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The Kid Should See This

The amazing secret architecture of Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Bear-whales are hidden on the 1860-era Victorian neo-Gothic walls of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. “Yeah I just said bear whales…”

“These tucked-away curious carvings gently mock Darwin‘s just-published theory of evolution [On the Origin of Species, published in 1859].

How could a bear evolve into a whale? This is satire set in stone. Which is awkward… because the powers that be changed their mind, saw Darwin was, ahem, right… and by 1899 put up this statue of him.”

bear whale carving
Architectural history, cultural influences, and celebrations of the natural world—it’s all baked into the carved windows, doorways, stone columns, and fantastical roof of Oxford’s natural history museum. This humorous primer by Angel Sharp Media shares the museum’s historic story and secrets, from its Pre-Raphaelite designers to its hidden bats and intricate botanical carvings.

“This isn’t a shed for specimens, it’s an audacious building that actually teaches you as you walk through it. A world first!”

stone column
museum skeletons and carvings
Watch this set of architecture videos next: Six key movements in design history, animated.

Plus, watch Dinosaur exhibitions: The facts and fiction over 160 years, and more behind-the-scenes museum videos:
• Building a True-to-Life Butterfly for a Habitat Diorama
• How Do You Dismantle a Dino? (Very Carefully)
• Installing massive statues with engineering and care at The Met
Why are museum collections so important? Sir David Attenborough explains

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