Today’s Cultural Wednesday was a bit different, as it was a public holiday in Madrid, so I had a whole day off school. Hooray!
But Wednesday being Wednesday, and culture being culture, I was resolved to do something which would expand the mind. On this occasion, I decided to go to the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (or the National Museum of Natural Sciences). Here’s their website.
I’d never heard of the MNCN until I started my museum hunting mission, but given that it’s reasonably close to my house, and that no one really talks about it much, I figured I’d give it a go.
The museum is located in a beautiful old building, with a park out the front, and you get a great view over the gardens from the main entrance.
I wasn’t too sure what the “natural sciences” involved, as the term seems to be a bit vague, but most of the exhibits seemed to focus on different animal and plant species, and the structure of the earth.
There was a special exhibition on about biodiversity, which was really interesting, although I’ve got to admit, most of the displays in the museum seemed to feature taxidermied (is that a word?) animals, which were a bit (how do I say it?) confronting. I appreciate that the preserved remains may help people to appreciate how evolution works, but I’ve always found it a bit, well, unsavoury, to see the bodies of unfortunate animals displayed in such a way.
Particularly if the taxidermist is not exactly an expert (although mercifully, that wasn´t the case here…).
This being said, I was impressed that they had a Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) on display, and there was a large section dedicated to Australian animals. But if you’re not into preserved specimens (even though said specimens have been there since 1940), this museum probably isn’t the best choice for you…
Nonetheless, the dinosaur skeletons and the information about minerals was fantastic. They had some wonderful fake dinosaur bones…
And some really interesting trilobites…
The last section of the museum was dedicated to rocks and minerals, and had some really brilliant tables with different inlays. I liked these a lot, and they were considerably less gruesome than the taxidermied corpses.
So, overall, I would give the MNCN 3 stars out of 5. It’s interesting, and you can learn a lot there. However, unless you are interested in animal corpses, it is unlikely to be particularly pleasant for you, unless you concentrate on the excellent fossil section.