Images of nature at the Natural History museum

The beauty of the detail. These are the words that better describe the meaning of this exhibition at the Natural History museum. The nature details are the protagonists: they are trying to explain what everyday is hidden under our eyes.

Zoomed details of plants, animal parts or entire figures are shown, both with prints taken by the collection of John Reeves,a 18th century nature-lover painter, and more than 500.000 scientific animal images, modern photographs and digital reconstructions. It’s amazing to understand how few things we know about what is around us, the small particulars that makes it all astonishing: taking a digital trip into the interiors of an hammer-head shark it’s an experience you won’t easily forget.

Another important aspect I really liked was that the exhibition was not only constituted by images, but also it has some kind of experimentations in itself.

Particularly meaningful about that is the experimental re-visitation of a scientist of the original 18th portrait of the extinct dodo. You will see on the two bodies how much can the popular believe differs from the scientific proofs.

On the other side, there is still not so much interactivity with the viewer, compared with other exhibition of the museum: they never try to involve us in the nature process, except just showing how they are. The only exception is the possibility to draw our favourite animal, that will be shown in a display cabinet. Not so much, in reality.

A good aspect of interactivity, not stricly related to this exhibition is the Natural History museum card. It is a normal plastic card with a barcode, that can be scanned under special scanner placed near every image. Doing this will allow us to save into the card an electronic presentation of the image, that can be seen again at home, logging in at the History museum website. The amount of image that can be scanned is infinite; it was like bringing a little piece of the museum with me at home.

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Despite of that, the exhibition really brought outside me a genuine curiosity about how the complex natural mechanism works and I think could be interesting for a wide range of audience, from children to adults.
The nature’s secrets are really everywhere around us. Time to discover the best device that was ever created.


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