Day 3 2017: Emma Loves Archie

It was another beautiful day in London.  It was warm and sunny and very busy for the LIT 292 class.  We started with a class in Russell Square in 9am. We talked about what everyone did on the previous night.  Some students rested, one group went to see Kinky Boots and another visited Picadilly Circus.  After we caught up, Andrew, Rachel, Katherine and Rebekah discussed how the experiences they have had in London are being incorporated into their final theses projects.

After class, we took the tube to South Kensington to visit the British Museum of Natural History and the Darwin Center.  We had a behind the scenes tour of the Darwin Center but had to split into two groups of nine.  Our guide Simon did a great job telling us about the massive collection at the Darwin Center and the many scientists engaged in active research there.  Some highlights included the flesh-eating beetles who were hard at work cleaning a tilefish in the Dermestarium, and some of the 22 million preserved specimens the “Spirit Room” collection.  We saw a  coelacanth , considered to be a living fossil, and many, many other preserved specimens.  We all enjoyed the large and elaborate female anglerfish and the tiny male anglerfish, which is essentially only nostrils, teeth and testicles.  We also saw “Archie” the giant (9 meter) squid.  Emma was thrilled to see Archie (please see picture of Emma’s reaction upon hearing that we would be seeing a giant squid).

Another highlight of the spirit room was seeing some of the specimens collected by Charles Darwin himself during his voyage on the HMS Beagle (1831 – 1836).  We even saw Darwin’s handwriting on some of the labels.  We finished the Darwin Center tour with a look at the dissection room (no explanation required) and a look at the equipment being used to digitize every specimen in the collection.  After the Darwin Center, we toured the Natural History Museum…but much of it is under renovation so we were not able to take our traditional picture in the great hall with the Darwin statue.

In the afternoon we had some free time.  Some of the students visited Hampton Court while others took some time to see some other sites in London.

We met up again in the evening to attend a performance of Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe. On our way to the Globe, we stopped to see St. Paul’s Cathedral and enjoy the beautiful evening. We walked across the Millennium Bridge and arrived at the Globe for the show.  The students were “groundlings” and enjoyed the show from the stage level. It was an unusual version of Romeo and Juliet, complete with clown make up and a performance of YMCA….but it was certainly entertaining.  After the play we walked back across the bridge and headed back to the flats.

Tomorrow we have an early class meeting (8 am), a train trip to Canterbury, and then a private tour of the Dickens House Museum.  Once again, we feel fortunate to work with this great group of students.   It has been a pleasure to enjoy these adventures with them.  Cheers from London!

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~ by Dr. Musa on June 1, 2017.

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