Category Archives: Museums

Berlin Natural History Museum

Last week I had the great fortune of a mini European road trip and being in Germany I took the opportunity of visiting the Berlin Museum Fur Naturkunde (Natural History Museum).  This particular museum has been on my bucket list for one big reason – Brachiosaurus.  She’s a beautiful beastie and like London’s Diplodocus (well until the recent announcement that they are replacing her with a Blue Whale), stands in the main entrance area of the museum.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a dinosaur this size and according to the information board she stands at 13.5m high, and is apparently the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world.

DSCN1523I love the fact that they’ve put the Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus and Dicraeosaurus next to each other so you get a feel for the size difference.  You also have a Kentrosaurus in the central dinosaur display.

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Now I’ve been using the name Brachiosaurus for this specimen, but I am aware that she differs from the American type specimen and is now referred to as Giraffatitan everywhere except the information board next to the skeleton itself.  I found that rather amusing…I guess the matter is not settled afterall.  Along with the Sauropod centre display there is also an Allosaurus, an Elaphrosurus (shown below) and a Dysalotosaurus.

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Along with the dinosaurs you also have a wide range of fantastic fossils from the Solnhofen limestone formation, including fish, crustaceans, insects and pterosaurs.

DSCN1525There is a particularly fine specimen of a Rhamphorhynchus.  I really like the the preservation of the wings.

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The other star specimen of the museum is of course the Archaeopteryx fossil.

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Sorry it’s not that good a photo, my camera was playing up at the time.

So what is there besides the dinosaurs?  The museum also houses a large mineral collection that is considerably bigger than my own collection of rocks, a room for taxidermed specimens, rooms explaining the geological history of earth as well as the solar system, and what was my favourite room after the dinosaurs – the wet samples room, containing animal specimens in jars.  A little morbid I know, but what did you expect I’m into dead things (and please no necrophilia jokes they’re dead boring…sorry…thus ends the family friendly session of my ramblings).

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OK back to serious things.  How does it compare to London’s Natural History Museum?  Well it’s a lot smaller.  The London museum will take the best part of a day to get around, whilst you can see everything in the Berlin one in a couple of hours.  For me I felt that this was a bit of a two-edged sword.  On the one hand I was a little disappointed and wanted to see more of what they had, yet on the plus side it ment that the museum wasn’t too crowded (I went on the Saturday of a school holiday, if that had been London I’d have had to queue for hours), yet in Berlin I just walked in.  Another bonus to it being smaller is that what they do have on display is the really good stuff.  Not that I’m saying that London doesn’t have good samples, it just means that you know in Berlin you’re getting the very best that they have to show you…like a 13.5m tall Brachiosaurs/Giraffatitan.  Lets have another picture of her.

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So is it worth going to?  Oh yes.  For a guy who’s been into dinosaurs since he was 3 most definitely, nowhere else in Europe will you see a Brachiosaurus/Giraffatitan.  If you’re ever in Berlin I’d make a point to spend a coupke of hours of your trip in the museum.

I’m going to finish with one last photo of the star attraction.

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Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

Last year a new museum opened up in Shrewsbury, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to check the place out.  It’s a decent sized museum for a smaller county city that Shrewsbury is.  It is sited in the old theatre hall in Market Street and is worth a visit if you’ve ever got a free afternoon in the area.

The museum has three main floors dedicated to the history of Shropshire.  On the ground floor you have the entrance, gift shop, cafe and local art gallery room.  After passing through this area you have the main Ancient History room.  This holds local artifacts from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman Period in Shropshire.  I’m going to place a few images as a taster; I’d encourage a visit to this place if you want to see more.

The Shrewsbury Hoard (Roman coins)

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Roman swords & other artifacts

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Roman Silver Mirror

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On the second floor is a collection of Medieval, Civil War and Early Modern artifacts.

Buckler and Chain Mail

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Gold Coins (I can’t remember which king is represented…and I can’t read the inscription properly sorry).

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Civil War Era uniform & musket (that’s the English Civil Wars of the 1640’s  [or the Wars of the Three Kingdoms as it often called now] to those people reading from other countries).

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A close up of one of the seals to the right of the uniform.

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The third floor holds a wide selection of artifacts.  Part of it holds natural artifacts.  This includes samples of rock and fossils from Shropshire, including parts of the mammoths found in the county.

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Some of the fossils found in Shropshire (along with some art formed via a process called concretion)

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The third floor also has a number of 18th-20th Century artifacts; including ceramics, art work and artifacts from WWI and WWII.

For the final section there is a special exhibition room on the third floor.  This one holds (until the 24th April 2015) an Egyptian exhibit.  It is a decent sized exhibit and includes pottery, ushabti, jewellery and of course a mummy with its sarcophagus.  There is also a case containing fake items of more modern origin.

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Hope that gives you a desire to visit it next time you are in the area.  I enjoyed it and I think many others would.  Until next time.