Friday, 8 April 2011

A day at the Museum.....

I find myself sat in a coffee shop, en-route to New York City...realizing that I have not written my blog for a couple of weeks! The wonder of free WiFi comes to my rescue. To be honest, I have been buried with work these past few days...yes, the usual. Reviewing and writing papers, teaching and also completing my BLM permit application for this summers excavation in the Hell Creek Formation (South Dakota). As always, life is never dull, just busy.

So, why New York? That's easy to answer, as located there is one of the museological gems of the world, The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). I shall not be alone on this pilgrimage, as I have a group of undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania along with me. They too share my enthusiasm for this historic institution and its incredible collections. No less than the first Tyrannosaurus rex arrived here in the first gasp of the 20th Century. The then assistant curator, Barnum Brown, excavated this 'Coca Cola' of dinosaur brands into the world, but his boss Henry Fairfield Osborne was responsible for naming it in 1905. Thankfully, the name has stood the test of time, unlike the unfortunate case of Brontosaurus...a long 'tail' I must recount at some point.

The AMNH became even more famous, if that were possible, after the release of the film, 'A Night at the Museum'...a splendid tale of bones that go bump in the night. The said film was set in the hallowed halls of the AMNH, with its impressive outlook on Central Park. However, when visitors first make their way up those famous museum steps and in through the grand front entrance off Central Park...they are met with a very different museum from that seen in the Film. This is simply because all the interior shots for the said film were shot elsewhere on an artificial cannot blame the AMNH for this. Imagine the chaos of filming a Hollywood movie inside one of the most popular visitor attractions in New York. Impossible!

Tomorrow, I shall endeavor to take you on a pictorial tour of my 'Day at the Museum'.

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