Gaze in awe at a perfect skeleton of a coiled snake, a young chimp or a polar bear skull at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery in the Bones: Skeleton Secrets of the Animal World exhibition that opens 11 November – 21 April 2018.
Showcasing almost a hundred different animal bones, the exhibition features complete animal skeletons from a cat, fox and pangolin to fossil fish, the pelvis of a now–extinct Dodo and the skulls of predators like lions and the jaws of sharks.
The exhibition displays excerpts from the Great North Museum: Hancock’s popular exhibition drawn from the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s (NHSN) extensive ‘bone store’.
Geoff Woodward, Manager of South Shields Museum & Art Gallery said: “These bones are truly fascinating. They really do instil a sense of wonder at the natural world and offer a rare opportunity to witness the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdom.
“Thank you to the Great North Museum: Hancock and the Natural History Society of Northumbria for loaning us these items from their stunning collections.”
With interactive areas throughout the exhibition like a giant xylophone, activity table and a bone handling dome, visitors of all generations can engage and discover what lies beneath the scales, feathers and skin of living creatures. The smaller visitor to the exhibition can play at dressing up too.
The NHSN is custodian to items that have been in museums or personal collections for over 200 years and come from a variety of places. In Victorian times before photography was widely used and when travel was mostly restricted to the wealthy, zoological specimens were often seen as a window to other unseen or unknown worlds.
On display from this collection will be original mounted skeletons by trailblazing 19C taxidermist John Hancock, the namesake of Newcastle’s Great North Museum: Hancock, and specimens collected over hundreds of year from all over the globe.
The young chimp skeleton came from Bostock’s Travelling Menagerie which toured the UK in the 19 century; the dodo leg bone came from Mauritius from the famed Transit of Venus expedition in 1876 brought back by one Mr Henry Slater of Riding Mill; the bones of ox and deer were found during the Tyne Tunnel excavations during the 1970s.
South Shields Museum & Art Gallery is open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 11am- 4pm and closed on Sunday, with free entry – although a donation is welcome.
The museum is closed over Christmas and New Year from 24 December – 14 January.