We just love how eclectic the temporary exhibitions at Bristol Museum are. Whether it’s Leonardo da Vinci sketches, Doris the dinosaur or that epic Banksy exhibition in 2009, we’re so lucky to have such brilliant artwork on our doorstep.
We always make a point of visiting the exhibitions and we’re pleased to say that the latest is one of our favourites.
Natural Selection from artist Andy Holden and his ornithologist father Peter is a journey into the world of nest-building and egg-collecting.
Split into two sections, the first part on the museum’s ground floor focuses on nests.
At the centre of the space is an awe-inspiring human-sized version of the structures made by bowerbirds to attract a mate. Constructed with willow it mimics the extraordinary arches that the birds build using sticks and then decorate with brightly coloured objects that they find lying around.
Darwin considered the bowerbird as the closest thing to an artist found in nature. He was right. It’s simply brilliant.
Part one of the exhibition also features delicate birds’ nests from the museum’s collection.
We were fascinated to discover just how many different types of nests our flying friends create and how amazing some of them are.
For detailed insights into bird nests, there’s a brilliant film with Andy and Peter.
Natural Selection: Egg collecting
For part two of Natural Selection, the exhibition takes a darker turn.
A film, narrated by a bird with the voice of Andy Holden, delves into the mysterious world of egg collecting.
It charts the history of a practice which was once considered an important part of our understanding of the natural world before being made illegal in 1954.
But despite being against the law, egg collectors continue to risk their lives to get eggs for their collections. There are some sad stories in the film including a man who lost his life because of his obsession.
Alongside the film are 7,130 replica eggs that imitate a hoard uncovered in Cleethorpes in 2006. It’s the largest ‘bust’ of birds’ eggs in Britain.
Kept in old chocolate boxes, plastic containers and shoeboxes, there are eggs from endangered birds like the osprey and golden eagle.
It’s a fascinating study of human nature and people’s desire to own something rare.
The exhibition is absolutely brilliant and we urge you to see it!
Natural Selection is at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery until 15 September.