NATURE REINVENTED: My Encounter With a Museum

Hello!

So I thought to let you know I’m committing to a column that seeks to regularly provide panoramic perceptions into people, places, platforms and products related to arts everywhere (with a bias for Africa). Let’s name it “THE ART OF THE MATTER”. 

From Conceptual Arts to Visual Arts, THE ART OF THE MATTER will engage readers on varying subjects spanning across interviews, reviews, festivals, and a wide spectrum of intellectually-stimulating conversations.

So, let’s kick-off with this archived story about my April 2, 2014 visit to Obafemi Awolowo University’s Natural History Museum.

Enjoy!


 


Museum

“Wow!” That was all I could say when I alighted in front of the breath-taking edifice – the newly-renovated Natural History Museum of the Obafemi Awolowo University, one of Nigeria’s finest.

As I approached the main entrance of this web-shaped structure, the door slipped open and I wondered for a moment: “Is this a museum or an airport?” I mean, glass patio doors in a museum? Kai!

As the door slid closed behind me, I walked towards the receptionist for payment. To my surprise, she demanded a hundred naira.

“Just that?”

“Of course, yes!” she replied.

Then she introduced me to the exhibition curator. Let’s call him “Mr. Wale”

As I kept walking beside him, we soon approached a sharp bend. He halted gently. I did too.

I observed a beautifully-arranged linear queue of show-glasses. The first was an elegant display of useful minerals associated with Pottery and Tin. I took some steps forward peeping to check the sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks; and for a moment, I imagined seeing them as a primary school pupil.

Noticing that I was engrossed with that, Mr. Wale quickly drew my attention to the beautifully-designed pictures of some animals, then some ancient images like the Terracotta head, Wunmonije Bronze head, Kiriji War Peace treaty site of 1886, Rock shelter, and so on. I could hear history whispering into my ears; it was seeking attention.

Next, I saw an arrow pointing in the direction of a seven-step stairway.

Having climbed the fourth step, I became frozen like Barracuda, and couldn’t look straight to the Lions that dreadfully stared in my direction. My heart thumped rapidly. My palm had suddenly become a warm-water spring. “You’re a man!” Mr. Wale intruded, patting me in the back.

“What if they suddenly come alive?” I thought, taking my gaze off the Lions and moving towards the Clawless Otters. “At least, these ones are clawless” I cheered myself.

Shifting my gaze again, my eyes put me in fear. Again. Exhaling, I stood akimbo. I hadn’t seen such a giant crocodile for three years – and the last time was in a movie. It stared aggressively at me; and you know, it was the same challenge I had with the Lions.

Turning back, I chuckled. “These birds must be smiling at me”, I supposed. At least, sighting them lessened my burden. Some of them standing stylishly on the well-structured trees and others on the grassy floor. As I suddenly realized I had spent about two hours at the exhibition hall, I met monkeys staring at me from one end. “Dead monkeys enjoying Air Conditioners!” I thought, a little smile tugging at the corners of my mouth.

Looking towards Mr. Wale’s direction, I saw a giant tortoise and a big snake hung around a pair tree posing behind him. “I’ll definitely return to explore the rest” I concluded.

Everything about the museum – the structure, exhibition curator, atmosphere, and receptionist – encouraged my comeback. 

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Adeniruju Adedapo-Treasure
A writer, wishful filmmaker and advocate who breathes and tweets via @TreasureNGA.

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