In the Olden Days, when we baby boomers were children with no tablets or iPhones to transport us to faraway places and times long gone, many of us regarded a trip to a museum as an exciting treat. Mr N's local museum even had interactive lithophanes (light goes on, light goes off) and mine had been given our local doctor's stuffed polar bear (brought back from the Arctic by his intrepid father, Dr Reginald Koettlitz), after it proved to be too dangerously frightening for the faint-hearted in his waiting room, where it had held a lamp aloft.
The Koettlitz Bear
Given our love of all things old and curious (including each other), it has taken us ages to get round to visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Now that we are very nearly antiquities ourselves, we have at last achieved our ambition.
First we entered the Oxford Museum of Natural History, all light and airy with gothic arches under a glass roof. Here all manner of interesting specimens are carefully displayed in a way that excites the imagination, the intellect and the eye.
The natural history collection is watched over by our gentle hero, Charles Darwin, whose presence reminded us that we were approaching the entrance to the Pitt Rivers collection and its altogether more disturbing exhibits, which reveal the Origin of Our Own Species.
Black framed vitrines, crammed with the clamorous works of man.
We did not photograph the varied weaponry on display but...
... this ingenious and slightly gruesome garment is one of our favourite exhibits. A waterproof anorak made from seals' intestines. Inspired by our visit, I resolved to create my own museum when we got home and have made a start with a mini Cabinet of Curiosities.
I've promised to keep things small. It won't take over the house...maybe.