@MarDixon Passionate about culture. Champion for the next generation of Cultural visitors. Defender of Libraries. Digital, Wearable Tech Enthusiast. Sharing knowledge. Troublemaker and/or advocate, depending on what you need.
  • scissors
    July 16th, 2017mardixonCulture

    On July 14th Natural History Museum in London re-opened Hintze Hall after a temporary closure for 6 months. The closure was not one that came without comments and controversy – it was to remove the beloved Dippy Dinosaur to replace it with the Blue Whale.

    Controversy

    People absolutely adore Dippy – they have fond memories of walking into Hintze Hall for the fist time (of many) and seeing the beautiful and cheeky Dippy the Dinosaur. He has been there since 1979 (before he was Reptile Gallery now Human Biology). To clarify – Dippy has NOT always been in the hall (ask that generation that remembers the elephants…)

    Now I absolutely Love Dippy. I even was involved with the ‘I Love Dippy’ campaign NHM put on a few years ago (seriously). I have supported the idea of Hintze Hall changing even though a part of me was nervous. However, trusting the people who run the museums was easier as they were transparent. Plans were available for public, discussions were public.

    Blue Whale Vs Dippy

    First of all, if you haven’t noticed, I was #TeamWhale since the first announcement althoughmy love of Dippy meant most assumed I was #TeamDippy. Let me explain why:

    Natural History Museum is my favorite museum in the world. Honestly.  And I’ve been to a lot internationally.  It’s never been about the collection and I’ve always been honest to them about it. My love has always been about how I felt seeing the building then experiencing it. The building has an amazing energy, the collection is almost a bonus!

    The museum has a very confusing personality: It’s a family museum, it’s a natural history museum, it’s a geography museum, it’s a dinosaur museum, and of course it’s a research museum.

    That last one is the most important: Natural History Museum is about research and conservation. FIRST. While public facing means they have to be for all, they truly have had an original mission they have with conservation.

    This is why the Blue Whale in the new Hintze Hall made complete sense. Hope, as the Blue Whale displayed is now called, was a Blue Whale beached in Wexford Harbour Ireland in 1891 (ten years after NHM opened). It was purchased by the museum and put on display in 1934 in the Mammal Hall. The Blue Whale is the first species humans globally decided to conserve. It took until 1966 for the decision to be made but by then NHM and others have already started the research.

    Dippy is about an extinct reptiles (the past) while Hope is about conservation (the future) Also need to point out that Dippy was a plaster cast replica – it never actually existed! The Blue Whale has.  And this is what NHM future is about. Yes we need to remember and respect the past but we also need to look to the future for lessons.

    Opening of Hintze Hall

    Being at the opening on the new Hintze Hall is a memory I will never forget. Being one of the first to see the spectacular Hope along with the new displays around both the first and second floor was emotional if I’m honest.

    After seeing Hope hung stunningly along the rafters, please ensure you have a look around the bays along the sides. They are broken up into two sections (following along with the building – Western side conservation and Eastern side Extinction):

    Easter Wonder Bays with American mastodon, Mantellisaurus, Fossil trees, Banded iron formation, and a Imilac meteorite

    Western Wonder Bays with Giraffes, Turbinaris coral, blue marlin, seaweeds and insects.

    ‘Putting our blue whale, Hope, at the centre of the Museum, between living species on the West and extinct species on the East, is a powerful reminder of the fragility of life and the responsibility we have towards our planet. ” Sir Michael Dixon

    I was fortunate to have a one to one chat with Sir Michael Dixon, Director of Natural History Museum. While we stood up on the second floor looking down on the new hall, he explained some of the challenges outside the Team Whale vs Team Dippy (which he didn’t know it was named that and found it humorous). We talked about the conflict of the museums personality, how much thought has gone into the new design and why it matters.

    For the new design, on the second floor they have very large display cabinet with collections that reach way about what any normal eye line would be. Sir Dixon explained this was so people on the first floor will look up and explore upstairs, something they have struggled with the public during before. Also there are several items which are being displayed in a way never attempted before (the Seaweed and Blue Marlin were examples provided).

    Natural History Museum is always worth a trip but no more than ever you should ensure it is on your list of museums to visit. Also a reminder that NHM is right next to the wonderful Science Museum and V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum).

    For those who still want Dippy back, please go see him while he tours around the Uk!

    Each partner will use Dippy’s visit to showcase their local nature and natural history collections, building partnerships between regional cultural, scientific and wildlife organisations. For more details, see their website.

    And do let me know if you can see Hope or Dippy on Tour!  Would love to know your thoughts!

     

    360˚ video of the new #HintzeHall

    Enjoy a 360˚ look at Hope the #BlueWhale and the new #HintzeHall during today's exclusive preview for the winner of our Hintze Hall free prize draw, and the runners-up. We had nearly 17,000 entries to the draw and the lucky winner was Laura Willis. We hope she and her guests, and the runners-up all enjoyed the morning before we opened to the public for the day.

    Posted by Natural History Museum, London on Friday, 14 July 2017

     

    Tags: , , , , , ,
  • scissors
    April 4th, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    I was incredibly fortunate enough to get a look at Sir John Soane’s Museum latest exhibition Marc Quinn: Drawn from Life whilst recently in London.

    Each of the twelve sculptures is created from casts of Quinn and his muse, the dancer Jenny Bastet, in a series of embraces. Their interlinked arms appear to be fighting, loving, holding or supporting – or even all at once – reflecting Quinn’s recurring fascination with the physical ambiguities of human emotion.

    Marc Quinn marries together the architecture beauty of the Soane’s Museum with contemporary art in a very sympathetic way.  I personally loved how each piece seem to have been at the location for years.  As I was there, some people walked right by without even recognizing it was a different piece.  That to me is a great sign of fitting in.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • scissors
    February 10th, 2017mardixonCulture

    It’s been awhile since I did a review and there are two amazing exhibitions I recently saw in London, the first was the David Hockey exhibition and second is Robots at the Science Museum.

    I was fortunate to be able to attend the David Hockney press preview whilst in London.  Normally press previews are very nice events that give you time to explore the art without a lot of people and fuss.  There is also a few talks, usually from the curator, sometimes it’s the press people.  And there is usually tea/coffee and biscuits.

    This press preview was completely different.

    It. Was. PACKED.  And I mean wall to wall with people writing, photographing and filming.  I was able to go through in my normal style, pretty rushed in each room, go back the opposite way and then through again to see what I missed.  The problem: normally I go into a room to find just one or two things I like (it something me and Charlotte have always done to avoid art fatigue) but with this exhibition that was impossible – I *liked* everything!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • scissors
    August 5th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_3299This week, Charlotte and I managed to do The Lost Palace experience. I’ve known about The Lost Palace since Timothy Powell told me about the idea back in late 2014/2015.

    The concept: Bring Europe’s largest palace ‘back to life’ 300 years after it burnt to the ground. Hear, touch and feel the past using new immersive technology.

    The technology is what I was most interested in. The Lost Palace started with an open call for proposals from makers, creators, dreamers, technologist and more. There were 5 £10,000 proposals available. Their remit was relatively lose: Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • scissors
    March 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Cultural Tourism WorkshopThe second London Cultural Tourism workshop took place March 7th at City Hall in London. I was asked to facilitate the day by a great team including Creative Tourist and Mike Clewley from Greater London Authority office. The original idea was a traditional type of day – speakers, delegates listening and time for Q&A. However, the more we talked it was clear this wasn’t the right framework.

    The day needed to be a hybrid of speakers and time for delegates to speak – not just ask questions. The format was an awesome Keynote from You Me Bum Bum Train (whose name I spent ages trying to say without laughing) followed by a 4 person panel with each speaker speaking for 2-minutes (and yes, I did time it and glare if they went over) then breakout sessions that were run as an unconference.

    A LOT was going on but I’m a firm believer in creativity comes in all paces.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,
  • scissors
    March 3rd, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_6570

    I managed to see Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius at the Science Museum and absolutely loved it. While everyone knows da Vinci is quite the artist, many don’t know the genius the man truly was. This exhibition is a delightful showing of his engineering talents which I have to be honest, I didn’t appreciate before.

    The exhibition starts with a small insight into the comparison from their last da Vinci exhibition in 1952 including a model of a ‘Boring Machine’ (my personal favourite as love the title!)

    IMG_6572

    The exhibition has 39 models of da Vinci’s inventions – some you need to see to believe (flying machine or webbed gloves for divers anyone?). The one main takeaway I learned was he looked to nature for his inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , ,
  • scissors
    July 29th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

    Tags: , , , , , , ,
  • scissors
    March 24th, 2013mardixonCulture

    FashionI recently attended the preview of V&A’s extremely popular David Bowie Is exhibition.  I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of David Bowie. The one minor link is his work with Jim Henson on Labyrinth and I like the song Under Pressure.  Other than that, he was just a character with a cult following I never really grasp.

    Until now.

    Top tip:  Take the Headphones! 

    After your ticket is checked, you are offered a headset.  Take it!  This is not your normal audio guide with punching in numbers.  The V&A digital team has used RFID technology throughout the exhibition to automatically launch the appropriate information, song, interviews, etc depending on where you are in the gallery.  This was brilliant as it meant I didn’t have to go up to the display and locate the audio guide symbol and number, nor did I have to punch the number in.  This raised the exhibition to a different level for me as I found myself staying longer in areas to finish listening to what was being shared.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • scissors
    December 7th, 2012mardixonCulture

    On the train journey down to London, I was reading the Metro (free paper) when I was reminded the Design Museum has a new exhibition.  I tweeted the article as it looked interesting – and the Tweet had people asking me more about it. So I decided to head over to Design Museum to see the exhibition.

    Unexpected Pleasurers: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery – runs until 2 March

    Have to be honest:  I don’t really care about jewellery.  Nor am I a fan of fashion (ahem).  I’m not even a huge design fan (although Thomas Heatherwick has been changing my opinion).

    You don’t have to be any of these things to appreciate the exhibition as it goes beyond the fashion item into the thought-process of the design and the value contemporary jewellery brings to our society. Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , ,
  • scissors
    September 15th, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    CultureGeeek is the sister conference of MuseumNext hosted by the fabulous team at Sumo Design.  This one day conference had an incredibly impressive line up.

    First up was Keynote speaker Andy Levey from Cirque du Soleil.  His incredibly informative talk really emphasised the need for good personality, good relationship with the audience and good knowledge with what tools work best for your needs.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , ,
  • « Older Entries