A look inside the London Natural History Museum, which is still closed due to the pandemic
The museums of the world are similar to scenes from the 2006 comedy film “Night at the Museum”. They were quiet, empty and empty.
Visitors are nowhere to be found, an estimated 90% of the museums are closed due to. This includes the Natural History Museum in London.
On a typical day, 15,000 people visit the museum, but now only 20 people walk the halls. The exhibits may be hibernating, but restorer Claire Kelly is still busy tracking down the biggest threat to the museum: moths.
“There’s a real problem with the preparation because the pests attack the fur,” Kelly told CBS News’ Holly Williams.
Conservators who spend their day cleaning and wiping rooms full of massive mammals, in a sense, said the lockdown was an opportunity for thorough cleaning.
“Yes, it was a bit of a silver lining, I think, with the closure because unfortunately we have no visitors at the moment, work that we would normally have to do either very early in the year in the morning or late at night, now we have the time during the day to actually come through all of these galleries and work, “said Robert McCleod.
The museum is also repairing its roof and placing “Sophie”, the world’s most complete stegosaurus skeleton and usually one of the museum’s most popular exhibits, in a lattice cage.
Cameras were once a familiar place for the museum – Sir David Attenborough made a documentary about them. The museum also starred in the 2014 blockbuster film “Paddington”.
The halls are no longer illuminated by camera lights; instead, they are filled with an eerie feeling.
“Is it sometimes a little creepy to be here and in rooms full of skeletons,” Williams asked Lorraine Cornish, the museum’s director of conservation.
“It’s like that statue game where you move and when someone is looking at you, stay still,” she said. “Sometimes I feel like they’re all like a party. And then I turn around and they’re all silent, just my active imagination I guess.”
She worked in the Natural History Museum for 40 years. The museum first opened in 1881. Cornish said the building was bombed by German planes during the lightning strike, although many of its most valuable specimens had already been brought ashore for safety reasons. During the Second World War, part of the museum also became a workshop for British secret services, where ingenious devices for spies were made.
But the museum had never seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic, an invisible enemy that kept visitors away for most of the past year. Cornish said the exhibits themselves long to be seen.
“They’re waiting and they’re ready and they just want to greet people back,” she said.
In the bowels of the building, the restorers are preparing for the museum to reopen to the public in May. Thanks to the calm team of people who protect this treasury, the history of nature and its extraordinary development is only a few months away from being repeated.
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