Festival of Nature 2014 Stanmer Park

Not content with waiting for visitors to the Booth Museum, the modern Curator needs to reach out to the local community to introduce everyone to their local Museum and its wonderful collections.

John, Lee and a tiger skull, Panthera tigris from Ganges, India
John, Lee and a tiger skull, Panthera tigris from Ganges, India

And so it came to pass that on a beautiful sunny and hot Sunday in Stanmer Park, just outside Brighton, John and Lee from the Booth Museum took up their positions in a tent amongst a whole cavalcade of organisations and bodies concerned with wildlife, the countryside, hedgehogs, badgers, birds, bats and bees, to celebrate all that is good about the natural world of Sussex. Thousands of visitors enjoyed the day and our tent was never short of interested families and children. We met many old friends and visitors who are no strangers to the Booth Museum, but also many who always meant to visit the Museum, but had never quite made it! We hope that they now will.

For adults and children alike, the fascination with our tawny owl and hedgehog was a pleasure to see. Our collection of British butterflies allowed many to try and put a name to that flash of colour that fluttered through their garden of late, though not all felt the same about the tarantula that we also had on show. Coming from Peru and quite lifeless, it allowed the braver arachnophobes to get just a little closer, though admittedly, some never made it inside the tent! Also from foreign parts was the skull of a tiger and with its enormous and sharp carnivorous canine teeth always impressed the children, who, after all, have their own issues with teeth at certain ages.

But, as usual, the star of the show was our dinosaur toe bone – an Iguanodon pinky which at some 14 inches (36 centimetres) long compares impressively with the human variety. It gives a very vivid picture to everyone as to just how big these marvellous creatures must have been; and at 140 million years old, somewhat beyond the understanding of just about anyone. The children were able to follow up with their imaginations by colouring in some dinosaur pictures, and left happily with a Booth Museum poster for their bedroom walls.

Same time, same place next year?

John Cooper, Keeper of Natural Science

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