A Tour of the Natural History Museum
Hi! I'm Laura, one of Gareth's puzzle researchers, and I'm taking over the blog today to share something exciting we've been working on.
We’ve been working hard in the office to create the Natural History Puzzle Book, a family-friendly book that’s packed with quizzes, trivia and, of course, plenty of puzzles to keep explorers of all ages entertained. Before the book is released in October (you can find it here), we wanted to share some of the process that goes into writing a puzzle book. In this case, we were lucky enough to be shown round the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London, to research the book and give us a flavour of the kind of topics we would cover.
Our starting point, in Hintze Hall at the main entrance to the museum, was underneath ‘Hope’, the enormous blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling. At over 25m long, she’s hard to miss! She was named ‘Hope’ to reflect the museum’s focus on conservation, and the fact that blue whales have been brought back from the brink of extinction after being heavily hunted by humans in the 1900s. The puzzle book has a chapter on Oceans, and you can find out all about blue whales – and many of their fellow open ocean inhabitants – inside. Hope has replaced ‘Dippy’, the famous cast of a Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton which had been on display since 1905. Luckily, there were plenty of other dinosaurs to see at the museum, including Sophie the Stegosaurus, who appears in a puzzle in the Dinosaurs chapter.
Sophie can be found as you travel up from the museum’s ‘Earth Hall’ to learn about our home planet, with information on tectonic plates, volcanoes and earthquakes. We even took part in an earthquake simulation! While we couldn’t make the book shake like a true earthquake, you can learn more about the structure of the earth through the puzzles and facts in the chapter on The Natural World. We also took a look at some of the tools and textiles used by our ancestors in preparation for the chapter on Human Evolution, as well as exploring the exhibitions on the human body and medicine.
Last but not least we had a look at some of the creatures great and small that make up our chapter on Animals. From the long extinct mastodon – an ancient relative of the elephant – to the amazing display of tiny hummingbirds in the Birds gallery, we took inspiration from animals all over the world to create puzzles which reflect their amazing adaptations and behaviours. The museum is packed full of exciting exhibitions and the trip gave us a real appreciation for the genuine wonders of the natural world. We hope you enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed making it!