Sunday, August 1, 2010

London Journal - SMLates

Early this month I discovered an online invitation to some special late night opening at the London Science Museum. A lot of the museums in London stay open late one night a week, but this was a monthly thing and it has a twist. Rather than being open to the public at large, it's adults only.
I'm not adverse to the company of children. I have a solid background of babysitting and I find these little people who are growing into themselves wonderful conversationalists with bright imaginations. But in a museum setting it can all get to be a bit much. Especially at a science museum. I know I had been warned about visiting Calgary's science museum once I'd left the realm of childhood. I was told it was very kid-orientated, and it really is. Most of them are. And whilst it's lovely to share the enthusiasm and joy of children discovering the world around them, sometimes it's nice to be in such a space with a more 'relaxed' crowd.
Anyway, it seemed worth checking out so I booked it into my agenda for July and on the 28th, I went. My lovely archaeologist accompanied me and as we stood in line together we perused the evening's schedule. It was food themed, which always bodes well in my books. There were many different food themed things going on all night long but there were two back-to-back talks on peppers that sounded particularly good.
Upon entering the building the seemingly long line dispersed and any sense of a crowd disappeared. This was a museum I had not yet been to. It was reminiscent of my early days in London, when I would go to museums during the weekdays, arriving when they first opened and the buildings echoed with their emptiness.
As we had half an hour before the first talk would begin, A little wander seemed in order.
What I managed to see in that half an hour was a mere taste of what the museum has to offer. I oogled over the clocks and pocket watches; ancient tools and instruments used for astronomy; the cars, planes and trains mounted on the ceilings and walls.
It was hardly enough time to see all the exhibits that I wanted, but I was eager to hear the pepper talks.
As it was the DJ's music nearly drowned out the first speaker (Yes they have a DJas well as wine and beer and apparently there was also a food table somewhere.) but even to watch his enthusiastic arm gestures was a delight. The second speaker was a mad botanist and she expressed her enthusiasm with a quivering of her right hand. I soaked up the stories of peppers throughout history (Did you know they're a New World thing and before Columbus they didn't exist in the Old World at all?) and delighted in the absolute joy our speaker had for her work.
It was almost a shame I was so tired by the end of it. I would have delighted to stay longer, to explore the exhibits and see the floors I only knew about by the map alone.
But there will be more last Wednesdays and I can't think of a good reason not to go as it didn't cost a thing.

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