After a few days shut inside working (and avoiding the chilly dampness) I decided to visit the Berlin Natural History Museum. The museum is a nice little 30 minute tram ride from our flat into Mitte, the center of the city. I was happy to get a seat by the window, I absolutely adore the view from the tram. All the little shops, the graffiti, the people, the Bäckereien… I would seriously just ride the tram in circles looking out the window if I could.
I arrived at the museum about 10 minutes before a downpour, (which is lucky for me, I was carrying all my drawing supplies!) and upon entering I was immediately greeted by two massive, breathtaking mounted Brachiosaurus skeletons. One of them also has the honor of being the tallest mounted skeleton in the world.
I spent forever in this room.
Jurassic Park came out when I was in 4th grade and it’s safe to say it left it’s mark on me. The height of the skeleton was staggering, I felt dwarfed, insignificant and I couldn’t help but imagine the beast covered in muscle and gray leathery skin. Munching on leaves. And then the theme music to Jurassic Park started playing in my head, and then I decided it was best if I continued on.
Leaving this room, I entered an alcove with a whole zoo pinned the wall.
Seriously. A whole zoo.
I immediately sought out the nearest bench and whipped out my sketchbook.
Due to the influx of crowds (which seemed to undulate between grade-schoolers and retirees)I didn’t have the time, nor view to draw everything I wanted. Ah well, I suppose that’s what a camera is for.
And then, the room of preserved fish.
It is really, a whole room just for *just* preserved fish. Fish from last year, fish from 1905, fish from probably many, many years before, all in various jars, in various states of decay. The room was chilly, it was hard to examine each jar – though I wanted desperately to see the years of embalming. Some species I recognized without knowing the German equivalent, but others were completely alien.
I understand the science behind it, but I was a bit sad that the embalming fluids remove all hint of the animal’s original coloration. I would have really enjoyed seeing a more accurate depiction of the fish in life.
That means I should probably go visit the aquarium next.
Sketching here was great. Having access to an animal who is essentially frozen in a pose felt like a combination of a trip to the zoo and the best figure drawing class ever.