Visiting the museum (3) – Natural History & aquarium

Bolton’s past industrial heritage has had a very strong influence on the town and its people over the years and the ground floor of the main gallery was dedicated to various aspects of local history. Just inside the wide entrance Samuel Crompton’s original Spinning Mule was enclosed in a very large modern glass exhibition case but there were so many light reflections showing up that I couldn’t get a decent shot of it from any angle. Although the gallery has been modernised to a certain extent it still retains many of its older features and it looked so attractive that at first I was more intent on photographing my surroundings rather than studying the exhibits.
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Main gallery, ground floor
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African elephant viewed from below
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American brown bear, donated by Manchester Museum
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Common shrew
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Harvest mouse
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Kiwi
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A colourful bird collection
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I could have spent much longer in the natural history section than I actually did but there was another part I wanted to see and mindful of the time I made my way out through the museum shop and down the second staircase which, like the one I went up, was lined with various paintings on one wall. I remember being taken to the museum by my parents when I was a child and just for fun I would run down one set of stairs while they went down the stairs at the other side and we would meet at the bottom – it was a race to see who could get there first and somehow I always seemed to win.
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The bright and attractive museum shop
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Going down…
Down in the basement of the building was the aquarium – completely separate from the museum it originally opened in 1941, six years before the museum itself, and though the decor and the lighting have been changed over time the layout is the same now as it was back then. At one time the fish collections were limited to British species only, including salmon, pike and trout, but this has changed over the years and the aquarium now has collections from several different countries.
Bolton aquarium
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Nile Tilapia from Egypt
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Piranha from the Amazon
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Stingray from Brazil
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Suckermouth catfish from Brazil
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Lake Kurina Rainbow Fish from Papua New Guinea
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Lake Malawi Chichlids from Africa
Those were to be my last photos of the afternoon, time was getting on and I didn’t want to be late back at the car park. After all these years of not going to the museum my visit had proved to be extremely interesting ; I’d been very impressed with the general refurbishment, the Egyptian galleries and the natural history section and I’d got some good photos too, so maybe on a rainy day when it’s too wet to do a dog walk I’ll make a return visit to see what I missed this time.

13 thoughts on “Visiting the museum (3) – Natural History & aquarium

  1. Surprised to read it opened in 1941 as it looks very similar in style to one in Birmingham which was opened in the previous century. Such a fabulous post, really enjoyed it 🙂

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    1. Glad you liked it Becky. I was surprised to find out that the aquarium was there before the museum – when I was a kid I loved being taken to see the fish and I remember the aquarium was always a very dimly lit place. The layout is much the same as it was back then but at least it’s a lot brighter now 🙂

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  2. You really do have a wonderful museum in your town and that is a fabulous staircase. The aquarium is somewhere my husband would spend hours, having always kept tropical fish. I’ve enjoyed your photos and being shown around, thank you.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour of the museum and aquarium, although I doubt your husband would spend ‘hours’ in the aquarium itself as it’s not that big – I think it’s more of a fascination for kids really rather than adults. Due to the time factor though I missed out so much in the museum so it’s definitely on the cards for another visit 🙂

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  3. Thank you for sharing your visit to the Museum, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed too. The Natural History part looks amazing & I was surprised to hear there is a subterranean aquarium, which is so old. Have a lovely weekend & take care.

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  4. The ground floor of the building houses the large central library, with the museum up above and the aquarium in the basement so it’s a 3-in-1 place and somewhere to pass some time on a rainy day. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour, and no doubt I’ll make another visit for some more photos at a later date 🙂

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  5. There are far more exhibits on display now the museum has been refurbished and it’s much lighter and brighter too so it’s a lot more interesting than I remember it – definitely a place worth seeing. I’m glad you enjoyed the posts 🙂

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  6. No, I’ll definitely go back another time, probably during the week when (hopefully) there’ll be less people about. There’s so much to photograph, I missed out quite a lot and I also really want to properly study the local history part of it. So, another post sometime in the future…. 🙂

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  7. I’m not overly keen on stuffed animals either, I’d much rather see them alive and in their natural habitat but sometimes, especially with very rare or extinct ones, having them in a museum is probably the only way to show people, especially kids, what they are/were like.

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