The Tale of Two Naturalists
I paid a rare visit to what most of us in the North East still call the Hancock Museum in Newcastle recently. Now rather cumbersomely titled Great North Museum: Hancock, this was a regular haunt of mine in childhood, as an enthusiastic member of Watch, the youth arm of the local wildlife trust. Encouraged by my parents, my sister and I would regularly attend talks there (and art classes-more on that later) and, in the years since, I have enjoyed taking my own kids who marvelled at the dinosaurs, the Egyptian mummy and the gift shop tat.
But for me as a boy, the museum was all about the birds; the mounted raptors, the skins of long extinct birds (the museum has two Great Auks, including the only known juvenile in the world) and Percy the Pelican.