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Reactions

Reactions: an exploration of science and the arts in the week-long Reactions festival at the Oxford University Museums From high profile speakers, to family friendly activities and dance workshops, the inaugural Reactions festival spans one week, four venues and fourteen events. Among the highlights are an intriguing intersection of neurology and dance choreography, discussed by Siobhan Davies Dance group at the Ashmolean Museum on 21 March, and Marcus du Sautoy’s talk, The Secret Mathematicians, at the Museum of Natural History on 17 March. These and many other events all explore some of the opportunities, overlaps and tensions between science and the arts.

Section of restored roof

The Museum re-opens: to celebrate our re-opening on Saturday 15th February the Museum was open from the crack of dawn until dusk. Visitors enjoyed breakfast, drinks and snacks overlooking the dinosaurs. Throughout the day there were live bands, live bugs, and spotlight specimens. Over 5,000 visitors came to the Museum on Saturday. The reopening draws to a close a complex restoration project conducted by the University of Oxford to prevent the glass-tiled roof of the Museum from leaking rainwater into the courts, as it has for many years. The £2m roofing work was completed by construction company Beard and specialist heritage architects Purcell. It involved more than 8,500 glass tiles being individually removed, cleaned and resealed with a mastic silicone. Where necessary replacement glass tiles have been handmade to match the Victorian originals.

Wallace specimens unearthed: a work experience student has unearthed priceless Alfred Russel Wallace specimens. A 17-year-old student who spent just four weeks at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History has rediscovered hundreds of priceless specimens collected by Victorian natural historian Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). At the Museum, Athena was tasked with searching 3,340 drawers of butterflies looking for specimens collected by Wallace, the famous naturalist who independently conceived a theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin. Her project was part of the Museum’s programme of activities surrounding the 2013 centenary of Wallace’s death in November 1913. Read more

Dinosaur footprints return: casts of footprints laid down by a Megalosaurus dinosaur in Oxfordshire over 160 million years ago have been reinstalled outside the Museum of Natural History ahead of the Museum’s reopening next year. But rather than put the prints back in the same position as before, Museum staff have taken the opportunity to update the trackways by using current scientific ideas about the way the dinosaur moved. The prints are casts taken from a fossilised trackway discovered at Ardley Quarry near Bicester in 1997. It is thought that they were made by the large, three-toed carnivore Megalosaurus bucklandii, which roamed the lagoons of Jurassic Oxfordshire some 166-168 million years ago. Read more

For media enquiries please contact scott.billings@oum.ox.ac.uk

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