Return to Horniman’s

Because a visit to London doesn’t go by without me lifting up the kids to present them to an enormous stuffed Canadian walrus, this morning we went over to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill.

It’s getting harder and harder to lift them up. Unless I do some serious weight training in the next 12 months, I can see a lot of trouble ahead.

Part of the downstairs gallery was closed (prep for a new exhibition) but the kids had everything else to look at. There’s a good set of photos from somebody who documented Siberians over the last 30 years, showing children’s journeys from hugging baby reindeer to becoming television presenters. There’s also a lot of African ethnology downstairs, intermingled with European folk dress, which is better than presenting the former as "look how odd other people are". I wonder quite when that changed in British museums.

There’s also the bee exhibit, and of course the walrus, and the crocheted animals they’re exhibiting as some sort of metatextual joke, the dodo, the butterfly house outside… Basically, we spent six hours there and none of it was wasted. It was a long bus ride home, but that meant both girls were easy to put to sleep tonight after their bath (ignoring a modicum of shouting) leaving us time to panic-wrap presents and then watch part of a Bond film (Casino Royale). Then I realised I should actually be asleep (I woke up at 4 this morning for no good reason and couldn’t get back to sleep) so it’s a early one tonight.

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