Past events

University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) Blind and Partially Sighted audio descriptive programme 2016

The Museum of Zoology has been popping up as part of the UCM Blind and Partially Sighted programme which was launched in 2015. This year, UCM trialled pairing up for each session, delivering an audio descriptive talk each with an interlude for tea and biscuits. Follow all the UCM’s various social media channels for news of the next season and please pass on the information to anyone who would be interested.

Animal Connections
Tuesday 29 November, 2pm-3.45pm
at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
We went whale-themed this time and passed around Sperm Whale teeth, from the accessioned collections at the MoZ, and baleen bristles from our enormous Fin Whale, hung up in the new foyer. This was complimented by gold weights from Ghana from the  MAA collection; some cast from real creatures and others depicting various symbolic animals. Great afternoon!

The Story of the Cambridge Whale as part of Summer at the Museums

Fin Whale Skeleton

Tuesday 23 August, 11am-12pm and 2pm-3pm
Cambridge  Science Centre , normal entry charges apply
Participants joined us for an interactive talk about how the whale arrived here, followed by activities and crafts to take home with them.

ChYpPS 2016, with Cambridge City Council

Wednesday and Thursday afternoons throughout August
Greens around Cambridge, drop in, free.
We popped up on various Greens at community centres around Cambridge at the UCM tent for ChYpPS fun, games, activities, handling specimens and crafts to take home.

BioBlitz Cambridge 2016

BioBlitz logo

5pm Friday July 22 – 5pm Saturday July 23
Trinity College Fellows’ Gardens
This year our 24 hour nature survey took place in the wonderful Fellows’ Gardens at Trinity College, not usually open to the public. Our BioBlitz 2016 page gives an idea of the activities which take place during these annual events.

Fun Lab at The Big Weekend

Saturday 9 July, drop-in, all day, free.
on Parker’s Piece
Our fantastic outreach volunteers popped up as part of Fun Lab this year with crafts and makes for people to take home with them. Participants made Whale logo Twitter Sticks to help us raise awareness of the #RaiseTheWhale campaign.

UCM Blind and Partially Sighted audio descriptive programme 2016

As part of the UCM Blind and Partially Sighted programme (BPS) the Museum of Zoology ran two audio descriptive handling sessions at the  Fitzwilliam Museum . Please do pass on information to people you know who would be interested in the programme. Email:  education   fitzmuseum cam ac uk for more information about AD tours coming up.

Animals in Art
Tuesday 26 January 3-3.45pm
at the Fitzwilliam Museum
Participants found out about some of the animals which make art masterpieces possible, heard stories about how artists of the past made materials and colours and discovered more about handling specimens from the MoZ.

Shells of the world
Wednesday 30 March 9-3.45pm
at the  Fitzwilliam Museum
Participants got their hands on a huge variety of shells to get an idea of the enormous diversity of beautiful molluscs that exist around the world!

Science Festival 2016

Here’s looking at Zoo, kid!
Saturday 12 March 10am-4pm
At the  David Attenborough Building
We were hanging out with our new  Cambridge Conservation Initiative neighbours for the 2016 Science Festival. The Museum of Zoology Outreach Team popped up in the new David Attenborough Building for a sneak preview of the new museum displays and showed visitors more about British Wildlife through specimen handling, games and crafts to take home with you. Free. Drop-in event.

Zoology Club (13-18yrs) workshop with Dr Tim Weil

Thursday 18 February 3-5pm
at the Department of Zoology
This workshop for Zoology Club members was run with Dr Tim Weil in one of the Department’s research labs. Dr Weil took participants through the process of dissecting Drosophila flies, their eggs and larvae.
If you’re not a member yet and would like to join the club send your name, email address, postal address, parent or guardian’s name and email address to  umzc   zoo cam ac uk. Booking essential for workshops open to members only.

 Twilight 2016

Twilight at the Museums is a FREE after-dark event for families where museums and collections across the city open their doors for a variety of torch-lit and illuminated adventures. With 12 organisations offering free drop-in activities and themed trails across 10 locations, there is plenty for families to enjoy.

MoZ spends Twilight at the Polar Museum again 2016!
2016 Wednesday 17 February 4.30pm-8.30pm
at  The Polar Museum
Can you tell the difference between Arctic and Antarctic animals? What life can you find under the ice? Talk to Polar Museum experts whilst you queue, sit down inside and listen to the Museum of Zoology outreach team talking about wildlife at the poles and then take a torch lit walk around the galleries.
Bring a torch or buy one in the queue!
Enquiries: Polar Museum 01223 336562
Free, drop-in event.

Whale Up For It!!!

Friday 12 February, 7pm-9pm
in the  David Attenborough Building
A fundraising evening of comedy with Robin Ince, Sara Pascoe and special guests, took place on Darwin’s birthday on the New Museum Site. This was the first opportunity for members of the public to take a peek inside the David Attenborough Building. Money raised is being used to rehang the Fin whale skeleton in the new Museum of Zoology foyer. Adults only.

Whales

Ocean Song: Sounds of the Sea FINALE 10th public workshop

The Ocean Song Project began in November 2014. Around 1000 participants came along to 20 workshops which ranged from sessions with schools, community groups and larger events open to the public. The last public workshop took place on the Saturday 14th November 2015 3-5pm, exactly 150 years since people started arriving on Normans Bay beach in Pevensey, to see the stranded whale, found dead, whose skeleton was prepared and eventually made its way to the Cambridge Museum of Zoology.

Participants contributed their voices for use in a sound installation to accompany our Fin Whale skeleton in its new home in 2017. Award-winning sound artist  Chris Watson shared many of his fascinating recordings with us and explained how to record underwater sounds from local waterways. Local choir leader  Rowena Whitehead led workshops with Dr Roz Wade, in which participants explored sound production with their own voices.  CAMEO also joined us to lead workshops in local schools. Recordings from all the workshops will be arranged by Chris Watson and Rowena Whitehead into a piece to be played permanently in the new Whale Hall when we reopen in 2017. Ten of the 20 workshops which took place were open to the public and we were especially grateful to partner museums for letting us use their venues during the project. All workshop recordings will be available individually on the Ocean song blog in the coming months.

Chris and Rowena are now working on the editing process for the final piece.

Follow the progress of the soundscape on the  Ocean Song Blog

Previous public Ocean Song workshops are listed below

This workshop series is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council for England.
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 Festival of Ideas 2015

The Big Game Night
Thursday 22 October 6pm-7.30pm
At the  Polar Museum
Free. Suitable for 18yrs+
Booking essential. Back due to popular demand, The Museum of Zoology, The Whipple Museum & The Polar Museum brought a night of entertainment with our very own game shows Q-ice and Just a Marmot. Contestants battled out for museum domination with our wise and witty compere, Dr Ed Turner. Points were given for knowledge, perseverance and of course for pure entertainment value. We’re very ‘bittern’ to say that Whipple Museum’s Assistant Curator Josh Nall smashed us all out of the water!

Explorers and Collectors Activity Day
Wednesday 28 October 10.30am-3.30pm
At the  Polar Museum
Free. Drop-in activities
Exploring the unknown, expeditions to find rare artefacts, collecting specimens of creatures from the distant past… The University of Cambridge Museums celebrated the explorers and collectors that make our museums. Science experiments, craft activities and much more throughout the day, participants got the chance to be an explorer themselves! MoZ popped up at the Polar Museum with specimens, crafts and games alongside the Botanic Garden, the Whipple Museum and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

UCM New Programme for Blind and Partially Sighted Adults 2015

As part of this new University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) programme, the Museum of Zoology visited the Fitzwilliam Museum with real animal specimens for a Mollusc Musings audio descriptive introduction to the  Ackroyd and Harvey art installation (29 September), and for a Bare Bones handling session (30 September). Participants found out more about diverse skeletons in the animal kingdom, British land snails, the redevelopment project and the art installation which will be displayed on the outside of the new museum foyer. They also had the chance to hold live African Land Snails, kindly lent by Mandy Curtis from the Cambridge Science Centre!

Snail shells collection comes to an end!

Thank you to all of you who attended these workshops for community groups and schools and to all of you who sent in your own snail shells!!

The collection has now ended. Some of the shells will be identified and grid references sent in to the  Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and all the shells will be passed over to artists  Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey who will embed them in the Tree of Life art installation. The piece will cover the entire end wall of the new Foyer (pictured in our  Facebook cover photo)

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During this series of workshops in partnership with the  Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the MoZ Outreach team gave an introduction to the diversity of snails in the UK and the chance to handling mollusc specimens from the museum. We then went out into the grounds to find empty snail shells to identify and add to the wall.

Mollusc themed sessions are still available to book but shells will no longer be accepted for the wall as we have well over the target of 300! Thank you!

Ocean Song Ely
9th public workshop

Ely Ocean Song

Thursday 27 August 2015, 7pm-8.30pm at Ely Museum

The Ocean Song team paid a visit to Ely Museum where participants followed the journey out to sea through Chris Watson’s recordings from oceans around the world. Rowena Whitehead, local choir leader, led the participants in an exploration of their own voices and with our recording equipment we collected some renditions of a Padstow shanty with impressive baritones and harmonies.

 Find out more about Ely Museum

Ocean Song Pevensey
7th and 8th public workshops

Normans Bay near Pevensey

Sunday 23 August, 11am-1pm at Normans Bay, and 3pm-5pm at  St Nicolas’ Church, Pevensey

Award-winning wildlife sound recordist  Chris Watson led the morning workshop on Normans Bay, Pevensey, at the site where our amazing Finback Whale washed ashore in 1865. We launched hydrophones into the water at various points along the beach to capture sounds under the waves. This small workshop was a fantastic opportunity for one-to-ones with Chris to find out more about underwater sound recording techniques and the industry he works in. All sound recordist participants are warmly encouraged to add any recordings they made at the workshops or have made of underwater sounds to the  Sound Cloud

In the afternoon, Chris was joined by choir leader Rowena Whitehead at St. Nicolas’ Church, Church Lane, Pevensey, BN24 5LD and together they took us on a sound journey from seashore to open ocean whilst we created the song and sounds of the sea. Several local choirs contributed to the recordings and voices flowed and surged through wonderful space in the church.

Ocean Song in partnership with  The Norris Museum
6th public workshop

Sunday 19 July, from 11am-12.30pm at  St. Ives Methodists Church

This time, the Ocean Song team went out to the watery Waits of St Ives. We caught shanties and humming with our recording equipment and this was followed by a presentation from Gilly Vose, Curator at the Norris Museum, who came over with some museum objects. This was a wonderful chance to find out more about the sort of marine life which existed in the area millions of years ago, back when the whole region was under water.

Ocean Song at  Sing and Swim
5th public workshop

Saturday 4 July, 4pm-7.30pm, at Jesus Green Lido

We even managed to fit in a little Ocean Song recording at the Sing and Swim event led by Rowena Whitehead! The charity event, run by  Talking in Tune raised around £2000 for  WaterAid!

Ocean Song at the  Cambridge Museum of Technology
4th public workshop

Sunday 21 June, 2pm-3.30pm at the Cambridge Museum of Technology

We gathered at this fantastic location by the River Cam to explore the sounds of the ocean and, with the expert guidance of choir leader Rowena Whitehead, explored our own voices to create the sounds of the sea to record for the Ocean Song installation. This time we collected whispered Latin names of underwater animals and poetic phrases composed by the audience.

Snail Trails at the Cambridge  Science Centre

Friday 29 May, 11am-12pm and 2pm-3pm at the Cambridge Science Centre

The MoZ Outreach Team took mollusc specimens to the Science Centre for their annual ‘speakers retrospective’ of all the speakers they had had in to support their previous exhibition. Visitors found out more about the diversity of British land snails and mollusc from around the world and were encouraged to collect empty snail shells to send in for the Ackroyd and Harvey Tree of Life installation, which will be on display at the Museum of Zoology when it reopens in late 2016.

Ocean Song at  Wicken Fen
3rd public workshop

Saturday 18 April, 2pm-3.30pm at Wicken Fen
Adult workshop suitable for 12yrs+ only
Booking essential. Limited places.

We were really excited to run this special workshop as part of the Ocean Song project working with  Chris Watson, known for his work on David Attenborough’s Life series and Frozen Planet, as well as work for radio, and creating sound pieces for Museums and other cultural institutions. Chris led this workshop to capture the sounds of the waterways and their wildlife at Wicken Fen. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet Chris, learn about recording in the natural world, and discover a world of sound from the different watery habitats around the great Wicken Fen nature reserve. All sound recordist participants are warmly encouraged to add any recordings they made at the workshops or have made of underwater sounds to the  Sound Cloud

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Ocean Song: Sounds of the Sea
2nd public workshop in the series

Saturday 11 April, 1.30pm-3pm at  The Polar Museum
Suitable for 8+
Booking essential. No singing experience necessary, just enthusiasm!

As part of the second public workshop of the Museum of Zoology’s Ocean Song: Sounds of the Sea project.  Rowena Whitehead, community choir leader and Dr Roz Wade, MoZ Interpretation and Learning Officer, led participants on a watery journey through magnificent recordings made by Chris Watson. Rowena conducted the choir of participants who were imitating a range of sounds made by underwater sea creatures. This “sea symphony” was recorded for the new Whale Hall soundscape.

Follow the progress of the soundscape on the  Ocean Song Blog

Ocean Song: Sounds of the Sea
Project Launch for this series of workshops

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Saturday 15 November, 14:00-15:30 at  The Polar Museum

The first workshop of the Museum of Zoology’s Ocean Song: Sounds of the Sea project, with award-winning sound artist  Chris Watson collecting voices to create a soundscape for the new Whale Hall. Participants begun by exploring the sounds of the sea and the animals that live there. Then they had a go!! Choir leader  Rowena Whitehead got the audience exploring their own voices and creating unusual sounds for the atmospheric soundscape.

Follow the progress of the soundscape on the  Ocean Song Blog

This series of workshops is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council for England.
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Snail Trails: Towards a Green Museum
Series of workshops for community groups and schools

The Museum of Zoology Outreach Team visited several schools and community groups for an introduction to the diversity of snails in the UK. Participants got the chance to handle real mollusc specimens from the museum and then had a go at ‘snailing’ like the experts! We went on a snail hunt in the grounds to collect empty snail shells which will be used in a public artwork by  Ackroyd and Harvey. The piece will be displayed permanently on the outside of the new Museum of Zoology so your snail shells will be embedded in the new museum for a long time into the future! The project is led in partnership with the  Cambridge Conservation Initiative. Although the snail hunt has now ended, it is still possible to book a Snail Trail session. To book email  umzc   zoo cam ac uk Results from the project will eventually be available through the Green Museums resources site.

Previous workshops:

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Wednesday 8 April 2015, 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-2.30pm at Orchard Park Community Centre, Cambridge, CB4 2EZ Suitable for all ages
Run as part of Hidden Histories: Green Museums project.

Schools Road Show
Schools and community groups around Cambridgeshire participated in this project as part of Science Festival 2015

Look into the Polar Light

At the  Polar Museum
Family drop-in
10.30am-3.30pm

The Museum of Zoology popped up at the Polar Museum’s family day. Visitors got to hold a whale ear bone and play “Get your OCEAN SONG DEPTHS cards right” in preparation for the up coming Ocean Song workshops! They also got to have a go at snail identification as part of our Snail Trails project.

Insect Pollinators

At the  Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Friday 13 February 2015 and Friday 13th March 2015, 2pm-4pm
Suitable for 12yrs + £10 (including entry fee)

As part of 2015 Orchid Festival and Science Festival, Museum of Zoology curator of insects and Deputy Head of the Zoology Department, Dr. William Foster, spoke to participants about the six animal pollinators featured in this year’s Orchid display in the Botanic Garden glasshouses. This was followed by a tour around the orchid displays led by experts from the Botanic Garden.

Animal Bytes: Ocean Tales

At the Department of Zoology,
Tuesday 21st October 2014 from 7pm-8.30pm
Free, suitable for 12 years +

This was a chance to fins out more about the collections at the Museum of Zoology that come from the world’s oceans, through the eyes of the people who look after and study them.
seahorse

The incredible world of Dr. Auzoux’s

At  The Whipple Museum of the History of Science
Monday 27th October from 2pm-4pm and
Friday 31st October from 11am-1pm
Free, family drop-in activities.

The Whipple Museum and Museum of Zoology investigate Dr. Auzoux’s mysterious papier-mâché models of plants and animals. Visitors got a look at some real horse teeth to compare with Auzoux’s horse dentition models and found out about how important the papier-mâché models and collections of real bones are in the history of comparative anatomy.
Auzoux model

Curious collections: University of Cambridge Museums family day

At  The Fitzwilliam Museum
Wednesday 29th October from 12pm-4pm
Free, family drop-in

As part of Curating Cambridge 2014, we joined the Fitzwilliam Museum and five other Cambridgeshire museums for a big family day. Visitors created and organised their own collection by trying various activities spread throughout the museum. What curious stories and connections will you discover between objects and creatures from across the world and throughout time? Participants discovered Zoological links with art works including illuminated manuscripts and paintings on display in the Renaissance gallery at The Fitzwilliam Museum.
Rubens' Death of Hippolytus, detail

Python skeleton

Building Bilaterian Bodies

At  The Cambridge Science Centre
Monday 18th August and Monday 1st September, from 2pm-3.30pm on both days
 Summer at the Museums 2014

Ever wondered why we have two of most things on our bodies? At our drop-in session at the Cambridge Science Centre, visitors had the chance to find out about how our bilaterian bodies develop. They were also able to compare bilaterian and non-bilaterian animal specimens at the Zoology Museum handling table.
Drop-in family activity, entrance for Science Centre £2.50 child £3.50 adult

Wasp nest

Animal Architects: Funnels, tunnels, nests and hives!

At  The Cambridge Science Centre
Monday 18th August, Friday 29th August and Monday 1st September, from 11.30am-12.15pm.
 Summer at the Museums

To tie in with the Cambridge Science Centre’s Extreme Engineering exhibition we hosted ‘The Golden Caddis Larva Awards’ in their gallery space. Participants voted for the animal builders that most impressed them with their ingenious structures, played games and constructed a spider’s web to take home with them.
Bookable workshop, entrance fee for Science Centre £2.50 child £3.50 adult

Nautilus

Test the experts…

At  The Sedgwick Museum
Saturday 16th August, from 10.30am-12.30pm and 13.30pm-15.30pm
 Summer at the Museums

We teamed up with the staff at the Sedgwick Museum for a day of specimen identification. Visitors brought along their geological and zoological specimens for experts from both museums to identify. Families also got to play games and explore the Zoology Museum handling table to compare extinct animals with their extant relatives.

Microworlds

At  The Whipple Museum of the History of Science
Monday 11th August from 10:30am-1:00pm and Tuesday 26th August 1:00pm-4pm
 Summer at the Museums 2014

As the summer warmed up, the mini-beasts got a wriggling! The Museum of Zoology visited the Whipple Museum to zoom in on the miniature worlds of insects, worms and other invertebrates featured in the collection. At this free family drop-in activity, participants were sent on a mini-beast hunt around the galleries, finishing at the Zoology Museum specimen handling table. Here they had a closer look, under the microscope, at some large insect specimens and at our live vapour moth caterpillars (much more lively than the vapour moth in the Whipple Museum’s Victorian slide drawer!). Visitors made stick insects and butterflies to take home with them.

Can you stand the heat!?

At the  Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Tuesday 5th August from 10.30am-1pm and Tuesday 19th August from 1pm-4pm
 Summer at the Museums 2014

The Zoology Museum put on free, family drop in activities at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Visitors discovered how animals featured in the galleries, are adapted to life in some of the hottest parts of the world with crafty envelope camels, a trail linking the collections in the two museums and real animal specimens from the Museum of Zoology!

Insects

The summer with The Children and Young People’s Participation Service (ChYpPS) 2014

At various locations around Cambridge,
throughout August 2014

Along with the other UCM Education teams,
we popped up for the ChYpPS Big Wednesdays
and Community Thursdays for free, outdoor
family activities including specimen handling
and Zoological themed crafts.

crafty creatures

Fun Lab

On Parker’s Piece
Saturday 5th July 2014

Come and join us to meet the beasts in
 Fun Lab
on Parker’s Piece as part of the
Big Weekend and Velo Festival celebrations!
It’s also a chance to find out more about
all the events going on for Summer at the Museums this year.
Free family drop-in activities

Midsummer Fair

Thursday 19 June,
9.30am-12.30pm

The Zoology Museum joined staff from the  Cambridge University Public Engagement Team on Midsummer Common with specimens from the museum for the children of Midsummer Fair to examine. Our horse skull from the Arizona desert got an outing and a good patting, and the children watched the time-lapse video of  the dismantling of Polymelus the racehorse’s skeleton to get a taste of the work going on behind scenes in the museum. Children went home with a miniature Polymelus skeleton that they had assembled themselves.

Arbury Carnival with UCM

Saturday 14 June 2014,
11am-5pm

We joined up with the UCM team in their Lion King themed tent for a ‘Musicals’ inspired Arbury Carnival. Members of the public and participants who had been involved with the  Kettles Yard and Arbury carnival partnership project were able to handle a breathtaking lion skull and tiger skull and a collection of animal teeth from the Zoology Museum.

Nature's Patterns

Nature’s Patterns at the Whipple Museum.

Saturday 15 March, 10:00 – 16:00

Thanks to the  Whipple Museum for having us over for Science Festival! At Nature’s Patterns, visitors made snail shells by looking at exquisite micro-snails for inspiration, added polyps to our organ pipe coral model and assembled flies with homeotic mutations. With the help of a digital microscope, we also had a detailed look at the structures of shells and bones from the museum.

Crafty Camouflage

Amazing animals: crafty camouflage and communication, at the Cambridge Science Centre.

Saturday 22 March, 10:00am-17:00
How good are you at spotting a copycat? The Zoology Museum ran workshops and activities at the  Cambridge Science Centre, exploring animal senses, camouflage and mimicry.

Source

Thursday 20 February 2014,
2pm-4pm

The Zoology Museum popped up at the Fitzwilliam Museum for an art session as part of  Source GCSE and A level art revision week. Some brilliant links can be made between the Zoology Museum collection and art projects. To borrow specimens for art classes have a look at our Education Visits page to choose what specimens you would like to borrow.

Twilight at the Museums 2014

Wednesday 19 February,
6pm-9pm

We had the night out in London for this year’s Twilight! We dimmed the lights in the Discoveries exhibition at  2 Temple Place and visitors got to dig around in our Mare des Songes to see if they could find any Dodo bones. By torch light, people handled specimens from the museum and had a go at guessing what they could feel in the mystery object box.

Discoveries: Art, Science and Exploration. An exhibition from the University of Cambridge Museums at  2 Temple Place, London.

31 January – 27 April
 UCM Discoveries
 Discoveries exhibition website

Discoveries is the first major show to bring together the fascinating collections from all eight University of Cambridge Museums and the Botanic Garden. Discoveries challenges and responds to the very notion of ‘discovery’, displaying objects that span millennia; from artworks to scientific artefacts, historic instruments to rare zoological specimens. It is about imagination and knowledge, the pleasures of looking and the power of objects to generate wonder as well as new ideas.

The Fitzwilliam Museum will now be showing highlights of the Discoveries exhibition, with new material from the Botanic Garden from 27 May – 27 July 2014.

Day of the Dead with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Day of the Dead altar at MAA

Saturday 2 November 2013,
14:00 – 16:00

Thank you to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for having us over for their Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations. In and amongst the face painted crowds making decorations for the Day of the Dead altar, visitors inspected specimens brought over from the Zoology Museum and made plasticine models of the skulls to add to a curious display of animal inspired decorations.

Steampunk Pets at the Cambridge Museum of Technology as part of the Big Draw ‘Draw Tomorrow’

Steampunk Pets at the CMoT

Wednesday 30 October,
13:00 – 16:30

What do you get if you cross a Victorian pumping station with skulls and bones from the Museum of Zoology? Steampunk Pets! Young visitors made magnificent sketches of the Victorian steam powered machinery on site at the Cambridge Museum of Technology. They then combined the metallic mechanics with charcoal and chalk drawings of the animal specimens, brought out from the Zoology Museum. We were left with a wall of futuristic pets from an alternative world!

Animal Adventurer at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for Cambridge Festival of Ideas

MAA Walrus tusk with scenes of whale harpooning, from Siberia

Tuesday 29 October,
10:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 16:00

Get your pith helmets and back packs on for some frontier exploration! Visitors picked up a map and navigated their way around the galleries at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, to discover more about the animals found in different parts of the world. Using their notes from the trail and by carefully scrutinising specimens brought over from the Zoology Museum with magnifying glasses, visitors made scientific data sheets to take home with them, from their travels.

Ideas at St. Paul’s for the launch of Festival of Ideas 2013

Saturday 19 October,
12:00 – 17:00

Prepare yourselves for a’Frontiers’ themed Festival of Ideas. Making an explorer’s kit to take on an expedition to undiscovered animal worlds. Handle real bones and skulls from the Zoology Museum and play the ‘King of the Wild Frontiers’ game to learn more about animals who can survive on the frontiers of extreme environments.

Just a Marmot!

Festival of Ideas logo

Sunday 27 October,
19:00 – 21:00

Based on the format of a popular radio show, ‘Just a minute’, ‘Just a Marmot’ featured Cambridge biologists who talked about their specialist subjects for a minute without pause or repetition! This event is put on in partnership between the Institute of Continuing Education and the Museum of Zoology for the University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Pop-up Museum with the Big Draw on Tour 2013 at Huntingdon Library: The Spooky House Drawing Challenge

Big Draw logo

Saturday 24 August,
9:00 – 13:00

Skulls and shells from the Zoology Museum collection were displayed alongside objects from other University of Cambridge Museums, as a starting point for visitors to draw from. With guidance from the Big Draw team, visitors fused their sketches of museum objects with monsters they had found in books at the library, to make bigger drawings, to add to the library wall-hanging.

The summer with The Children and Young People’s Participation Service (ChYpPS) 2013

Chypps at Cherry Hinton Hall

Wednesdays the 14, 21 and 28 August, at Lammas Land, Jesus Green and Cherry Hinton Hall,
13:00 – 16:00

The Zoology Museum was to be found in the University of Cambridge Museums’ tent surrounded by Anglo Saxon sword making, potato piercing, flower hammering and recycling rubbish into decorations and accessories. Specimens from the Zoology Museum made their way out onto the commons for handling sessions and to provide inspiration for plasticine skull sculpting, spirit jar constructing and curiosity cabinet making activities.

Animal Adornments at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

MAA Civavonovono (breastplate) Fiji; whale ivory, pearl shell

Tuesday 13 August from 10:30 – 12:30 and
Thursday the 22 August from 14:00 – 16:00

Visitors followed a trail around the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to look more closely at the body adornments made from parts of animals (including humans). Using the artefacts in the galleries and the specimens brought over from the Zoology Museum for inspiration, families made jewellery and animal adornments to decorate the museum model, who children named Mi-shell McFang!

Animal Constructions at the Cambridge Museum of Technology

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Wednesday 7 August,
13:00 – 16:00

Thanks to the Cambridge Museum of Technology for having us over! The old Victorian machinery was a dramatic contrast to the bones brought over from the Zoology Museum for visitors to look at and hold. We built bilaterian bodies and discovered more about animals, other than humans, that build clever constructions.

The Beach with the Sedgwick Museum

Wednesday 31 July,
10:30 – 15:30

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As the Zoology Museum is now closed for refurbishment we’re taking the opportunity to get involved with events at other venues. Our first Summer at the Museums event was not so far from home: just over the road at the Sedgwick Museum. The car park was transformed into a Beach for the day. We had real sand, ice-cream, story-telling by the rock pool with Mary Anning, fossil hunting, shell handling inside the museum and even a little sun for the occasion!

Whale Tales and Butterfly Scales

Butterflies, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Saturday 1 June,
11:00 – 16:00

Thank you to the over 700 people who visited the museum for this event. There were free hands-on activities, crafts, behind the scenes tours and storytelling to help us celebrate the fabulous Museum of Zoology and its collections. Wonderful new creatures were built, and a swarm of beautiful monarch butterflies made in the museum galleries.

Behind the scenes tours allowed the public to see some of the treasures of the museum not on display. Storytelling inspired by the enormous Finback Whale hanging above the museum took place outside, and this amazing skeleton explored.

And the Ostracod goes to… the Animal Awards at the Museum of Zoology

Animal Awards red carpet

Tuesday 28 and Thursday 30 May, 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-15:00

Which animal is the spookiest? Which the most surprising? Most disgusting? Join us for the awards for the Animal Kingdom in the museum this half term.

See the nominations and vote for which creature you think should win and Ostracod award. There will be animals brought out from behind the scenes, a chance to get up close to some fabulous creatures and to hold some of them in your hands.

And the Ostracod Awards went to:
Most Disgusting: Sea Cucumber
Spookiest: Aye Aye
Best Adaptation: Camouflage in insects
Scariest: a draw between the Nile Crocodile and Megalodon, giant extinct shark
Most Charismatic: Octopus
Most Surprising: Duck-billed platypus

Animal Bytes

Museum lower gallery, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Wednesday 20 March 19:00-20:30

Discover the Museum’s collections through the eyes of the people who study and care for them. This unique event explores the human side of the Museum, with curators, staff and others sharing their experiences through the Museum specimens that have inspired them. Confirmed speakers include Dr Richard Preece, our Curator of Malacology, and Prof John Hutchinson, a visiting researcher from the Royal Veterinary College. Do join us for this different and exciting event, and see the collections in a new light.

This event is launching the Museum’s Animal Bytes project, capturing stories of the Museum and responses to the collections by its staff and visitors. For more details see the  Animal Bytes webpage

Butterflies, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Where the Wild Things are Kept

Saturday 16 March 11:00-16:00

The Museum of Zoology is home to a fabulous collection of wild things. From new fossil finds helping us to understand the evolution of land-living vertebrates, to live butterflies and their genetics, the Museum is alive with scientific discoveries. With live insects and hands on activities, join scientists and staff of the Museum to explore the science behind the collections.

Admission free.

Poetry Reading: Gillian Clarke

Thursday 14 March 13:00-14:00

The Museum of Zoology hosted poet Gillian Clarke for a residency as part of the Thresholds 2013 project of poetry in museums in Spring 2013. Gillian gave a well received reading in the museum’s lower gallery.

Gillian Clarke is one of Wales’ most influential and widely read contemporary writers. Born in Cardiff, she now lives in Ceredigion. She was appointed National Poet for Wales in 2008. She is President of Ty Newydd, the Welsh Writers Centre which she co-founded in 1990. Her work has been widely studied for GCSE and A Level for many years. She has published thirteeen books for adults, and several for children as writer, translator or editor. Her first prose collection, At the Source, appeared in 2008. Her recent collection of poems, Ice, is short-listed for the TS Eliot Award 2012. In December 2010 she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 2012 the Wilfred Owen Award.

Admission free.

This event was part of the  Thresholds project 2013

African Elephant, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Skeletons! Inside and Out

Tuesday 12 and Thursday 14 February, 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-15:00

With the skeleton of an African Elephant towering above you, discover the skeletons of the Museum of Zoology and what they can tell us about the animals they are from. This interactive gallery talk uses objects from the Museum’s collections not normally on display to show the different ways animals support themselves, from bones on the inside as in us, to the exoskeletons of insects, the shells of molluscs, and the hard skeletons of corals. Hold a skull in your hands, and see the detailed structure of bones.

Twilight at the Museum of Zoology

Twilight at the Museums 2013

Wednesday 13 February 16:30-19:30

Discover a world of spooky animal sounds, glowing creatures and the animals that come out at night. Make your own glow worm, learn how animals ‘see’ in the dark, guess the mystery objects, and follow the trail of fireflies around the museum to explore the the wildlife of the world’s forests.

This event is part of the Cambridge-wide Twilight at the Museums events.

Monsters at the Museum of Zoology

Monster Masks

Saturday 27 October, 11:00-16:00

Be inspired by the monsters in the Museum and spooky stories to create your own monster mask for Halloween. Help us to make a storybook of the creepiest creatures and beasts that are the stuff of nightmares!

The Museum of Zoology Encyclopedia of Monsters can be found on our Facebook page
 Facebook.

Just a Minnow

Festival of Ideas logo

Thursday 25 October, 18:30-21:00

Based on the format of a popular radio show, ‘Just a minnow’ featured Cambridge biologists who talked about their specialist subjects for a minute without pause or repetition! This event is put on in partnership between the Institute of Continuing Education and the Museum of Zoology for the University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Big Bug Hunt

Big Bug Hunt, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Monday 25 June – Saturday 8 September 2012

To celebrate National Insect Week 2012, the Museum of Zoology put on a Big Bug Hunt trail in the galleries. Trails can be downloaded here:  Big Bug Hunt Trail
The closing date was September 8th for the prize draw. The winners have been drawn, so we can now tell you the answers:

1. Copris lunaris is a Dung Beetle.
2. Sexton Beetles sniff the tempting whiff of rotting flesh in the air, food they fight to defend.
3. Louse or Forest Flies cling onto their hosts using their legs.
4. The beautiful moth on display was a Madagascan Sunset Moth.
5. The Hobby (Falco subbuteo) can catch the agile Emperor Dragonfly in flight.
6. The larvae of the British freshwater beetle Dysticus marginalis feed by injecting digestive enzymes into their victims before sucking them dry.
7. Darkling beetles get water to drink from their desert homes by standing on their heads around dawn, allowing cool sea mists to condense on their bodies, the water running to their mouths along grooves.
8. An Assassin Bug was the master of disguise in question.
9. Halobates robustus is a sea skater and lives at the coast.
10. Monarch butterflies are famous for their migration.
11. Ant lion larvae hunt by sitting in a cone shaped hoe and flicking grains of sand at insects walking around the edge to knock them in.

Congratulations to our prize winners, and thank you to everyone who took part.

For more information about National Insect Week, visit the  National Insect Week 2012 website

Crafty Creatures

Crafty Creatures, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Thursday afternoons, 14:00 – 16:45, from July 26 to August 30 2012

Join in with family drop-in craft activities inspired by the Museum’s collections every Thursday afternoon during the school summer holidays. Build beetles, weave spider webs and sculpt skeletons to make a zoology collection of your own. Activities are free, and there is no need to book. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all events.

Thursday July 26 14:00 – 16:45
Beautiful Birds Have fun making our feathered friends, from owls to birds of paradise.

Thursday August 2 14:00 – 16:45
Insects and other minibeasts Make a butterfly mask, create the perfect camouflage and add to the spiders web of minibeasts in the museum.

Thursday August 9 14:00 – 16:45
Fossil Fun Be inspired the the fabulous fossils in the museum, and make your own versions to take home with you.

Thursday August 16 14:00 – 16:45
Reptiles From iguanas basking in the sun to turtles swimming in the sea, make some of our cold-blooded friends today. Bring your own (clean!) sock and you can make a snake sock puppet too.

Thursday August 23 14:00 – 16:45
Under the Sea Pom pom pufferfish and coral reefs are the order of the day today, and be inspired by our fabulous finback whale to make your own (smaller) skeleton to take home with you.

Thursday August 30 14:00 – 16:45
Marvelous Mammals Make paper pangolins, add to the scene of mammals on the plains of Africa in the museum, and create the crafty creature itself – a fox mask.

These activities are part of the University of Cambridge Museums’ Summer at the Museums programme. More details can be found on the  University of Cambridge Museums and Collections webpage

Cambridge Science Festival 2012

Morpho Butterfly

Saturday 17 March 2012, 11:00-16:00

Visit the museum to see live insects and meet scientists from the Cambridge University Department of Zoology. Learn about fruit flies and why we study them. See fantastic insects and discover fascinating facts about their biology, and take part in our Natural Selection game running all day.

Admission free. No need to book. Family friendly. Everyone welcome.

Children must be accompanied by an adult at all events.

February half term 2012 activities

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Twilight at the Museums
Wednesday 15 February 2012, 4:30-7:30

Bring a torch and explore the museum after dark. Journey to the depths of the world’s oceans with special trails, activities and storytelling, and discover some of the amazing animals that live there.

This event is part of the University of Cambridge Museums Twilight at the Museums. Details of events at other museums can be found at

 http://www.cam.ac.uk/museums/twilight.html

Admission free. Everyone welcome.

Please note: the museum will close at 4:00 to prepare for the event, reopening at 4:30 for Twilight visitors.

ocelot jaws, UMZC

Feeding time at the Zoology Museum
Tuesday 14 and Thursday 16 February 2012, 11:00-12:00 and 2:00-3:00

Ever marvelled at the size of a mammoth tooth, pondered how a snake swallows or wondered what a whale eats? This interactive talk uses specimens from the museum’s collections to explore the incredible feeding habits of animals. But please do not feed the exhibits!

Admission free. No need to book. Family friendly. Everyone welcome.

Children must be accompanied by an adult at all events.

Create a Coral Colony: the Big Draw at the Museum of Zoology

Coral Colony

Saturday October 22 2011, 11:00-16:00

To celebrate the Big Draw and the Festival of Ideas, the Museum will be building its very own coral reef! Come and add your favourite underwater animal, and discover the life of corals and the amazing sea creatures in the museum’s collections.

This event is open to all. Admission is free and there is no need to book. Children must be accompanied at all events.

Access all Archives

Skeletons

Monday October 24, 18:30-23:00
Museum of Zoology, The Polar Museum, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Fitzwilliam Museum and Whipple Museum of the History of Science

Live performances and sound installations provide the background for a special late night opening of the museum galleries. At the Museum of Zoology:

Hidden beneath the belly of a great whale lies a unique and exclusive club, where subterranean grooves bubble up amid the skeletons of exotic beasts. A unique mix of DJs and a live band of primordial bass, thundering drums and roaring horns will combine live sampling, improvisation and audience participation to create a one-off performance to stimulate mind, muscle and bone.

Ages 16+
Tickets £5.00. Booking is essential.
For further information and to book, visit:
 http://www.mus.cam.ac.uk/events/festival-of-ideas

Underwater World

Underwater World

Tuesday 25 and Thursday 27 October 2011, 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-15:00

Journey through a coral reef to look at the amazing diversity of animals that live underwater. This interactive gallery talk will be illustrated with specimens from the museum’s collections usually kept behind the scenes. At the end of the talk, you can add your favourite underwater animal to the ‘ocean’ in the museum.

Cambridge Drawing together

Big Draw Logo

Thursday October 20 2011, 10:30-14:30

We invite you to take part in ‘The Big Draw’ alongside students of Rowan as they use the museum collection to inspire new art work. No experience is necessary to participate in this free drawing project. Explore yout creativity, challenge your expectations and enjoy a warm and friendly welcome.

The Museum of Zoology is one of five locations for Cambridge Drawing Together. Other sessions will be taking place at the Polar Museum on October 12, Cambridge University Botanic Garden on October 21, New Hall Art Collection on October 24 and Museum of Classical Archaeology on October 25.

Rowan is a Cambridge City based charity and arts centre that was established in 1985 to bring artists and people with learning disabilities together in the production of fine artwork and crafts; while providing opportunities for self-expression and creative exploration. For more information, visit  http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk

Life in the Trees

Life in the trees

Tuesday May 31 and Thursday June 2 2011, 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-15:00

This interactive gallery
talk will explore the animal life of forests, from woodlands of the UK to tropical rainforests. This talk will be illustrated with specimens from the museum’s collections usually kept behind the scenes, and will look at adaptations for life in the trees. And at the end of the talk, you can add your favourite forest animal to the ‘tree’ in the museum.

Amazing Animals at Cambridge Science Festival

Morpho Butterfly

Saturday March 19 2011, 11:00-16:00

Got a burning question about something zoological? Have a mystery animal object you want identifying? Explore the kingdom of animals at the Museum of Zoology. Meet live invertebrates and discover our fantastic collection from the tiniest flies to the majestic finback whale. Learn about the incredible intelligence of some animals, the amazing size of others, and about animals you might find in the UK. Hands on activities will be running throughout the day, and zoologists will be on hand to answer your creature questions.

This event is open to all. Admission is free and there is no need to book.
Children must be accompanied at all events.

Bruce Gernand Coded Chimera Talk

Bruce gernand Coded Chimera

Monday March 21, 19:00

Sculptor Bruce Gernand, inspired by the work of biologist D’Arcy Thompson’s transformational grids, has journeyed into the realms of biological dynamics to develop new sculptural forms. Using scans of animal specimens and new software tools developed for him by the Cambridge Computer Lab, he has morphed and blended digital meshes of different species to convey qualities of fluidity and mutability. At this talk he discusses the inspiration and methods for the sculptures on display in the museum galleries.

This event is open to all. Admission is free and there is no need to book.
More information about the exhibition can be found on the Temporary Exhibitions page

Twilight at the Museums

Skeletons at twilight

Wednesday February 23 2011, 16:30 – 19:30

Bring your torch and explore the museum after dark. Spooky sounds bring the skeletons to life, and with trails, competitions and hands on activities, there will be lots to do at the Museum of Zoology. This event is part of Twilight at the Museums, a magical evening of discovery at Cambridge Museums. Other museums taking part are: Fitzwilliam Museum; Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences; Cambridge University Botanic Garden; The Polar Museum; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; Cambridge and County Folk Museum; Museum of Classical Archaeology; New Hall Art Collection.

For full details of timings and events, visit www.cam.ac.uk/twilight

Admission is free, and there is no need to book.
Everyone welcome.
Children must be accompanied at all events.

Journey to the bottom of the ocean – half term gallery talks at the Museum of Zoology

Chimaera, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 February 2011, 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-15:00

From coral reefs to jellyfish to sharks to the creatures that live thousands of metres beneath the surface of the ocean… Come to the museum for these interactive gallery talks and handling sessions to expolre the sea-living animals from the world’s oceans.

These talks are open to all, and suitable for children over the age of 6.
Admission is free, and there is no need to book.
Children must be accompanied at all events.

It’s all in the bones – half term gallery talks at the Museum of Zoology

Python skeleton, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Tuesday 26 and Thursday 28 October 2010, 11:00 – 12:00 and 14:00-15:00

Sit amongst the fantastic skeletons of the museum for this intereactive talk looking at the different bits of the skeleton and how they are adapted for the lifestyles of the animals they are from.

This talk is open to all, and suitable for children over the age of 6.

Admission is free, and there is no need to book.

Children must be accompanied at all events.

Carmen Elektra: Opera Underground

Festival of Ideas logo

Experience a night of live music and cutting edge theatre in the vaults of the Museum. With film projections, light installations and DJ sets: Carmen Elektra is putting an electronic charge through the backbone of opera.
Ages 16+
In association with the University’s Department of Music as part of the
Festival of Ideas.

Galapagos! The Big Draw at the Museum of Zoology

Big Draw logo

Saturday October 23 2010, 11:00 – 16:00

Come on an expedition to the Museum of Zoology to explore island life. As part of the Big Draw for the national Campaign for Drawing, and to celebrate Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas, we are building a new island in the museum galleries. Come and fill it with all its incredible animals that swim in the sea, creep and crawl in the undergrowth, or bask in the sun. Discover what islands can tell us about evolution, and find out about the island invaders affecting these habitats isolated for so long by their surrounding seas. Quizzes, trails, crafts and fun for all the family.

Cambridge Drawing Together.

Cambridge Drawing Together

We invite you to take part in “The Big Draw” alongside the students of Rowan as they use the museum’s collections to inspire new art work. No experience is necessary to participate in this free drawing project. People of all ages are welcome to pick up a pencil, browse the collections and join in this free community event. Explore your creativity, challenge your expectations and enjoy a warm and freindly welcome. For more information about local charity Rowan, visit the Rowan website
For furhter information about other museums taking part, visit Cambridge University What’s On

Passport to Museum Treasure

Passport to Museum Treasure

July 10 – September 18 2010

Hunt the treasures in the Cambridge Museums this summer with this free family trail available from the Museum of Zoology and the 11 other venues taking part this summer. Visit at east five of the museums and answer the questions correctly and you can claim you very own bag of museum treasure! Tear your answer slip off, hand it in at one of the collection points marked in the trail andto receive your free goody bag. Also for the first time the museums are also offering some money-can’t-buy prizes including behind the scenes tours and signed books. To be in with a chance of winning one of the prizes you just need to fill in the feedback section on the answer slip.

The museums taking part are:
Kettle’s Yard
Whipple Museum of the History of Science
University Museum of Zoology
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
The Fitzwilliam Museum
New Hall Art Collection
The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute
Cambridge University Botanic Gardens
Museum of Classical Archaeology
Cambridge and County Folk Museum
Cambridge Museum of Technology

 passport_to_museum_treasure_poster.pdf

Insect Day

Insect Day at the Museum of Zoology

Saturday June 26, 11:00 – 16:00

The museum opened its doors to the world of insects to celebrate National Insect Week. Visitors were able to follow the antics of a colony of leaf cutter ants, and see stick insects and giant hissing cockroaches, amongst other live insects in the galleries. With museum trails and hands on activities, it was a fun filled family day out.

Cambridge Science Festival at the Museum of Zoology

13 March 2010, 11:00-4:00 with displays up until 12 April

butterfly

Colourful Creatures at the Museum of Zoology
See the world in a new light. From butterfly wings to peacock feathers, discover how and why animals produce their amazing colours, and find out how different animals see colours. Hands on activities, competitions and displays. Displays exploring animal colour will remain in the museum until 12 April.

Embrace your wild side with the Wildlife Trust
Get active in a wild way and find out more about where to encounter nature locally and how to protect and improve habitats for wildlife.

Admission free. Everyone welcome. Children must be accompanied.

Special Event: Twilight at the Museum

Wednesday 17 February 2010, 4:30-7:00

twilight at the zoology museum, UMZC

Visitors brought their torches to explore the museum after dark. With trails to guide them at twilight, and craft activities to make owl masks, they could discover amazing nocturnal animals and how they see the world at night.

For details of other museums that took part in this event, visit  University of Cambridge Museums and Collections

Admission free. Family friendly. Everyone welcome. All children must be accompanied.

February half term 2010 activities

ocelot jaws, UMZC

Feeding time at the Zoology Museum
Tuesday 16 and Thursday 18 February 2010, 11:00-12:00 and 2:00-3:00

How does a snake bite? Or a cow chew? With teeth and jaws galore, these interactive, hands on talks explored animal eating habits. But please do not feed the exhibits!

Admission was free. No need to book. Family friendly. Everyone welcome.

Explorer Packs

Explorer packs were available to borrow in the museum over the half term holiday (13-20 February), with magnifying glasses, animals specimens, trails and puzzles.

Special Event: Critter Tree – The Big Draw at the Museum of Zoology

Detail from the Critter Tree

Saturday 24 October 2009 11:00 – 16:00

Visitors to this special Big Draw event explored the amazing diversity of the animal kingdom on display in the museum. Then, with artist Alex Hirtzel, they drew their creatures, and cut them out to form silhouettes that were hung from the branches of the swaying tree of life built in the gallery.

This event is part of the  University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas and the Campaign for Drawing’s Big Draw 2009

Twilight at the Museum

16:30 – 19:00pm, Wednesday 18 February 2009

Bring a torch and explore the museum after dark. Admission free. See the  poster.

Last updated: 22 December 2016