy works by the world’s most iconic street artists. Use the 1-for-1 offer to view both exhibitions*, so you’ve got your monthly dose of art and history sorted.
*Terms and Conditions apply.
This post was brought to you by ArtScience Museum.