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Best of British: Five Museums to Visit this Winter

By 24th November 2017Articles, Lifestyle, News
New Harry Potter exhibition at The British Library

London, until 28th February 2018
Outrageous, but true: it’s 20 years since J K Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter, aged 11, via the Philosopher’s Stone. The team at the British Library has spared no effort or expense in honouring this milestone with a full-blown exhibition examining the world of wizardry through rare books, scrolls and magical flying objects. Each room centres on a separate subject taught at Hogwarts. Original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay are both on display for the first time. There are even brilliant black-and-white drawings by the author herself (quite the all-rounder, that Rowling).

Ordinary Animals

The Museum of Ordinary Animals at the Grant Museum of Zoology

University College London, until 22nd December 2017
A blue whale, a polar bear and an eight-metre-long squid – these are the kind of animals we expect to see in museums. But a bog-standard cow? A pesky, commonplace pigeon? A domesticated cat or dog? A new exhibition is dedicated to the creatures in everyday British life, exploring their history and their symbolism, and the acute impact they’ve had on humanity, modern medicine, our homes and our diet. Brace yourself: exhibits include a wall of 4,000 mice skeletons and a cat preserved in fluid.

the rotas in Enigma machine GCHQ Crown Copyright (3)

Codebreakers and Groundbreakers at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Cambridge, until 4th February 2018
Comparing the original thinking and codebreaking expertise of Alan Turing, breaking the Germans’ Enigma code in World War II, and Michael Ventris, interpreting the oldest surviving record of the Greek dialect, Linear B – both working during the same period – this avant-garde exhibition is utterly absorbing. The University of Cambridge, working in collaboration with Microsoft, spur our curiosity in codebreaking in all its forms. An Enigma machine has, remarkably, been loaned by GCHQ, and a British Typex Mk 22 – a device used by the UK for exchanging secret messages at the highest level – is also on display.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh, 19th January – 29th April 2018
Covering an inordinate array of Scottish history and culture, the National Museum of Scotland is a landmark in itself, housed in a magnificent Victorian building. In 2018, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition will open here, taking over its largest exhibition gallery for the first time. Featuring 100 images selected from almost 50,000 entries from across the world, the extraordinary photos present the wonder and drama of wildlife.

Leeds, skeletons

Skeletons: Our Buried Bones at Leeds City Museum

Yorkshire, until 7th January 2018
For a limited time, Leeds City Museum – an imposing municipal edifice – is offering an unusual and detailed look at human remains. Exposing the skeletons of 12 people from Yorkshire and London, we have an insight into individuals’ pasts and how their bodies were affected by disease, maltreatment and murder. As well as a Black Death victim from London, there are two Iron Age skeletons on display for the first time: a male and a female, found around a decade ago, buried together beside the A1 near Leeds.

C0046124 Skeletons

Article written by Mischa Mack

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