The Great North Museum’s latest exhibition

The Great North Museum: Hancock has existed under various names since 1884 and has delighted generations of children and adults. With its wealth of various collections and family favourites such as a T-Rex replica, Big Mike in the Fossil Stories Gallery, Eric the Polar Bear in the Living Planet Gallery, and the 2,500-year-old Mummies in the Egyptian Gallery; it has something for everyone.

Following the success of its previous temporary exhibition ‘Spineless’ in 2015, the Museum now has even more to offer as it has opened a new temporary exhibition: ‘Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World’. The family friendly exhibit shall run until Sunday 14th May and is located at the heart of the university campus. The Great North Museum: Hancock is perfect for entertaining visiting friends or family, filling in time between lectures or a weekend day out. The Museum is free of charge, although donations are encouraged to allow for continued work and potential future exhibitions.

‘Ever wondered why we cannot fly like a bird or leap like a frog, or how snakes can move so quickly without any feet?’ These are just a few of the many tantalising questions the exhibition addresses with the help of over 100 different bones, teeth, fossils and skeletons from various animals from the land, air and sea. Some of which have not been on public display for over a century!

“The family friendly exhibit shall run until Sunday 14th May and is located at the heart of the university campus”

The exhibition is separated into three sections: ‘Change, Movement, and Survival’. ‘Change’ explains why some bones become fossils, whilst others do not. ‘Movement’ explores how bones help animals to move in certain ways. Meanwhile, ‘Survival’ shows us how these animals teeth, horns and tusks helped them to live.

From the skeletons of a domestic cat, to that of a salamander, or even the skull of a hippopotamus, the exhibition is full of variety and helps us to visualise how these animals moved, lived and evolved. You can compare a cow’s femur bone with that of an elephant. Or study an orangutan’s skull and marvel at its similarity to our own, or be surprised by the spineless skeleton of a hedgehog. You can admire the skeleton of a seal suspended from the ceiling above, or gaze with awe at the size of a narwhal’s skull, whilst trying to comprehend the size of a full skeleton. As well as this, many would agree that one of the most impressive features is the wall of mounted osteology.

Apart from the huge array of bones and skeletons, what makes the exhibition so enjoyable is how close to the artefacts you can get. Although there is a strict no touching policy, (to allow for the preservation of the specimens) you are able to observe from a delightfully close proximity. Furthermore, with audio/visual interaction, a learning zone, dress up, games for small children, wheelchair access and friendly invigilators, the exhibition is truly welcoming to all.

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