As soon as we walked through the door my children were commenting on the changes! It was a lot more open and seemed lighter and more airy. All the favourite exhibits were still there but also more things were on display.
Then we went into the basement to see the Seen Through Glass, Darkly art exhibition by David Blyth. It is all based upon taxidermy so not for the fainthearted but there are some beautiful items too:
My son was keen to head to his favourite part of the museum the Natural History gallery which has plenty of examples of Victorian taxidermy in! There was also a new hands on evolution puzzle that my daughter enjoyed having a go on:
I always explain to my children that killing and stuffing animals was how the naturalists in pre modern times thought was the best way to study them. They know exactly where the bullet hole is in their old friend the polar bear:
It is good that my children find it sad to think of all the animals and birds killed for the sake of science/trophy hunting. They do also find it fascinating to see so many different species close up and to learn about extinction and endangered species.
Our final gallery was the first floor dioramas of local flora and fauna. Included in here were a couple of rock xylophones that you can see and hear my children playing on Instagram. Interspersed with the exhibits is a special art exhibition by a local co-operative Green Door commemorating World War One. My daughter added her bit to a piece entitled War & Peace which invited us to contribute:
I was very taken by these wire sculptures by Brie Wharf:
It was quite hard to get my children to leave! I have to say that now they have a cafe area it would be quite tempting to sit there for a while and let my children wander/wonder to their hearts content. Even better when its a totally free experience.