The Booth Museum of Natural History is one of Britain’s hidden gems: a beautifully preserved (but cut with a creepy edge), of a barn of a museum filled with glass cases and the glass eyes of long dead stuffed birds peering wistfully out at visitors.
Founded in 1874, it houses the British bird collections of naturalist and collector Edward Booth, displaying them in sky scraping ranks of Victorian-style dioramas. There’s also a collection of 525,000 insects, 50,000 minerals, 30,000 plants and 5,000 microscopic slides (some of which I got to see in the labyrinthine back rooms filled with the smell of mahogany and high piled plan chests).
A blank eyed, melancholic, merman on show watches over everything from his plinth. I’m not sure what he makes of it all, to be honest.
This Friday the Digiskull show opens there as part of the Brighton Digital Festival. Organised by WLTM/ake, (a collaboration collective of artists, designers and technologists) art, tech and natural history mixes intriguingly – discover illustrations, mysterious sounds, location based games and storytelling over social media hidden amongst the spirit bottles and skeletons. The first weekend of the show includes interactive hacks and workshops too.
I’ll be showing my ‘We Dream of Blue Whales’ map triptych next to the huge Orca skeleton swimming through the air in the bones room. A fitting place for a species that seems to be so elusive and so dwindling.
The show starts on the 25th September and will continue till October 31st.
Booth Museum: 194 Dyke Rd, Brighton BN1 5AA
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm (closed 12-1.15pm),
Sunday 2-5pm (Open on Bank Holidays)