I just received an email from Morbid Anatomy reader Chris Clanton about a photo-visit he and his girlfriend paid to the Shanghai Natural History museum. Here is how he described it:
Ah, the poor Shanghai Natural History Museum.... our Shanghai guidebook said to avoid the place because it was "dusty" and "filled with animal carcasses," so of course we made that the highlight of our visit. We sort of felt bad for the place after a while--there were even signs apologizing for the low quality or lack of thoroughness in their displays because of a lack of money.I would only add that it is really wonderful to see the differences in Eastern display methods and content--images of Eastern natural history museums are few and far between in The West, and it is fascinating to get a peek at what such museums are interested in, and how they choose to exhibit it, not to mention the wonder of viewing strange creatures such as what appears to be a hair-backed turtle...
There was one sign (I'm not sure if it made it to flickr or not) that read:
"As we are limited by time, ability, and financial capacity, the exhibition might have many shortcomings. Therefore we will be very grateful to those who can give us good opintons [sic]."
Apparently many of the displays were donated by the British Museum in the mid 1950s when it was built... and never really updated at all. However, the museum remains open today, and it's one of the few peaceful, quiet places that we went in Shanghai. The building itself is really beautiful "classic" 1920s architecture with huge stained glass windows and mosaic floors, but like the exhibits, it hasn't really been maintained and now is delightfully run down.
To see more, (which I highly recommend--it was very difficult to cull down the 115 wonderful photos for use in this post) visit the Flickr Shanghai Natural History Museum photo-set here; All photos in that set and accompanying this post by Anne Gresham. You can find out more about the museum here.
Thanks, Chris, for sending this along!