Saturday, August 25

At the Natural History Museum

Eric's birthday was this past Wednesday, and this weekend he wanted to celebrate by taking Liam to the Natural History Museum. He has lots of fond memories of visiting the museum from his childhood, and now he wants to share it with Liam. Of course, I love museums too, so this was a treat for the whole family. Until today, the only museum Liam had visited was the Villa, making this trip his first to the Natural History Museum. We arrived at the museum early, thinking to get in a good visit and still fit naptime in for Liam around midday. It turned out to be a good strategy all around, because as early-birds we had many galleries to ourselves when we first arrived. 

Although Liam was at times more preoccupied with attempts to extricate his favorite "ca-cas" (translation: goldfish crackers) from the diaper bag, as you can see from the pictures he did break free from the bondage of his stroller and engage with some of the exhibits. His favorite galleries were the dioramas and dinosaur halls, but the touchables gallery, where he could touch all of the exhibits, was the biggest hit. At his age touching is so important to learning and connecting, so that space was by far the one in which he was the most engaged.

Museum person that I am, I have to say that one of the things I enjoyed most about our visit was the novelty of just being a visitor. It was also great to have a family outing and spend some time together after so many weeks of Eric working weekends. Given the success of our first visit, I have no doubt we will be making another trip to the NHM again soon!

Daddy and Liam check out the African elephants.
Touching animal skins with Mommy in the touchables gallery.
Big dinosaur, little visitor.
My, what big teeth you have!
Really, Mom? Another picture?
A future paleontologist? A forensic anthropologist, perhaps?

Tuesday, August 7

Within These Halls

Ancient survivors are gathered protectively within these historic halls.
Made elite by the accident of their preservation, here representatives of earthly alien
   civilizations stand sentry;
Objects peculiar and enigmatic to the crowds of gazers who float directionless and dazed
   through the cool airy corridors and vaulting galleries.
In this exceptional place aloof remnants of remote pasts, though silent, actively seek
   to live again in mortal imaginations.
Most passing minds remain dark; the murmuring gazers are nearly all cursory
   in their explorations.
Pallid, rigored bodies of cold marble, bronze festering with inexorable green decay, and
   jagged shards—the orphaned red and black wreckage of once-elegant flowing clay lines—
Remain insensible and meaningless under fleeting, incurious glances.
And yet the survivors are not frustrated in their pursuit.
A skilled and studied few walk among the gazers, speaking history, sparking understanding
   and recognition and igniting new, living meanings in the minds of those who draw near.
The very breath of their words resuscitates these ruined remnants of past centuries, and the
   survivors breathe once more.
If only for a moment, the passions, beauties, terrors, and toils of a distant and dead antique
   live again.

August 2012