OK, I seem to have neglected talking about the The Natural History Museum
I was as impressed with the building as with the actual collection. As with most things in London, the museum has been around in some form or another since 1753 …when physician and collector of natural curiosities, Sir Hans Sloane, left his extensive collection to the nation… The current building dates from about 1883.
The collection includes:
- 55 million animals, including 28 million insects
- nine million fossils
- six million plant specimens
- more than 500,000 rocks and minerals
- 3,200 meteorites in our collections
Well…thats quite a bit, isnt it?
Needless to say, I didnt see everything.
Fossils, plants, animals, insects, the human body and how it works, rocks, minerals, gold, silver, copper, diamonds, iron, the earth and how it works (there is a giant spring in the middle that has to be kept wound) and numerous school groups.
This leads me to a story.
As I wandered through the museum, I noticed that lots of the boys, in high school, wore their ties very short and some had pins at the bottom. I asked one boy about the pins, he explained that there were for various school sports; this case he was the captain of the cricket team. Dont ask me about cricket, Ill just refer you to the Insect collection. I thanked him, before I could offer him a flag pin, he was gone.
Later, in the gift shop, where I didnt buy an 8 £ mug, and while waiting at the cash, I asked another boy about his short tie, he response was quick and too the point…Fashion I had my answer.
He asked if I was from America, I responded that no, I was from Canada, and offered him a flag pin. I also offered the other kids around (3 or 4 flag pins) He was very cheeky, asking me more questions in the 4 or 5 minutes were together than I could answer. I did my best.
We all paid and went on our way, less than a minute later, a small group of students from the same school surrounded me asking for pins, of course I gave them each a pin, more smiles and more rapid fire questions. How did they know about the pins? The boyfrom the cash.
Their teacher tried to get them together, but without much luck. I moved into a corner to pack myself to get on my way and again more students. I had a problem, there were 8 or 9 of them, but I only had 4 pins left. I wasnt happy, and I know I was going to disappoint some of them. I explained that I only had 4 pins and that couldnt do anything about it. I reached out and put the 4 pins in 4 hands. I apologized again, they thanked me and started to walk off to join their classmates, I had to find out who told them about the pins, boy number 1 again. I laughed and told him that I didnt have any more, so dont send anyone else.
They and I were finally on my way out, we ended up walking to the tube station together, more questions and more of the teachers trying to control them.
I would have loved to chat with them, given them a lesson about Canada, but that was not part of their teachers plans.
We went on our separate way at the Tube station.
I didn’t get much else done, museums are exausting.