Monday, 3 July 2017

Dinosaurs Of China Exhibition REVIEW

Photo copyright Laura Patterson  ©
Nottingham, get ready to stampede from here all the way to October to the most jaw-dropping Jurassic-tastic prehistoric fantastic beasts show not only right here in town but ONLY right here in town!
Mamenchisaurus copyright Laura Patterson  ©
With exhibits ranging from the massive and mighty Mamenchisaurus right down to the adorable little Mei Long dinosaur that's actually small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the Dinosaurs Of China Exhibition is THE world-exclusive event of the summer. Spread over the two sites of Nottingham's Wollaton Hall and Lakeside Arts, the exhibition tells the story of how birds evolved from dinosaurs and features 26 specimens, 3D mounted skeletons, detailed replicas and original fossils.

Photo copyright Laura Patterson  ©

TV presenter, renowned naturalist and lifelong dinosaur fan Chris Packham is supporting the event. "I'm tremendously excited, there are some remarkable specimens here," he told us confidentially. "They've done such a brilliant job to get these specimens on loan. For me, it's all about transforming the way people perceive these ancient animals and I think that many people still think they were relatively unintelligent, slow-moving, cold-blooded, lizard-like things. They were none of those things, they were rapid, warm-blooded, social and feathered in many instances. This is about the science, this is about the real deal. And we've learned so much more in recent years and this is a great opportunity for the public to have their impressions updated.

Chris Packham copyright Laura Patterson  ©
"I think Wollaton Hall as a venue is fantastic, I like the mix of the old and the new, I'm a museum buff and I had an opportunity to look at their natural history collection, it's a remarkable collection of bird taxidermy and other mammals too. And this is a brilliant modern exhibit, it's got a narrative to it, it's got an overall purpose and the purpose is that you come here and from utilising the space and the specimens that have come all the way from China, you leave understanding that in fact, dinosaurs aren't extinct, they live on in the form of birds which are flying around outside."

Famous for quoting Smiths lyrics whilst presenting Springwatch on television, could Chris quote any dinosaur-relevant Smiths lyrics? "Well - of course, there would be Panic if any of these things were recreated and they were rampaging around, no doubt about that," he quips brilliantly straight away. "And downstairs in Wollaton Hall, there's no doubt that if the Sinraptor got its way, then it would be a case of Big Mouth Strikes Again. I could go on forever but I won't."

Photo copyright Laura Patterson  ©

Dr Adam Smith is the curator of the exhibition and the Nottingham Natural History Museum, and, with a lifelong interest in dinosaurs and fossils, he has even been involved in the naming of newly-discovered dinosaur species "I'm the main curator and there are two of us but it was actually Dr Wang Qi's idea to do this exhibition in the first place. He's a lecturer at Nottingham University in the architecture department and his background is in how museums use space to tell stories, so when he visited Wollaton Hall, he was surprised to find it's a Natural History Museum as well and it combines his two interests. So, five years ago, he came here and said, I've got this idea and through his connections in China, he was able to bring the Chinese dinosaurs and this is where we are now. Once the project started to get rolling, we worked together to select the objects and decided on the story we wanted to tell between us. It was quite complicated to organise but it's so rewarding to see the exhibition come together now."

Dr Adam Smith copyright Laura Patterson  ©
A concerted effort has been made to keep the entrance fee to the Wollaton Hall exhibition as affordable as possible whilst entrance to the Lakeside Arts exhibits is completely free. Family-friendly events, talks and workshops will also be taking place in conjunction with the exhibition.

The Dinosaurs Of China Ground Shakers To Feathered Flyers World Exclusive Exhibition is at Wollaton Hall and Lakeside Arts right now until 29 October 2017. Full details can be found on the official Dinosaurs of China website

And you can see lots more photos of the exhibition in glorious technicolour on our Nottingham Confidential Facebook page

Photo copyright Laura Patterson  ©

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